2004
Volume 114, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244

Abstract

Abstract

In this article, I argue that habit formation provides a good starting point to understand gender identity. Judith Butler’s concept of ‘performativity’ indicates that gender identity comes about through a process of social and linguistic repetition of normative representations of gender. The phenomenological notion of ‘habitual identity’ that Maren Wehrle (2021) suggests, complements this notion of performativity, but should be complemented with a psychic aspect to attain a completer notion of performativity. Understanding performativity in terms of habit formation seemingly also has a downside: does it not lead to repetition of the same in an environment of predominantly cis and binary gender identities? What does this mean now that more and more people identify as trans or non-binary? I argue that performativity does not necessarily involve the reproduction of cis and binary gender identities, because it includes the possibility of variation from the norm. While cis implies that body, identity and social ascriptions coincide, in the case of trans there are discontinuities between these three. Rather than considering cis and trans as opposites, performativity means understanding both as variations, of which the discontinuities between body, self and social ascriptions are more difficult to live.

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