The paper aims at representing reflection of Iranian women’s gender identity in their lifestyle. It applies the ideas of Judith Butler on performativity, based on which the repetition of actions create and naturalize the artificial constructions of gender. It seeks to illuminate the traces of gender identity in lifestyle. Comparing the traditional and modern lifestyle, it explores how discourse has constructed Iranian woman and how through repetition of action or failure of repetition they sustain or modify the gender identity. It is concluded that Iranian women, in both traditional and modern lifestyle are performing the conventions of gender and are identified by their gender of womanliness.
gender identity, communication, socialization, lifestyle, traditional, modern, Iranian women.
«The consequence of such sharp disagreements about the meaning of gender... establishes the need for a radical re-thinking of the categories of identity within the context of relations of radical gender asymmetry» [3, p. 11]. Women’s experience of marginalization proves the significance of studying women’s gender identity and a «radical re-thinking» of it. The issue seems far more relevant in case of Iranian women’s gender identity who are experiencing a transitional stage. The country, facing global modernization, with its Traditional discourse, especially after revolution of 1979, insists maintaining traditional norms. The challenge of Iranian women to sustain or alter her gender identity can be examined in
the way she lives her everyday life. The paper uses Butler’s ideas on construction of gender identity. Judith Butler (1956), like other poststructuralist feministы, rejects the existence of any essence to decide one’s gender. Furthermore, she undermines the feminist distinction between sex and gender. She argues that sex, like gender, is also a cultural construct and scientific ground that masks and naturalizes the phallocentric discourse. Sex cannot be differentiated from gender, because like gender, it is divided into two categories and each gender is following its related sex, or else it will be punished. According to Butler, gender is created by performativity; that is, gender is a «doing rather than a being» [3, p. 25]. Gender is «an identity tenuously constituted in time – an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts» [3, p. 392]. The repetition of so called gender acts creates gender and makes us believe in the naturalness and real essence of these artificial conventions established by discourse. However, Butler claims that «there is no point of resistance to regulation» [6, p. 151]. While the subject is constructed within discourse, she has agency to violate and reconstruct the discourse. «The subject is neither fully determined by power, nor fully determining of power» [5, p. 17]. The subject who is within the power relations draws her agency from the very construction «to articulate its opposition» [4, p. 122]. Gender is not «constructed as a stable identity» [3, p. 191], rather «the possibility of gender transformation are in the possibility of failure to repeat» [3, p. 192]. Lifestyle displaying actions and behaviors is regarded here as the visible image of the identity. According to Butler, «The effect of gender…must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gestures, movements and styles of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self» [3, p. 191]. The present study seeks to represent the way gender identity regulates Iranian women’s lifestyle.
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