How performative is female sexual identity

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lottie__w
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I'm struggling a bit with what the term 'performative' means? I want to relate this question to Tess of The d'Urbervilles. Does it mean how is sexual identity shown or how she acts upon it? Help!
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TurboCretin
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Is this the reason STEM students think English Lit is stupid?
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XxSophie01xX
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I suggest you read 'Gender Trouble' by Judith Butler, as she coined the term performative gender.

In short, performative gender is where you ACT out the typical characteristics of a particular gender, be it the character's own or the opposite. 'Playing with mimesis'
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lottie__w
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(Original post by TurboCretin)
Is this the reason STEM students think English Lit is stupid?
Thanks for the input...
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Flowerkins96
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The definition of performative, in a basic condensed way, are 'small utterances' which people put on for an act.

So, for example, in Tess of d'Urbervilles, you could call the change of Tess' father's behavior peformative because he goes from humble peasant to considering himself a noble above others.

As the question on female sexual identity however, this means you need to focus on gender differences and how they are presented, and you should especially emphasis the 'performative' ways Hardy presents Tess when she is a virgin, and then afterwards after Alec has raped her.
Adding context to this will probably give you good marks as well as it will help explain the differences between the sexes in Victorian England and more importantly how the difference in treatment regarding these sexes impacted their identity.
For Tess, she is now a destitute woman since she had a child out of marriage, and although it was not in any way her fault society will always see her as this which in turn will impact the female sexual identity.

I hope this helped
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