Media, Culture and Everyday Life Essay

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Topics: Gender
Media, Culture and Everyday Life Essay
Topic: 1
1. Explain Judith Butler’s arguments regarding how gender is “performative” in our everyday life. Based on her explanation, use school education as examples to show how gender is performed and constructed through multiple “acts” of gender practice.

Along the trends in human history, various ideologies have been introduced, and influenced our culture and people’s way of life. Regarding the Judith Butler’s idea of “gender performativity”, definitions of “sex” and “gender” will be stated in this essay. Following the explanation of her idea, and examples from school education showing the construction of “perfomative” gender through different “acts” of gender practice. In our society, it is commonly agreed that “sex” refers to a person’s biological distinction, mostly divided as maleness or femaleness. Based on the idea of “sex”, different roles or characteristics have been put on male and female. Those cultural values of a person in a society attached to one’s sex are defined as “gender” differences. Men are expected to be competitive while women should be passive and emotional. These cultural stereotypes have limited or controlled the behavior of people in many aspects, such as hairstyles and personal names. It can be easily observed that masculine and feminine traits have been assigned to males and females long time ago. Judith Butler has theorized gender, together with sex and sexuality, as “performative”. This is also called as "frameworks of intelligibility", which decides what practices are socially permitted to appear as normal or natural under one’s sex and gender. “Gender” is produced by socially and culturally constructing through multiple acts of gender practice. We have been ensnared in ideological discourses of gender from time of birth, encouraged to behave in an “appropriate” way under one’s assigned sex and gender. According to Butler, on the basis of natural binary sex, binary gender and



Cited: “Teacher wins apology over dress code.” China Daily. 11 Sep. 2010.

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