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response to ccassidy's post! who am I performing for?

kwilkinson's picture

I also struggled with this idea after class.  My freshman year I took the Performance of Self eSem.  This was the first time I had been introduced to the idea that gender is not only a social construction (which I had already concluded from some of my high school curriculum), but that we perform our identities everyday.  I believe that although it is powerful to use the word performance, because it implies one having agency to act instead of remaining complicit in gender norms and stereotypes.  However I must ask, who has the privilege to perform and who does not? 

For myself, I am not so much aware of my performance as Kelly, a Black American Woman, but more so who is my audience?  As I stated in class on Thursday, I am constantly evaluating who am I performing/speaking to?  I believe that my performance as a Black-American woman is incredibily sensitive to my audience.  There is a constant mental duality I must maintain, in order to filter ideas or opinions that I fear may not be well-recepted/misunderstood by people who do not look like me.  For me, I have no option but to perform.  Not only my gender, but also my race.  I am not so sure if that is a good or bad thing?  The idea of performance has definitely contributed to understanding the intersectionality of my identity.  I have come to a point where I am not scared to assert my opinion or persepctive in a conversation. However I always must be conscious of the way I am doing it. 


ari_hall's picture

I also, identifying as a

I also, identifying as a black woman, feel i must balance this duality, as well as the "ball" of selves that make me who I am. I find myself "shifting" as bell hooks defined in her book about the double lives of black women, between these selves to fit in with/ be accepted by certain audiences. In class last tuesday, I believe you mentioned that Kate Bornstein's book did not create a space for people of color, and maybe even specifically black people, which is the constant struggle for black women: being at the back of two of the biggest movements that we define with.