My Spanish class, in the interest of tracing Spanish modernity into the now (or close enough), watched Todo sobre mi madre. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a wonderful film, and I love Almodóvar. But that is not where I’m going with this (although maybe I will make a post later about such things!)
Instead, we had the following interesting exchange in class:
Girl: But, I don’t understand how he could have gotten the nun pregnant while dressed as a woman.
Professor: (after a classroom-wide pause) Well, how one’s dressed is probably the least important thing when one’s having sex.
Now, I think it’s probable that, as we were talking in Spanish, she simply lacked the words to say what she actually wanted to say. On the other hand, such a literalist interpretation of performativity is certainly something I’ve never thought of before (at least as-relates to the actual physical world, rather than to fictional narratives).
(And I asked the professor later; apparently there is no word for ‘performativity’ in Spanish that isn’t considered a barbarous Anglicism, and he was criticised for trying to create one in an article he wrote. Languages are definitely tricky but fascinating.)