Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gender Performances

I thought Butler’s point about gender as a performance very interesting. I had never looked at gender this way, but the more I thought about it, the more true it seemed as examples stuck out in my mind. Gauntlett later presents further arguments by Butler concerning ways in which society can work to change gender norms and the binary understanding of masculinity and feminity. Since gender is a performance, then Butler argues that giving a variety of performances of identity, gender norms could possibly change. With the amount of media consumed by our society, the media would have to take part in this performance change, not just the public. I started thinking of examples in media of people performing different genders and the first thing that came to mind was Modern Family. The actor of the character Cameron is the specific example that came to mind. After I began watching Modern Family, I was convinced the actor, Eric Stonestreet, his character’s personality and gender was not far off from his own, but I was very surprised to find out that he is in fact straight and a fairly stereotypically masculine figure, for example, he great a large interest in sports and was a member of a fraternity while in college. Stonestreet’s role as a homosexual character is just one obvious and professional example that gender is a performance in the media. Although it is just an example of an actor, he could be included in the start of what Butler meant in her mission statement that “by giving a different form to our daily performances of identity, we might work to change gender norms and the binary understanding of masculinity and feminity” (Gauntlett, 141).

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