Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gender in language

I really enjoyed Mr. Robertson’s talk about Gender vs. Sex.  During the class, there were multiple discussions taking place revolving around the differences between gender and sex.  Gender being how you present yourself in society, and sex being your biological standpoint.  In Mr. Robertson’s talk, I felt as though I could really be involved in the conversation, given that this is a hot topic of today’s world.  One exercise that Mr. Robertson did that really stuck out to me was the use of his daughters journal to test whether we thought it was a girl or a boy writing it.  Most of the time, we were spot on with our guesses because of the language used in the writing.  While the boys normally wrote about adventure and something they had to overcome, the girls typically wrote about events that happened that day and working together with a partner in the classroom.  This was particularly interesting to see because I have never really recognized the differences in writing styles in younger children until that exercise.  It made me want to go back and look at my writing compared to that of my boy cousins and relatives.  

While talking about the quote “Language uses us as much as we use language” by Robin Lakoff, we discussed the role of language in everyday society.  In talking about the swear words used against women and men, particular differences were brought about, which made it easy to see how the words translate to each sex.  While most of the curse words used against men are basically saying “it sucks to be a woman” the words used against women are based on their sexuality.  

In the article assigned to us, it shows many studies where females tend to focus on characteristics such as community life, community norms, understanding nature to solve challenges at hand, and protagonists violating the norms are scared or embarrassed.  While males tend to possess characteristics such as physical or social contest, contests with nature and protagonists use skills to defend their honor or the honor of others.  In class, this topic was exemplified through Mr. Robertson’s presentation of his daughter’s stories in elementary school.  I found this overall topic particularly interesting because I was able to relate to the topics that Mr. Robertson addressed as well as be more engaged in the conversation which allowed me to better understand the topic at hand.  

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