Tuesday 26 March 2013

Gender identity - performativity

 (This is straying way beyond my field of competence, but it is interesting and justified by the Information and Identity session in DTMD 2013)

First, performativity:
If you show someone a map and say ‘this is how people get from Point A to Point B,’ the statement is performative when it creates the behavior it describes. In this case, a path gets worn in the ground between Point A and Point B.

Thus, performative statements don’t reflect reality (as in the declarative statement ‘this is a pen’), but intervene in it. Performative language is an engine, not a camera.

A model becomes performative when its use increases its predictive capabilities.

—David Stark, Paris, 17.07.2009 Quoted by Brooke Harrington
So, gender performativity:
...I will draw from theatrical, anthropological, and philosophical discourses, but mainly phenomenology, to show that what is called gender identity is a performative accomplishment compelled by social sanction and taboo. [...]

Gender reality is performative which means, quite simply, that it is real only to the extent that it is performed.

Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory” (1988)

1 comment:

David Chapman said...

“The first Prime Minister of female gender, OK. But a woman? Not on my terms.”

Glenda Jackson on Margaret Thatcher reported in the Independent