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Sex generalisations and stereotypes.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

English Language Coursework Investigation Introduction As early as 1847, women were described in terms of appearance rather than character traits or achievements, and this can be seen in Mr. Rochester's description of Blanche Ingram in 'Jane Eyre' (1847); "a strapper, a real strapper, Jane: big, brown, and buxom." This is a frequently used stereotypical view of women, and in my project I aim to discover whether this aspect of representation is still prevalent in the media of today. This subject appealed to me, especially the research by Jennifer Coates and Angela Goddard, which, although based on speech, provided some explanation for the widespread inference that women are subordinate to men. For example, it was found by Beiley and Time in 1976 that women use expletives far less in conversation than men, with the connotation that this trend is a result of women being gentler, and less aggressive than men, and therefore less powerful. However, this research was completed by Coates in 1982 and, since then, there have been few extensive studies of gender representation in the media. However, at present there is pressure on most aspects of society to be politically correct and non-sexist, and sexual equality is a standard expectation. Women are constantly discussed in a variety of media, including tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, and also 'teen magazines,' such as 'Mizz,' and 'J17,' aimed at girls from the age of 11 and onwards. Iconic women are often discussed in a variety of media, with examples ranging from Princess Diana to Madonna, although the way in which these figures are represented differs dramatically.

Middle

model * A-list actresses * Latino star Jennifer Lopez * Bafta winner Nicole Kidman * Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles * Author of Prozac Nation * Snooker ace (male) * Full Monty star (male) * Film director husband Guy Ritchie (male) * Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst (male) * Nu-metal star (male) * Front man Damon Albarn (male) * Former Bros bassist Craig Logan (male) * Formula 1 star Jacques Villeneuve (male) * Former boy band idol (male) In relationship to men ? Barrymore's wife ? Brad's missus, Jennifer Aniston ? Jodie, daughter of a millionaire scaffolding contractor ? Danni, whose exes include...Craig Logan and Jacques Villeneuve * Drew Barrymore, who was with boyfriend Fabrizio Moretti Language with emotive connotations ? Wildcat Mylene Klass ? Desperate Cheryl ? Sobbing Cheryl ? Sexbomb ? Sexual tornado ? Sexual machine ? Sex slave ? Baby doll ? Jailbait ? Queen mall-rat ? Queen of sleaze ? Untouchable goddess ? Impressionable schoolgirls ? Pop princess ? Princess of Prozac ? Teenage tottie ? Classy chick ? Real rock chick ? Bad girl of rock ? Wealthy widow ? Gobby Kelly ? Teenage pregnancy statistic ? Virgin ? Whore ? Bitch ? Earth mother ? English rose ? Baywatch babe ? Wild child ? Bad boys (male) ? Former choirboy Noel (male) English Language Coursework Investigation Analysis Marked terms Analysing the data I collected for this investigation, it can be seen that marked terms are frequently used in newspapers, with various inferences and purposes. For example, when referring to women, the suffixes 'ess,' and 'ette,' are usually used, such as in 'actress,' or 'usherette.'

Conclusion

From close examination of my data, the only similar example of this feature applied to a man was the News of the World's reference to "former choirboy Noel," with the term "choirboy" having connotations of innocence and vulnerability, in order to provoke audience empathy towards him, especially when this description in the context of the articles, which explains an argument between the group. Emotive language is extensively applied to women for a variety of purposes, throughout the media, and its use significantly influences the representation of women. Description of women in terms of appearance A popular language feature, which is often applied to the representation of women, is description in terms of appearance. This is the most common feature found in my data, and is used widely throughout a variety of media. Men, however, are usually described in terms of achievement, and/or career, such as "Full Monty star," in The Mirror, and "snooker ace," in the Sunday People. This non-parallel treatment was investigated by Miller and Swift in 1981, and despite changing attitudes towards gender roles; its use is still prevalent today. Examples of descriptions in terms of appearance that can be found in my data include The Mirror's reference to Sarah Parish, who "looks in fantastic shape, dressed in tight, black trousers and a tailored white shirt which show off her svelte figure." While the article is ostensibly about Sarah's break-up with Hugo Speer, as well as her acting career, a large proportion of it is unnecessary physical description, and this shows that, in the media, women are still objectified and defined in terms of appearance. The inference of this is that women are less dynamic and career-orientated than men, and that they have a more decorative role in society.

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