Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gendered Language

In last night’s presentation by Mr. Robertson, I learned about the indoctrination of gendered language from the beginning of understanding language. He spoke about how children are perceived by adults when they say certain things at the age of 5 on the playground and how adults influence the children to not speak in the manner their gender role traditionally would speak in. His talk also included evidence from 2nd and 10th grade writers from whom you could easily tell which gender was writing it, but the prevalence of gendered speech had slowly become less evident once it got to 10th graders. The article we had for reading was weaved into the speech showing statistical evidence of 2nd grade boys and girls plot lines when they wrote stories. The boys tend to write about a singular protagonist who fights against enemies to get a reward, and it was much more glorious and heroic than the girls who wrote about community goals, action, and less singular heroism. This trend makes sense when you hear Mr. Robertson’s speech as he talked about all the occasions little boys and girls are told to be speaking in a certain manner. But what I found the most interesting was this trend is not erased in adulthood. Women still are viewed to be a certain way and shouldn’t exhibit traits that are “supposed” to be seen in men, like with the performance reviews which show aggression as a bad thing in women, but a good thing in men. It is not a conscious effort either, this is just the way people have been conditioned to think a certain way in regards to gender.

This phenomenon is very alarming to me. Language is something that all of us have and speak, and to be subconsciously placing gender roles on people and thinking about the two genders in a different manner, when it is hypocritical is scary. This speech brought to my attention that it happens and that is not intentional or an only men issue, everyone does it. This speech will also cause me to be more aware of how I speak on the different gender and I will attempt to use the same adjectives to describe both genders equally and fairly.

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