Gender BD Essays

Submitted By KatieDi
Words: 4765
Pages: 20

The influence of gender on language in contemporary media

University of Greifswald

The influence of gender on language in contemporary media

B. Dirks
LA Eng./Ge Gym
Seminar: Pragmatics

The influence of gender on language in contemporary media

Content
1. Introduction

3

2. The different usage of language between men and women

4

2.1. Gender differences in language through time

4

2.3. Approaches on gender influenced language

7

3. Influence of gender on language in contemporary media 10
3.1. Differences in magazine articles

10

3.2. Differences in TV shows

12

4. Conclusion

14

5. Annex

15

6. Bibliography

18

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The influence of gender on language in contemporary media

1. Introduction
This term paper will concentrate on the effect gender has on language. Gender is becoming a worldwide concern. In a lot of organizations, companies, and even in politics, a discussion about introducing a proportion of women is already well underway. The awareness about gender in daily life has increased, and a closer look on gender in contemporary language is important.
The first half of this term paper will concentrate on the different academic approaches and their development. Because it is of interest how gender has influenced language over time and whether this influence has been considered until recently, an historical overview will be given.
To conclude the theoretical part, the paper will focus on the academic approaches and their appearance. This will lay the basis for the following analytical part.
The second half of the term paper will concentrate on gender’s influence on language in contemporary media. In this connection, it will have a closer look on articles in a women’s and a men’s magazine and on television shows.
I expect to find an influence of gender in the different media. Magazine articles use sexual stereotypes to create a more tangible and provocative text. TV shows work with stereotypes as well, but I presume these media question rather than perpetuate stereotypes.
For the theoretical approach the paper will mainly focus on Jennifer Coates’
“Women, Men and Language”. Next to that it will also consider new releases to ensure actuality.

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The influence of gender on language in contemporary media

2. The different usage of language between men and women
The following remarks will concentrate on the gender specific usage.
Therefore a historical overview will be given which shall indicate the changes and distinguish the existent opinions. Afterwards the different approaches to gender-influenced language will be discussed.
2.1. Gender differences in language through time
Throughout history, differences between men and women were of peculiar interest. For example, folk-linguistic beliefs where embedded in countless proverbs: Où femme y a, silence n’y a.
(Where there is a woman, there is no silence) - France
A woman’s tongue wags like a lamb’s tail. - England
A whistling sailor, a crowing hen and a swearing woman ought all three to go to hell together. - American proverb
Many women, many words; many geese, many turds - English proverb
(Coates 2004: 9, 13, 23)

These proverbs imply women use language in the following ways: women cannot be silent, and talk always; women talk without breaks; women are not supposed to swear, hence they are obligated to be polite, because otherwise they will go to hell; and women do not discuss intelligent topics. It becomes obvious that women were seen as a gender group less capable of using language in the proper, expected way.
The influence of gender on language was already indisputable in
Shakespeare’s time. This becomes obvious in some of his works. In 1 Henry IV, the character Hotspur makes fun of his wife who is unable to swear. Lady Percy says, “Not mine, in good sooth” (Shakespeare, 1 Henry IV: III. i. 242) and
Hotspur reacts with sarcasm:
Not yours, in good sooth! Heart!! you swear like a comfit-maker‘s wife.
‘Not you, in good sooth’; and
‘As true as I live’; and
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The…