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describe the way english language stereotypes men and women

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Task: Describe some of the ways in which the English language can be used to stereotype men and women Undermining Stereotypes involve generalizations about male and female identities and about appropriate roles and ambitions for women and men. Generalizations about women and men inevitably involve false assumptions as they counteract the diverse identities and personalities of individual women and men. Current stereotypes of men and women not only rest on false assumptions but also reflect and reinforce a male dominance. Some examples are "the hen-pecked husband," the "dumb blonde," the "court jester," the "evil landlord," or any of its several incarnations, such as "dumb jock" or "the village idiot." Many of these stereotypes are found to be offensive. The society plays a role in shaping and sustaining these inequalities. This reflects the "Sapir- Whorf hypothesis", which argues that the language we learn determines the way we view the world and the way people use different language perceives the world. We still live in a patriarchal society however it is gradually changing, women have a better perspective than then used to. ...read more.


Therefore when using words to insult of terms of endearment you have to think before you speak because these words are gender- specified. People connotations of words differ from one another. For instance a bachelor is someone who isn't married or has never been married. Personally I think the word bachelor is someone trendy, care free and of a young age. However a spinster is the female equivalent of a bachelor but it is often used as an offensive term for a woman who remained unmarried beyond the usual age. This suggests people see words and have certain expectations. Another regular occurrence of this is a nurse, if someone was to mention a nurse you would immediately think of a female because people don't expect a man to be a nurse they think of a male as a doctor, although this isn't the case now were in the 21st century and it is common for men to be nurses and for women to be doctors. Men and women are given different titles, normally a young lady or an unmarried woman you are called miss, then when they get married it changes to Mrs. ...read more.


Men and women are both addressed differently in newspapers; the names of a woman are usually not displayed but referred to as the wife of someone and they sometimes refer to their age. Whereas men's names are regularly used and they often use words such as "Mr." or "Dr" to perceive them as important. Women are portrayed more passively than men. Women are only mainly in the celebrity sections which include fashion, diets and relationships whereas the entire sports section is male dominated and they are also involved in the political issues and sometimes crime. Pictures in the newspaper are usually in colour when they are based on sport and women. This is because they want to attract the readers to those particular articles, which is generally men. The English language is an incredibly complex and easily manipulated language, and perhaps many extremists would tell you that it's sexist in many parts. Stereotyping is mainly offensive to women; it is more extreme to them. It is clear that there are plenty more pleasant words to be used about men than there are for women. Men have a more dominating role in our society; this is displayed in the media. Resources': the language and representation booklet; Class notes and handouts, The class booklet on gender in the newspapers. ...read more.

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Response to the question

Although some good points are raised they are not analysed and no evidence is given which really lets down what could be a promising start to an essay. While the student very clearly does describe how the English Language can ...

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Response to the question

Although some good points are raised they are not analysed and no evidence is given which really lets down what could be a promising start to an essay. While the student very clearly does describe how the English Language can stereotype men and women they missed out some key issues and also do not talk about the significance of the points they are making. It's important to talk about the significance as it shows deeper thought into the issues. So for example when talking about the slut/stallion contrast they could go on to say how this then enables men to look down on women who sleep around and how this derives from the past when women were meant to stay chaste till marriage yet it was very common for men to have slept with women beforehand. By looking at the etymological meaning of words it shows how their meanings have changed over time and in considering things in a historical way the student would show a greater understanding of how and why the English language is enforcing these stereotypes. The fact they do not refer to any studies also makes it appear like it is just their opinion rather than scientifically based judgements. It's always important to have evidence to back up your claims as this then shows that you know what you are talking about and provides empirical evidence to show that what you are saying is correct rather than just assertions.

Level of analysis

There's not much analysis in this essay as the student focuses too much on just describing things. While of course the question asks to describe, simply mentioning different words doesn't fully answer the question. It wants you to describe in a way that shows how the language is then used to stereotype. In the first paragraph when talking about petite and hunk I would have gone further and talked about how this then encodes that men should be muscular and women small and dainty, thus enforcing gender stereotypes which are then reflected in the media. Also an interesting point which the student missed was that of jobs with "man" in (such as policeman and fireman) and how this then influences our opinion of which gender should be doing the job and how there has been a push to change these to firefighter and police officer in order to minimise gender stereotyping.

Quality of writing

There are a number of grammatical mistakes throughout and some words used incorrectly. This is why it is very important to proof read as the computer spell check often will not pick up on grammatical mistakes (such as incorrect tense) and definitely will not pick up on incorrect usage of words. Also in proof reading you are able to check to see your essay flows well. This essay does have a clear introduction which is important for introducing the topic and setting out what they will be discussing but it's conclusion doesn't conclude what the essay is saying. It's essential for the conclusion to summarise the information from the essay and come to some sort of judgement. Also many of the paragraphs are lacking a logical structure. The easiest structure to use is P.E.E.L. (Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link back to the question). If the student had used this it would have made each paragraph work well and also forced them to include some evidence which is desperately needed to back up their assertions.

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Reviewed by greeneyedgirl 27/02/2012

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