Published on June 17, 2007
GENDER ISSUES: GENDER ISSUES by Alleen Pace Nilsen and Don L. F. Nilsen BEHAVIORISM: BEHAVIORISM A study was conducted in London, England in which little boy babies were dressed in pink and little girl babies were dressed in blue. The study found that the little boy babies (dressed in pink) were socialized more (more language interaction), while the little girl babies (dressed in blue) were allowed to go off on their own, climb on furniture and get into mischief. CULTURAL AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCES: CULTURAL AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCES Consider Woody Allen’s movie Annie Hall in terms of gender, ethnicity, and geography. Contrast Woody Allen and Annie Hall in terms of Jewish vs. Gentile, city (New York) vs. country, and male vs. female. Contrast the following cultures in terms of power vs. solidarity: Arabic, British, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Jewish, Malay, Navajo, Polish, Russian and Spanish A FEMALE GENRE: THE GOTHIC NOVEL: A FEMALE GENRE: THE GOTHIC NOVEL QUESTION: Why is it that many or most Gothic novels are written by women? MY ANSWER: It’s because only in the Gothic novel can you have an adventure without leaving home. Do you agree or disagree? MALE AND FEMALE COMPUTER USERS: MALE AND FEMALE COMPUTER USERS FOR WOMEN TO COMMENT: Women computer users tend to be more practical, neat, clean, quiet, emotional, non-linear, and interactive. They like chat groups, and group bonding. FOR MEN TO COMMENT: Men computer users tend to be dirty and noisy. They explore and adventure more. They are more linear, individual and competitive. They use more put-downs, and flaming. Their language is not process, but is more concerned with 'getting to the point.' MALE VS. FEMALE FLOUTING: MALE VS. FEMALE FLOUTING Jacob Mey says, 'Males, being socially more powerful, are able to define the conditions that prevail in a given social situation, including the right to `flout’ a [conversational] maxim.' (Mey 202) Suellen Rundquist shows male flouting in the following: Slide7: IN THE FOLLOWING EXAMPLE: 'Notice that Dad not only instigates the flouting, but manages to engage everybody, including a child participant and finally ‘Mum’ herself, in this bout of ‘Mummy-bashing.’' (Mey 203) Slide8: MUM: I used to spend a lot of time playing field hockey, good sport. DAD: Yeah, Mummy was probably playing field hockey when Herbert Hoover took office. MUM: Yeah DAD: Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. MUM: Mhm DAD: George Washington CHILD: Abraham Lincoln DAD: Aristotle and… CHILD: Thomas Jefferson MUM: Yeah,…even when they bombed Pearl Harbor I was. (Rundquist 437) MALE VS. FEMALE LANGUAGE STRATEGIES: MALE VS. FEMALE LANGUAGE STRATEGIES Tag Questions Rising Intonations Hedges Indirect Language Diminutives Euphemism Politeness Phenomena MALE VS. FEMALE CONVERSATIONS: MALE VS. FEMALE CONVERSATIONS Status vs. Support Independence vs. Intimacy Advice vs. Understanding Information vs. Feelings Orders vs. Proposals Conflict vs. Compromise MALE VS. FEMALE LANGUAGE STRATEGIES: MALE VS. FEMALE LANGUAGE STRATEGIES Men are lecturers; women are listeners. Men use more negative face; women use more positive face. Men are more exclusive; women are more inclusive. Men’s language is vertical (competive); women’s language is horizontal (social). Men take and hold the floor more; women share the floor However for many men and women, these tendencies are becoming reversed. PHALLIC SYMBOLS: PHALLIC SYMBOLS In Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code the Star of David is reinterpreted as 'the blade and the chalice.' 'The Club' is a device that inserted into an automobile’s steering wheel at an angle. It is advertised as follows: Slide13: Beward of imitations! THE CLUB! Anti-theft device for cars POLICE SAY: 'USE IT OR LOSE IT' (Mey 324) PRIMATE STUDIES : PRIMATE STUDIES In virtually all primate studies involving language, the primates that are chosen for the experiments are female. Is socialization, and the resulting interactional language skills, a cross-species development? PRONOUNS: PRONOUNS In July of 1993, Judge Robert Zack of Broward County, Florida, found topless hot-dog vendor Terri Cortina not guilty of indecent exposure. In court, Zack read aloud a law that stipulated that it is illegal 'for any person to expose or exhibit his sexual organs.' Zack continued, 'I don’t think this lady has male sexual organs. I [have] no choice but to release her.' [Reader, Chicago, December 4, 1992, Section 4, p. 25] Slide16: Contrast this Chicago event with the Austin, Texas City Ordinances which say that it is legal for a woman to appear topless in public so that the ordinance can be applied equally to the two sexes. (Mey 323) STATUS DIFFERENCES: STATUS DIFFERENCES People in power tend to use more 'male' strategies; they tend to use less indirect language, fewer politeness phenomena, and more negative face. Contrast 'Dominance' vs. 'Difference' in gender issues TOP-DOWN THINKING: TOP-DOWN THINKING Otto Jespersen (the Great Dane) found that women had better language skills than men. After reading a text, they remembered more than men did. He attributed this to the fact that women had 'vacant chambers of the mind' while men’s minds had better things to think about. GENDER HUMOR: GENDER HUMOR When Noel Coward approached Edna Ferber, who was wearing a mannish looking suit, he commented, 'You look almost like a man.' Her response was, 'So do you.' (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 130) ARE COMPUTERS MALE OR FEMALE?: ARE COMPUTERS MALE OR FEMALE? Gender awareness is so important now, that people are wondering whether to use the masculine or the feminine pronoun for computers. Those who feel that computers are masculine point out: Slide21: In order to get their attention you have to turn them on. They have a lot of data but are still clueless. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model. Slide22: Those who feel that computers are femine point out: No one but the Creator understands their internal logic. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paychecks on accessories for it. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 135-136) GAY PRIDE: GAY PRIDE In 1999, Reverand Jerry Falwell was given credit for 'outing' Tinky Winky, one of the four Teletubbies in the British television show for infants. An article entitled 'Parents Alert: Tinky Winky Comes Out of the Closet' in the National Liberty Journal gave the following evidence that Tinky Winky is gay: Slide24: Tinky Winky is purple (which is a gay-pride color). His antenna is triangle-shaped (a gay-pride symbol). And he carries a magic bag that resembles a purse. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 131) Slide25: ! Because of this publicity, there was a huge surge in Tinky Winky sales, and as people started looking for other gay icons. It was pointed out that, Barney is also purple, and what about those triangle road signs that say 'Yield'? And what about Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, or Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street? Slide26: !! Batman and Robin were especially under suspicion: Two single guys, living together, carrying on a double life, tooling around together in the Batmobile, which they drove into the dark and mysterious recesses of the Batcave. (Nilsen andamp; Nilsen 131) !!!WEB SITES: !!!WEB SITES THE QUEENS OF COMEDY (SUSAN HOROWITZ): http://www.drsue.com WOMEN'S HUMOR (JANE CURRY) http://www.janecurry.com Slide28: References # 1: August, Eugene R. 'Real Men Don’t: Anti-Male Bias in English' (Esscholz 336-347). Barreca, Regina, ed. Last Laughs: Perspectives on Women and Comedy. New York: Gordon and Breach, 1988. Barreca, Regina, ed. New Perspectives on Women and Comedy. Philadelphia, PA: Gordon and Breach, 1992. Barreca, Regina. Perfect Husbands (and Other Fairy Tales): Demystifying Marriage, Men, and Romance. New York, NY: Harmony Books, 1993. Barreca, Regina. They Used to Call Me Snow White…but I drifted: Women’s Strategic Use of Humor. New York, NY: Viking, 1991. Slide29: References # 2: Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1987. Clark, Virginia, Paul Eschholz, and Alfred Rosa. Language: Readings in Language and Culture, 6th Edition. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. Cobb, Nathan. 'Gender Wars in Cyberspace.' (Eschholz 300-304). Curry, Jane. Murietta Holley. New York, Ny: Twayne/Prentice Hall International, 1996. Erdrich, Louise. 'The Names of Women' (Clark, 392-396, Eschholz 625-633). Slide30: References # 3: Eschholz, Paul, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. 'Men and Women Talking.' Language Awareness: Readings for College Writers, Ninth Edition. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005, 291-348. Goffman, Erving. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Bahavior. Garolen City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday, 1967. Hadjistassou, Stella. 'Men and Women Talking.' Tempe, AZ: PowerPoint Presentation, February 24, 2006. Horowitz, Susan. Queens of Comedy: Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Carol Burnett, Joan Rivers, and the New Generation of Funny Women. New York, NY: Gordon and Breach, 1997. Jurich, Marilyn. Scheherazade’s Sisters: Trickster Heroines and Their Stories in World Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1998. Kantrowitz, Barbara. 'Men, Women, Computers' (Clark, 397-408) Nilsen, Alleen Pace, and Don L. F. Nilsen. Encyclopedia of 20th Century American English. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000. Slide31: References # 4: Pfeiffer, John Pfeiffer. 'Girl Talk—Boy Talk' (Clark, 357-363) Rundquist, Suellen. 'Indirectness: A Gender Study of Flouting Grice’s Maxims.' Journal of Pragmatics 18.5 (1992): 431-449. Schiffrin, Deborah. Approaches to Discourse. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1994. Tannen, Deborah. 'Ethnic Style in Male-Female Conversation' (Clark, 379-391) Tannen, Deborah. 'How to Give Orders Like a Man' (Eschholz 312-321). Tannen, Deborah. '`I’ll Explain It to You’: Lecturing and Listening' (Clark, 365-378) Slide32: References # 5: Tannen, Deborah. '`Put Down That Paper and Talk to Me!’ Rapport-Talk and Report-Talk.' in Living Language. Ed. Alleen Pace Nilsen. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1999, 125-129. Thompson, Clive. 'He and She: What’s the Real Difference?' (Eschholz 322-327). Truth, Sojourner. 'And Ain’t I a Woman?' (Eschholz 556-559). Walker, Nancy A. The Disobedient Writer: Women and the Narrative Tradition. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1995. Walker, Nancy A. Feminist Alternatives: Irony and Fantasy in the Contemporary Novel by Women. Jackson, MS: Univ Press of Mississippi, 1990. Slide33: References # 6: Walker, Nancy A. Humor in America. Special issue of Open Places 38-39 (1985): 1-222. Walker, Nancy A. The Tradition of Women’s Humor in America. Huntington Beach, CA: American Studies Publishing Company, 1984. Walker, Nancy A. A Very Serious Thing: Women’s Humor and American Culture. Minneapolis, MN: Univ of Minnesota Press, 1988. Walker, Nancy A. What’s So Funny? Humor in American Culture. Wilmington, DE: Scholar Resources Inc., 1998. Walker, Nancy A., and Zita Dresner. Redressing the Balance: American Women’s Literary Humor from Colonial Times to the 1980s. Jackson, MS: Univ Press of Mississippi, 1988.