Dancing for your Self Exploring the theories of Gender Trouble by Judith Butler through homemade dance videos on YouTube

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för planering och mediedesign

Abstract: In my essay I explore the theories on performativity by Judith Butler and her book Gender Trouble and apply her theories from the early nineties on today’s Web 2.0 and YouTube. By giving homemade dance videos as an example to show how the division between strong gender identities have softened and are not as important as they were twenty years ago. I also critique some of Judith Butler’s ideas on how to trouble gender and claim that her ideas are perhaps slightly small thinking and narrow-minded if we see on how the gender roles have developed in social media today. She uses drag and transgender as examples to go to the extreme and to act in a way of parody to be able to alter the gender roles. My reply is that although it helps to act in an extreme manner, behaving stereotypically will probably enhance the gender roles further and put drag in a category of its own kind. By presenting information from YouTube such as “likes” and comments we can see that performances which before could be questioned in a gender aspect are now more accepted and that the gender plays a small role in the act of displaying the Self, at least online. Although gender is always present since it is deep-rooted in our daily lives, it should not decide our performance or how we behave depending on what biological sex we are born with. It is the performance that is the important aspect and not the gender the performer is displaying.

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