“Typed” for What?
These constructions of gender that we assign to our students for performance are the core concern of this chapter.
Gender constitution, according to gender theorist Judith Butler, is a complex phenomenon. According to Butler, “the acts by which gender is constituted bear similarities to performative acts within theatrical contexts.”2 Butler’s theories fi gure even more signifi cantly in Blair’s work with Butler’s assertion that “the gendered body acts its part in a culturally restricted corporeal space and enacts interpretations within the confi nes of already existing directives.”3 Both Butler and Blair concur that gender constitution occurs in a restrictive and confi ning cultural context. Additionally, Butler’s writings are aligned with Blair’s in that Butler believes: “gender identity is a performative accomplishment compelled by social sanction and taboo,”4 and “the body is always an embodying of possibilities both conditioned and circumscribed by historical convention.”5 In addition, Butler asserts that gender identity is infl uenced by “social sanction and taboo.”6 These concepts resonate with Blair’s caution that theatrical roles may “re-inscribe the dominant culture.”7 In other words, Blair’s perspective is grounded in established gender theory.