Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Gendered Speech

Mr. Robertson gave a very interesting lecture on Gendered Speech and its implications in society. In only one day I have already noticed the difference in speech between the two genders. I have also noticed it in my peers writing styles and my own; it really is everywhere, but not as prevalent as in the second graders we read about in the reading, writing about army guys or a day at grandmas (from the reading). Although we may grow out of the extremes of gendered speech and writing, how we write and speak defines us, especially at young ages, so this leaves a lasting, inherent divide between the genders. What really stuck with me was the fact that 2nd grade boys mostly wrote about single males conquering something; they had the need to show male dominance and excellence at such a young age. Thinking about male dominance in today’s society now knowing that piece of information was enlightening. Men learn that they need to be the best when they are just boys. And girls learn to be polite and secondary. The girls mostly wrote about growing as part of the community, which a I found interesting because it is girls who I have observed to form closer emotional bonds and rely more on their friends than boys, who are more often to act independently  with little external help. 

Children do not learn these differences themselves; they are beaten into them constantly. Moms telling their sons they are handsome and their daughter are pretty. Children pick up this divide from their parents and the media, which never ceases to bombard them with gendered language. The difference between how men’s bodies and women’s bodies are described to them is insane. Men apparently don’t have butts, they have bottoms instead. A stomach instead of a belly. But what shocked me most from the reading online was the focus on internal functionality for men, having strong muscles and being fit, while the focus on women’s bodies was external aestheticism--having clean, beautiful skin and hair to attract a man. Targeted marketing using vocabulary to invoke feelings of insecurity and a need to achieve the society promoted norms for each gender. 

After this week’s lecture and readings, I will definitely be more aware of the gendered language. Gendered language is another societal machine used to keep men and women unequal. Gendered language is extremely subtle and goes almost unseen because it is mostly heard. 

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