Abstract

Gender performativity, detailed by Judith Butler and accepted by most contemporary queer theorists, rests on an agentive model of gender wherein “genders are appropriated, theatricalized, worn, and done” (“Imitation and Gender Insubordination” 716). This academic orthodoxy is challenged, however, by the increasing presence of transgender persons joining the theoretical discourse, many of whom experience an essential gender as a central facet of their identity. I respond to Katie R. Horowitz’s recent modification of Butler’s theories—a theory of omniperformance to dissolve the distinction between performance and performativity, and thereby between artifice and “real life.” I argue that gender-as-art, a schema that acknowledges both the intention and the intuition of gender, is a more fruitful foundation than omniperformance. I use, as my model, Elisabeth Bergner’s performance as Rosalind in Paul Czinner’s 1936 As You Like It and Bryce Dallas Howard’s 2007 Rosalind in Kenneth Branagh’s film adaptation of the same play. In Bergner and Howard’s androgynous gender performances, I argue, a body—a transgender body, an androgynous body, a genderqueer body, a cisgender body—represents an aesthetic ideal, the product of the human drive to create, to beget, to beautify.

Degree

MA

College and Department

Humanities; English

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2015-03-01

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd7560

Keywords

As You Like It, gender performativity, androgyny, transgender

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