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Is it that you are a girl, which is why you wear a skirt, or is that you wear a skirt, which is why you are a girl?

Quite frankly, what is the difference?

1. I am a girl (CAUSE), which is why I wear a skirt (EFFECT).
2. I wear a skirt (CAUSE), which is why I am a girl (EFFECT).

You see, the difference lies in which causes what, and if you, like post-structuralist feminist philosopher Judith Butler, believe that gender is not something a person is, or something a person has, then the second statement makes more sense to you.

So, is it that you are a girl, which is why you wear a skirt, or is it that you wear a skirt, which is why you are a girl?

If gender is something you do – or the effect of the performative acts of gender – then it is that you wear a skirt, which is why you are a girl.

Of course, gender performativity is more complicated than this. However, for the sake of an entertaining stab at gender performativity, let’s stick with the basics. Deal?