Individuals are being urged to “be themselves” by society, parents, friends, instructors, and the media. The notion of “being oneself” initially appears to be only natural and perhaps unavoidable. To be oneself, one must first determine their “self.”
The answer is not as black and white as it first appears. Gender is one of the most important factors in determining who we are. It is a major part of our identities and affects how we think, feel, and behave. For many people, gender is a stable and fixed part of their self-identity. They never question their gender or think about it very much. For others, gender is more fluid and flexible. They may feel like they don’t fit perfectly into either the male or female category, or they may feel like their gender changes over time.
Gender is not the only factor that determines who we are. Our personalities, interests, and values also play a role in shaping our identities. We may also consider our race, ethnicity, and culture when thinking about who we are. All of these factors contribute to making us unique individuals.
So, what does it mean to “be yourself?” It means different things to different people. For some, it means being true to your gender identity. For others, it means being true to your personality, interests, and values. And for others still, it may mean being proud of your racial or ethnic background.
The first feature of our “self” is given to us at birth, according on biological criteria, and it is our sex. We are assigned a sexual identity based on our gender, such as female or male. Males should be males, and females should be females. However, what exactly does it imply to be a woman or a man? What influences the ideals for each gender? Judith Butler introduced gender performativity in an attempt to answer these questions.
Gender performativity is “the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts within a highly rigid regulatory frame that congeal over time to produce the appearance of substance” (Butler Gender 4). In other words, it is the continuous reinforcement of the ideas we have about gender through our actions. Our actions become part of our identity and help to form our gender identity.
These actions are not just performed by individuals, but also by institutions such as the government, the media, and religion. Gender performativity is not just about individuals
conforming to societal norms, but about the ways in which society itself perpetuates these norms.
The traditional view of gender is that there are two genders, male and female, and that these are two distinct and opposing categories. Gender performativity challenges this view by showing that gender is not an inherent quality, but is something that is performed. Gender is not a fixed identity, but something that is constantly being created through our actions.
This has important implications for how we view gender. If gender is something that is performed, then it is possible for anyone to perform any gender. We are not limited by our biological sex. Anyone can be feminine or masculine, regardless of their sex. This opens up the possibility for everyone to express their own unique genders.
It also means that we can’t really know what someone’s true gender is. Gender is something that is constantly in flux, and so it is impossible to know what someone’s true gender is at any given moment. This is a liberating view of gender, as it allows for more flexibility and creativity in how we express ourselves.
So the next time you are asked to “be yourself,” remember that you can be anyone you want to be. There are no limits on who you can be or what you can do. Just be yourself, and let your true self shine through.
Gender is something we do not naturally grasp upon birth. It’s acquired through social interactions. The actual act of performing gender and the reaction from doing so are what shape our understanding of gender. (Chinn 1997:300) We are conditioned to believe in preconceived notions of masculinity and femininity as soon as we are born.
“Babies are born with the ability to make all the sounds of all the world’s languages, but by 18 months they have lost that ability and can only produce the sounds of their own language” (Pinker 2002:61). It is through social interaction that we learn which words go together to form our sentences, what actions are appropriate for which situation, and how we should behave in order to conform to society’s expectations. In other words, it is through our interactions with others that we learn Gender.
Gender is not an essential quality that we are born with, but rather it is something that we acquire through our interactions with others. It is important to note that Gender is not the same as sex. Sex refers to the biological characteristics that define whether someone is male or female. Gender, on the other hand, refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. (Lorber 1994:67)
Brian Chinn (1997) analyzes the various theorists and their ideas about gender performance. These terms were totally new to me until I read Brian Chinn’s book, and now I feel compelled to examine my own life for instances of gender performativity and gender norms influencing the way I think and act.
I was born a girl and have always identified as such, but there are definitely times when I feel like I am not being true to myself. Gender performativity is the idea that we perform our gender through our actions and behaviours. This is something we do all the time without even realising it. For example, the way we dress, the way we speak, and even the way we walk can all be seen as performing our gender. Gender norms are the expectations society has of us based on our gender. We are expected to behave in certain ways and conform to certain standards because of our gender.
For me, this has always been a struggle. I have never felt like I fit into the “normal” ways of doing things. The way I dress, the way I speak, and even the way I walk can all be seen asperforming my gender. Gender norms are the expectations society has of us based on our gender. We are expected to behave in certain ways and conform to certain standards because of our gender. For me, this has always been a struggle. I have never felt like I fit into the “normal” ways of doing things.
Different theorists have different ideas about what Gender Performativity is and how it works. Chinn looks at Judith Butler, Pierre Bourdieu, and Michel Foucault. Judith Butler is a philosopher who believes that gender is performative and that we perform our genders through our actions and behaviours. She believes that there is no such thing as a “true” gender, and that we are all constantly performing our genders.
Pierre Bourdieu is a sociologist who believes that gender is performative and that we perform our genders through our actions and behaviours. He believes that gender is something we do in order to gain social status and power. Michel Foucault is a philosopher who believes that power is performative and that we perform our genders in order to gain power and social status.
I agree with Chinn that Gender Performativity is something we do all the time without even realising it. I also agree with her that different theorists have different ideas about what Gender Performativity is and how it works. I think it is important to look at all of the different theories in order to get a well-rounded understanding of the concept.
Gender performativity is an important concept to understand because it can help us to see the ways we are not being true to ourselves. It can also help us to challenge the expectations society has of us based on our gender. I think it is important for everyone to be aware of Gender Performativity and to think about how it might be affecting their lives.