Deborah Tannen Gender Theory

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Deborah Tannen Gender Theory



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Difference Theory of language by Deborah Tannen

Consultado el 2 de enero de Trends in cognitive sciences 6 6 : — Academic Press. ISBN Robert I. Tannen, ed. Gender and Conversational Interaction. Population, U. Census Bureau Report February 7, The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: Basic Books. Vistas Leer Editar Ver historial. The main idea of MGT is that "Language serves its creators better than those in other groups who have to learn to use the language as best they can. The term mutedness refers to a group's inability to express themselves due to this inequity. However, this translation process may result in the loss and distortion of information as the people from subordinate groups cannot articulate their ideas clearly.

All these may eventually lead to the mutedness of the subordinate group. Although this theory was initially developed to study the different situations faced by female and male, it can also be applied to any marginalized group that is muted by the inadequacies of their languages. In , Shirley Ardener cited instances from feminism movements to articulate how women as a muted group used body symbolism to justify their actions and arguments in her article "Sexual Insult and Female Militancy". In , Shirley Ardener reprinted Edwin's paper "The Interpretation of Ritual," and included her sexual insult text in the book "Perceiving Women", for which she wrote an intro. Muted Group Theory was firstly developed in the field of cultural anthropology by the British anthropologist, Edwin Ardener.

The first formulation of MGT emerges from one of Edwin Ardener's short essays, entitled "Belief and the Problem of Women," in which Ardener explored the "problem" of women. In social anthropology, the problem of women is divided in two parts: technical and analytical. The technical problem is that although half of the population and society is technically made up of women, ethnographers have often ignored this half of the population.

Ardener writes that "those trained in ethnography evidently have a bias towards the kinds of model that men are ready to provide or to concur in rather than towards any that women might provide. This leads to the analytical part of the problem which attempts to answer the question: "[…] if the models of society made by most ethnographers tend to be models derived from the male portion of that society, how does the symbolic weight of the other mass of persons express itself?

After conducting an experiment with the information in his essay, the results indicated that the male point of view is the dominant point of view in society, which is why it is depicted with a standard solid line in this graph. On the other hand, the female point of view is considered as non-dominant and non-standard, so it falls into the muted category with the broken line. According to Ardener, because male-based understandings of society represent the dominant worldview, certain groups are silenced or muted.

He writes: "In these terms if the male perception yields a dominant structure, the female one is a muted structure. Moreover, Ardener's concept of muted groups does not only apply to women but can also be applied to other non-dominant groups within social structures. What they discovered is that "male dominance affects more than just the way sexes speak but the content and structure of the English language. Based on Kramare's work, scholars Anita Taylor and M. Hardman observed that there're no concepts that important to women recognized in English naming rules.

The language also devlaues concepts that is important to women but not to men. For instance, women and men that are of the same social rank are usually addressed by asymmetrical usages of first and last name women are usually called by first name while men are by the last name ; [10] or associations of certain words with women are formed to maintain the social stereotype sewing, cooking, house chores, etc. Mutedness does not equal silence. Mutedness occurs when people cannot articulate their ideas, regardless of time and space, without changing their language to meet the dominant group's vocabulary.

Mutedness results from the lack of power and might lead to being overlooked, muffled, and invisible. Because the latter was mainly built by men, men have an advantage over women. Consequently, women cannot express their thoughts through their own words because their language use is limited by the rules of a man's language. Women as well as members of other non-dominant groups are not as free or as able as men are to say what they wish, because the words and the norms for their use have been formulated by the dominant group, men.

As Cowan points out, " 'mutedness' does not refer to the absence of voice but to a kind of distortion where subordinate voices…are allowed to speak but only in the confines of the dominant communication system. Muted group or subordinated group is relative to the dominant group. The premise of MGT is that members of the marginalized group s would mute themselves without coercion, which based on the fact that the silencing of muted group s is a socially shared phenomenon. Kramarae points out that muted group as "the oppressed" are people who don't have a "public recognized vocabulary" to express their experience. Their failure in articulate their ideas lead to their doubt about "the validity of their experience" and "the legitimacy of their feelings".

Several scholars have researched and studied how the "muting" process occurs. According to West and Turner , there are four methods that can cause muting: ridicule, ritual , control and harassment. Houston and Kramarae posit that women have been silenced in many ways by for example ridiculing women's related lexicon, trivializing their opinions, ideas, and concerns, and censoring women's voices. A typical example is wedding ceremony. Scholars pointed out that many social decisions are controlled by men, including history book contents, mainstream media, communication practices, etc. Harassment happens in public spaces such as on the street, workplace , or even in educational contexts.

Including demeanor, distribution of space, touch, eye contact, and visibility, etc. The different experiences caused by the division of labor result in the different perceptions that women and men hold towards the world. Using men's words is a disadvantage to women because Kramarae believes that men and women are vastly different and thus will view the world differently from each other. This stems from the distinction between the meanings of the words " sex " and " gender ". Kramerae believes that communication between men and women is not on an even level. This is because language is man-made. This makes it easier for men to communicate over women.

Symbolic Interactionism Theory believes that "the extent of knowing is the extent of naming. Kramarae argues that English is a "[hu]man-made language" and that it "embodies the perspectives of the masculine more than the feminine", while supporting "the perceptions of white middle-class males. Men are the standard. Kramarae also explains that men's control over language has produced an abundance of derogatory words for women and their speech patterns. Some of these include names such as " slut ", "whore", and "easy lay", along with speech patterns such as " gossiping ", "whining", and " bitching ". These include words such as "stud", "player", and " pimp " p.

Kramarae suggests these harmful words shape our reality. She believes that "words constantly ignored may eventually come to be unspoken and perhaps even unthought". This can lead women to doubt themselves and the intentions of their feelings. Women have to go through a translation process when speaking in order to participate in social life. Kramarae says that women need to choose their words carefully in public. According to Kramarae, this is because, "what women want to say and can say best cannot be said easily because the language template is not of their own making.

This stems from the market being dominated by males for so long. Almost all prominent authors, theorists, and scientists have historically been male. This allows for them to give women the "facts" they should believe about society and life in general. Femininity is the marked form: it is the proof of otherwise. Marginalized groups in a given culture or society experience the process of muting in social contexts including but not limited to:. According to Kramarae, women have been locked out of the publishing business until ; thus they lacked influence on mass media and have often been misrepresented in history. The reason behind this lies in the predominance of male gatekeepers, who are defined as editors and other arbiters of a culture who determine which books, essays, poetry, plays, film scripts, etc.

In The Status of Women in the U. Media , The Women's Media Centre researchers explore the current status of women in the mass media industry. The report compiles 27, pieces of content among "20 of the most widely circulated, read, and viewed, and listened TV networks, newspapers, news wires, and online news in the United States. Although the number of women on TV news broadcasts is generally growing, the misrepresentation of women does not only regard their presence as anchors but also the events that they cover. Several studies show that while men mainly report on "hard" news, women are often relegated to cover "soft" news.

Thus, women are often muted in terms of the topics they tend to cover. Although the Women's Media Centre study is very U. For example, Aparna Hebbani and Charise-Rose Wills have explored how Muslim women have often been muted in the Australian mass media sphere. Thus, there is a social hierarchy that is privileging certain groups via Australian mass media. There are some conventional stereotypes attached to men and women in society when an individual's behavior deviates from this norm they attain "negative feedback" for this opposition to the norm by their actions. In the case of women, this gets quite complicated as women are told to act in a certain manner, but when they do try and emulate their male counterparts, they are "discriminated" and "discouraged" for acting that way.

Social rituals are another example of a place in which the muting process takes place. Kramarae suggests that many elements within wedding ceremonies place women in a silenced position. For example, the fact that the father of the bride "gives her away" to the groom, that the position of the bride — at the left of the minister — is considered less privileged than the one of the groom, that the groom announces his vows first, and that the groom is asked to kiss the bride, are all factors that contribute to the position of a woman as subordinated to the one of the man.

As Catharine MacKinnon one of the leading voices in the feminist legal movement suggests, the law sees women similarly as men see women. Like language, the legal system has thus been created, defined, and interpreted mostly by men. In s America, women entered the workplace in great numbers while men were at war. However, after the war period, the society did not encourage the participation of women in the workplace, and in this way tried to assert male dominance in the society.

Organizations still appear to be male dominated. Women's experiences are often not taken into account in the workplace the way male experiences are. The "structure" is maintained by men who primarily use communication from the male perspective. Most organization goals are met by the usage of "male-preferential" language, as they tend to focus on aspects such as "economic gain" and "performance improved". The main point of organizational communication is that it can help an employee fulfill their work duties.

Women are not able to fulfill these duties using language more relevant to them, so in order to attain success in their workplace, they have to go beyond their natural realm and utilize "male-preferential" language. One of the ways that women are differentiated can be observed when we take the "performance appraisals" into consideration. What they mainly consist of is reviews that are based on the standards that are more like "masculine" standards. One member of the subordinate group that is also silenced in the workplace are women who face sexual harassment by the dominant group. Many women have a hard time when faced with harassment in a male dominated workplace because they are "the verbal minority". Independent parties have emerged since World War II to offer people alternative choices for election.

However, most of these parties operate only in "circumscribed regions or with very narrow platforms". Prentice studied the impact of the third party , i. He finds out that there have been few studies around third party by and even though third party candidates are involved in public campaign debates, they remain inarticulate and ignored due to the judgment by "standard of the political rhetoric and worldview of the major parties". Prentice points out that major parties usually interfere with the free expression of third parties through three ways: "ignoring their claims, appearing confused verbally or nonverbally by the claims, or actively attacking the claims made". He also notices that the debate questions are structured in a way that reflects major parties' worldviews, which results in third party's mutedness.

In order to participate and articulate their own worldview, third party candidates have to transform their ideas to match the major parties' models through emphasizing the agreements with the majority rather than the differences and sometimes may lead them to make statements that can be misinterpreted. In an electoral system where career continuity is valued, women candidates are placed at a disadvantaged position competing with their male opponents.

Stereotypical opinions like women as default caretakers of domestic business impose disadvantages on women, as they are thought to be incapable of being consistent with their work for family reasons. The classroom can be a place where women are muted. Women's education in the United States has progressed over the years, but academia is still male-dominated. Kramarae has raised several suggestions for more inclusive educational environments, such as including "women's humor", "speechlessness", and ways to address the issue of "abusive language". In the classroom, men and women utilize language differently. The bond differently with other members of their gender.

Women tend to bond with each other through the process of discussing their problems, while men bond with each other using "playful insults" and "put downs". Houston believes in order to create a positive reform in education it might be useful to revise the curriculum and lay special stress on "woman-centered communication" education. Women's Studies WS has evolved and grown over the years. Today there is greater demand for faculty to be on initiatives such as WS programs, African American Programs, and other programs focused on marginalized groups. Rejection to all religions became a central issue to feminism in the s.

The cultural root of housewife can be contributed by the Christianity religion, for instance. Jewish women in the family are expected to perform domestic duties, such as caring for children and husband. Also, rights of women are circumscribed by religious traditions in terms of marriage and social contacts. According to MGT, the voices of marginalized groups are muted because the factors of individuals do not synchronize with the standards set by dominant groups.

These factors include but not limited to:. According to Kissack, traditionally communication has been constructed within the framework of a male dominated society. Women in corporate organizations are expected to use language associated with women, that is, "female-preferential" language. It has been considered as lower than the "male-preferential" language. The primary difference between the two is "male-preferential" language consists of details such as opinions and facts whereas "female-preferential" language consists mainly of personal details, emotions reflected in the conversations, also there is a great use of adjectives in it. Muted group theory has "recognized that women's voices are muted in Western society so that their experiences are not fully represented in language and has argued that women's experiences merit linguistic recognition".

Traditional dictionaries rely on the majority of their information to come from male literary sources. These male sources have the power to exclude words important to or created by women. For example, the word " Cuckold " is defined as "the husband of an unfaithful wife" in Merriam Webster. However, there is no term for a wife who has an unfaithful husband. She is simply called a wife. Another example Kramarae defined was the word "doll". She defined "doll" as "a toy playmate given to, or made by children". Some adult males continue their childhood by labeling adult female companions "dolls". The feminist dictionary includes up to 2, words to emphasize women's linguistic ability and to give women words of empowerment and change their muted status.

She also believes that women can grab opportunities to take up physical and political space if they are given more verbal space. LGBT groups are considered marginalized and muted in our society. As Gross notes, "For many oppressed groups the experience of commonality is largely the commonality of their difference from, and oppression by, the dominant culture". Gloria Ladson-Billings believes that "stories provide the necessary context for understanding, feeling, and interpreting" and argues that voices of dispossessed and marginalized groups such as people of color are muted within the dominant culture.

Delgado addresses three reasons for "naming one's own reality" in legal discourse: "1 much of 'reality' is socially constructed; 2 stories provide members of outgroups a vehicle for psychic self-preservation; and 3 the exchange of stories from teller to listener can help overcome ethnocentrism and the dysconscious drive or need to view the world in one way". When it comes to education, critical race theorists argue that the official school curriculum is designed to maintain a " White supremacist master script". As Swartz contends, master scripting sets the standard knowledge for students, which legitimizes "dominant, white, upper-class, male voices" and mutes multiple perspectives. The voices from other non-dominant groups are under control, mastered and can only be heard through reshaping and translation to meet the dominant standard.

Ageism leads to certain age groups being muted in American society. In particular, the elderly are often ignored and marginalized. In Muted lives: Older battered women , Carol Seaver discusses how older abused women are silenced because of sexism and ageism. She focuses on issues specific to elderly abused women, not just abused women in general. She argues that this group of domestic abuse survivors faces a specific set of difficulties, "They are silenced by ageist assumptions about them as too resistant and hopeless to change or made invisible by the notion that very frail elders are the only victims of elder abuse.

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