Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gendered Language

I really liked Mr. Robertson’s presentation about gendered language. One part that I found particularly interesting was the discussion of swear words. Most swears that are directed towards women are focused on sexuality and promiscuity, but swears directed at men are not. I also noticed that many of the swears that are intended to be said to women were more offensive than those directed towards men. The swear words that are directed to men are often seen as jokes, whereas the ones for women are taken more seriously. I also really liked the discussion about how women are often cursed at for “overstepping” their bounds. Often times women are discouraged from being strong and assertive. I have noticed this a lot in my life. I find that when women get in arguments or debates, they are seen as getting heated much faster and easier. I think that this is because the expectation is that women will not be passionate and stand up for their beliefs. I have had people tell me multiple times that I get too heated when having an argument, just because they interpret my tone of voice or the strength behind it as not normal. These boundaries are set for women since they are little girls. Girls are expected to be calmer and nicer than boys, and this is reflected in the article that we read. Second grade girls write about working with others to find a solution, and boys write about dominating and fighting something into submission. I think that this difference is even reflected in high school. I often see my male friends killing ants or spiders, and many of my female friends would rather take it outside than kill it. This applies to more than just nature though. It is very common for my male friends to arm wrestle and play physical games than for my female friends. This difference is taught to people at a young age, which is why it is so ingrained in our culture. For men to be the best they have to physically dominate something, and there has to be competition. I think that this can be incredibly harmful to young boys and men, because they are taught to win and that losing is unacceptable. This goes along with the idea that men cannot show their emotions, which I think is very harmful. When men are taught not to show emotion other than anger, the only accepted way for them to express their feelings is through violence, which is very harmful to both the men and the people around them
Another part of the presentation that I found interesting was the discussion over whether comments written for male and female students would be different. I got my brother’s comments and my own, and I compared them for gendered language and overall differences. The biggest difference that I found was the subject matter discussed in the comments. My comments often talked about my character, or my learning style, and my brother’s talked about his academic accomplishments and his grades. My comments also talked a lot about my ability to work with my classmates, and my brothers were focused on him specifically and not the rest of the class. I also had more criticism about my lack of organization, and my brother had practically none. This struck me specifically because out of the two of us, I am far more organized, and he would admit that. Another difference was in our participation in class. We both had comments saying that we were strong voices in the class, but teachers remarked on my brother’s ability to persuade the class. I’m sure that some of these differences are because we are different people and we had different teachers, but I think that the differences are still important. I think it would be very interesting to see on a larger scale what the differences were, because I only had one example for each gender.

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