What Is She Wearing? Essay

1455 Words Dec 12th, 2016 6 Pages
Imagine a woman. What is she wearing? Is she wearing makeup? What is her genre of attire? If you imagined a woman wearing a dress, with a bold lipstick color, in high heels, looking casual and playful, you are not alone. Now image a man. What is he wearing? Is he wearing makeup? What is his genre of attire? In this mental picture, you might have imagined a man wearing a t-shirt or button down shirt, most likely not wearing makeup, in flat-bottomed shoes, possibility looking serious yet still smiling. Why, when we are asked to imagine a group of people so diverse and unique, do we only picture one stereotypical person? Why do we universalize specific characteristics that most likely only apply to a small portion of the group? The answer to this question is not simple. There are numerous nuances one must consider when trying to answer the question of how we universalize such characteristics. At the origin of those nuances lies an attribute of human nature that helps explain this phenomenon; humans are social creatures. This leads humans to want to fit in with others. Due to the social nature of humans, combined with their desire to be like others they identify with, traits uniquely associated with masculinity and femininity have developed giving rise to gender performance. In her book Gender Trouble, Judith Butler develops her theory of gender performativity. However, there are a few premises to her theory that should be noted. The first is how Butler argues gender is…

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