Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Gendered Language

I found Mr. Robertson’s presentation very interesting. The entire topic was very new to me. I was not expecting for the conversation to go so into depth because before last nights class I did not even notice or realize some of the things we talked about. Language makes us feel different ways about things from when we’re young. I didn’t realize that the writing styles between boys and girls in second grade was so different. Looking back on my elementary years I don’t recall being someone who wrote stories about being competitive or conquering something. That said I don’t really remember what my writing style was like as a 7 year old, but I doubt it was much different from some of the examples that Mr. Robertson read to us. I think there is a  reason behind certain writing in children because we grow up surrounded by gendered things. Things like clothes, toys, manners, colors all have an effect on our mindset growing up as either a girl or a boy. The way that we say words and use them impacts the way we feel about language in the business world, and the political world, and in a normal community. We swim in this huge pool of language that reinforces messages and important statements in either a positive way or a negative way. We have to be aware of it because it’s a big part of our lives. Language is the way we talk, hear, feel, and most importantly communicate.
One very important point made last night was that women don’t assert themselves enough. That they are taught not speak out because it is seen as controlling. Robin Lakoff said, ”females are taught at a young age that they can’t speak strongly. That they aren’t allowed to assert their will as much as a male”. So when it comes to things like business, women are criticized on their aggressiveness and if they are insistent and pushy. But, when men are in control and show that they are assertive they are praised as good leaders. We still live in a society where it’s looked down upon when women are too vocal and voice themselves. This is why it is not overlooked when women say “like” to refrain from being too sure of comments they make or avoid confident statements so they ask questions like, “isn’t it”, or “don’t you think”.
Another important point we talked about was how negative terms used to disregard women are usually focused on their sexuality. Words like slut, whore, and hoe, are all derogatory terms used to put women down and they all have to do with their sexuality.
I think this lesson was a lot more then I expected. I did not notice how much language made an impact on the way we write and think even from really young ages. I think nowadays we’ve become more conscious about things we say to kids. We tell girls that they shouldn’t be intimidated by playing sports and wanting to enjoy more “masculine” toys. I hope that in decades to come gendered language won’t be so prominent.

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