I Say It, Therefore It Is So

Root Veg

[This post is also featured on the Feminist & Women’s Studies Assocation blog.]

I recently saw a 3 minute video entitled “Your Behaviour Creates Your Gender”, wherein Judith Butler summarises the notion of ‘gender performativity’. It’s possibly her most famous contribution to feminist academia:

There are remnants of a good working definition of Gender here that most of us broadly agree with: Gender is socially constructed rather than innately wired, and is rigidly enforced by the world at large. My problem is with the invocation of ‘performativity’ to explain the simple concept that our behaviours create our social reality. I have just a few small remarks on this.

JL Austin was a philosopher of language, whose area of interest was Pragmatics. In very broad terms, this is the study of how we use language as social, communicative beings. Among other contributions, he identified a special group of verbs he…

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