Gender performativity is term created by queer theorist Judith Butler
. Combining the notion of gender
as a performance
and J.L. Austin's
idea of performativity, Butler unravels the dynamics in which gender roles
and constructions are up held.
In gender performativity, gender is upheld by its ability of reiteration, that is it is able to be performed repeatedly. Though these iterations may not be exactly copied, which is termed as slippage, the ability for the performance to be reinacted by many bodies, creates its power by its presence and multiplicity.
Butler's concern with gender performativity is how these simulated and fictional constructions become naturalized or universalized as true genders, always already present.
In her critique of drag performance, she invokes the idea of gender performativity, to explain how drag does not actually subvert gender as it seems to on the superficial level. Rather, many times drag is done in a hyper-masculine or hyper-feminine manner, without questioning the heteronormative and binary underpinnings of such gender roles.