Gendered Language


A response to TH that has just sent in a Final Paper on Gendered Language, and wishes to pursue more work in the area – perhaps a book on the subject.
During Primary Socialization – i.e. pre-school, parents often inadvertently imprint more gender words than they realize. Often this is done with just a pronoun and then the frequency effectively defines totals. This is done with gender and class so subtly as to often only require a tone of voice. The way women are addressed, the tone and pitch of voice, is often quite different between males to males. males to females and females to females. Study this at a party some time. A guy is talking to another guy – his voice is deep and staccato, the girl enters the convo and the guy’s voice lifts an octave (to be non-threatening – not too ……Male! But he goes back to the guy/guy convo and his voice drops again – maintaining his macho in the face of another suitor.
Parent examples:
“….
We will take you off to see the nurse tomorrow. She will ask you to do X…. You have to do what She says… (after 50 occurrences, apparently all nurses are female.)
What a good boy! (rather than what a good person….) (I am a male and I will not be a nurse, but I expect to ne nursed/nurtured by a female.)
Pilots make good money, look at the car he drives. (If I was a male, I might become a pilot one day)
That fireman is so strong and brave, look how he rushed in and saved the little girl. (Adjectives compound the issue, they add the equivalent of an emotional ewww – ahhh to the cooing sounds.) (Males are larger than life, girls are small and weak.: males save girls)
The next major problem is the 40” baby-sitter. Television stations reinforce gender roles in everyday situations.
As a separate point of interest, note the order of stories that come out of the news. Sometimes this is done to create a segue that doesn’t exist. Recently in Australia, a story about an artist that portrayed a partially naked pubescent girl made news when police attempted to close down the art exhibition. In every circumstance, that story was immediately followed up by an old story of a pedophile that was arrested. This was obviously done to effectively join the stories and therefore the thinking of the public. This FOX style game is prevalent throughout the media, and adds significantly to the gender/race/religion bias that is continually being drummed up. It is difficult to combat the subtle overtones that are being overlaid by everyone else.
Unfortunately, many women also sell out their gender. Playing a Vanna on a game show, Weather Girl, dumb blonde, sex kitten etc.. can denigrate their role and reinforce the gender biases. Good for CSI with so many females and not all hot property!
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