Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gendered Language

I have always considered myself a feminist and have tried actively to fight against gender norms, so you can imagine my annoyance when I realized I had fallen into society's traps.  I had thought about sexism in a lot of contexts, but until yesterday it hadn't been about language.  I found the differences in stories from the second graders very interesting.  I thought back to my second grade creative writing and realized that the story I can remember most is the one where every three sentences a new friend would show up and help in some way.  This falls directly in line the with gender norms depicted in the McAuliffe article and the examples we saw today.  One thing that did aggravate me from the examples today was the story about Sophie jump roping.  At the end she beat Jan, and Jan was happy about it. I don't know about you all but if a girl I normally was better than suddenly beat me, I would be mad, not cheering.

An interesting topic we brought up in discussion was the different uses of the insult "bitch" depending on gender.  In both instances it is used to force people into their gender roles.  However it means very different things for the two genders.  For women it is used to stop them from being bossy and in control, or forcefully expressing their opinion.  Whereas for men it was used to tel them to be masculine, used as a way to punish them for being feminine.  It is used for men as a way to tell them to take control, because that is the societal idea of a man's role.

I used to get very annoyed that i would observe small details about many things, and many people and my guy friends would think it was weird.  they would ask, "why would you notice that?" My anger would only grow when they didn't notice or remember small details.  Now it makes a lot more sense because the gender roles are geared toward women noticing the small things, and men looking at the big picture.

The study done by Motschenbacher made a lot of sense, and in the back of my mind I already knew a lot of what he was discussing.  But I had only ever really seen it in the context of female advertising because that is what I am exposed to more often.  It intrigued me to see it on the male side, that their advertising was more focused on utility and "manliness", whereas for women it is focused on aesthetic beauty and attracting a mate.  I was really disturbed by the Nissan advertisement example that was used, because it so blatantly reinforced the idea that men should not behave with emotion or any stereotypically feminine qualities.  Over all the discussion and articles were really eye opening and I thoroughly enjoyed.

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