A Realistic Approach to the Performativity of Gender


  • Mona Gérardin-Laverge Nanterre university




Ordinary Language Philosophy, Wittgenstein, Feminism, Gender


The role of language in doing gender is a very important theme in feminist movements and in the post-structuralist approach of gender by queer theorists: Butler, for example, has mobilized a concept from the ordinary language philosophy (“performativity”) to analyze gender and what she calls the “discursive construction of sex”. Her conception has been criticized by various feminist theorists for “derealizing” social relations: forgetting the materiality of the body and neglecting the concrete conditions of women’s work and life. This paper explores how ordinary language philosophy, and especially Wittgenstein’s approach of language, may support butlerian perspective in developing a realistic understanding of the power of language.

Author Biography

Mona Gérardin-Laverge, Nanterre university

Mona Gérardin-Laverge is post-doctoral researcher at the University Saint-Louis Bruxelles (SIEJ). She is the author of a thesis in Philosophy entitled "Language is a Place of Struggle. Performativity of Ordinary Language in the Construction of Gender and Feminist Struggles", and member of the editorial board of GLAD! Revue sur le genre, le langage et les sexualités. Her research focuses on the political role of language in relation to gender studies and feminist philosophy.


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