Hedwig And The Angry Inch : A Closer Look At The Gender Performance Of Yitzhak

1896 Words Dec 4th, 2014 8 Pages
Performativity and Gender in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
A closer look at the gender performance of Yitzhak in connection with Hedwig.

One of the main struggles in the film Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001) is the question of gender and identity, a problem that is constantly addressed by the film’s main character Hedwig. However, other characters question this as well, for example Yitzhak, Hedwig’s husband and bandmate. Portrayed by female actor Miriam Shor, Yitzhak displays male behavior throughout most of the movie, setting a counter-pole to Hedwig’s persona, especially since both characters struggle with the same issues. At the same time, Yitzhak helps to integrate Hedwig into a spectrum of gendered behavior and makes the audience think about and question gender, which would possibly not have been achieved if Yitzhak had been played by a male actor.

According to Judith Butler, gender is not biologically rooted but socially constructed. Gender is “a stylized repetition of acts […] which are internally discontinuous [so that] the appearance of substance is precisely that, a constructed identity, a performative accomplishment which the mundane social audience, including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief” (Butler 140-141). Gender is something learned from social surroundings, it is an imitation of the dominant conventions of gender.
Drag comes into this theory as an…

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