This week I took notes from the books I borrowed from the College Library which are below. I will make notes from ‘Accent, Dialect and The School’ by Peter Trudgill 1975 this week, but don’t think this book will be as helpful as it is quite outdated now. The information may not apply to modern society.
Notes from ‘The Language of Advertising’ by Angela Goddard 1998 and ‘Routledge A level English Guide’ by Amanda Coultas 2003
The language of advertising
Advertisers often exploit how language is used as a way to connect with particular social groups. This may mean texts have a female orientation or male orientation.
Linguistics have gathered a large body of research on the social variation of language: that is, how factors such as age, gender, social class, ethnicity and region might affect language use.
Providing language in a advert that targets a particular group is ultimately stereotyping.
Social scientists would describe the process of stereotyping as one of the strategies human beings have for filtering all the information that is around us. We process date by singling out some of then details that we consider salient, or noteworthy, and using these to form categories that will help us fit our experiences into patterns that we can understand. Children are influenced by society as they are trying to form their own categories that we take for granted to our adult lives. Categories have an negative effect though too as it can lead us to closing our minds to the subtle complexities that really exist. It does not allow individual variation. Using we have assumptions relating to more powerful groups so can lead us to ignore data that doesn’t fit into our preconceived structures.
Paralanguage- the non-lexical component of communication by speech, for example intonation, pitch and speed of speaking, hesitation noises, gesture, and facial expression. Producers assume viewers bring their own knowledge.
A level English Guide
Gender representations show social ideologies. Sex and gender are different things. Sex means is a term which is used to refer to the biological features. Gender is used to refer to the socially expected characteristics of each sex. While we are born one sex or the other, we are socialised into gender roles from an early age. When looking at how men and women communicate, it is difficult to have valid results as gender is not the only factor governing how people use language and interact. ’Real’ talk is limited regarding prosodic and paralinguistic features. Ideas from previous research:
- Men talk more then women in mixed-gender groups
- Men interrupt women more then women interrupt men
- Women offer support within conversations and are active listeners
- Women use hedges and phrase with uncertainty
- Men seek to dominate conversations whereas women seek cooperation
- Men speak in public, women speak in private
- Women talk about feeling, men about things
- Women are concerned to develop and maintain connections and intimacy with those they are talking to.
- Men and women use language differently because they have been socialised into different gender roles (difference theory)
- Men dominate women in talk reflecting their hierarchy in society (dominance theory)
- Other researcher have pointed out how common men and women really are. Differences are often tiny.
If men use the filler ’um’ is demonstrates a dismissive and negative behaviour. Whereas if a women does it is positive back channelling as a way to support.
Group and identity is closely linked to social attitudes and values. But representation also plays a part in creating them. Often people who are supposedly represented by an image do not identify with it and this can lead to feelings of alienation and confrontation. This is particularly true in gender representation. Certainly in the media stereotypes can be inaccurate and not relevant to the way we live our lives. Fighting stereotypes is difficult as so many have been absorbed, almost imperceptibly, into the way society is organised and into much of the language that is commonly used. Adverts reflect ideology of society but also help create it.
Context is significant as it explains why certain language is used and its meaning. Negative stereotypes about men and women are known as sexist ideas and attitudes. Language can have sexist connotations or be used in a sexist way but it is not inherently sexist in itself. It depends on the context. Referring to a women over 16 as a ’girl’ isn’t sexist. But if a male manager called a colleague a ’girl’ is may be considered sexist. Perhaps not it they are good friends. Texts have to be understood within their context of production and reception.
I also created a questionnaire using survey monkey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MTVHRG6
) which will give me an idea of what other people think about gender stereotypes, providing good evidence to there existence or non-existence. This will be one of multiple surveys I do. So far I have had 14 responses. Below are the questions included in it:
- What gender are you?
- Generally, would you say gender is represented accurately in advertising?
- Do you conform to a certain stereotype?
- If yes, why?
- Explain how you are influenced by gender stereotypes in audio visual advertising?
- On average, how many adverts have you seen in the past week that you feel exploit gender stereotypes?
- What genre of advertising do you think is the worst for gender representation?
- What’s your ideal representation of women?
- What’s your ideal representation of men?
- Do you think gender representations in advertising have improved or worsened in the past 10 years?
Furthermore, I continued drafting my essay and completed a introduction. However, I know this will change and need to be shortened. I can keep adding information to it now I have the basic structure. Here it is below:
When people use the term gender they are essentially referring to the socially-constructed roles and learned behaviours and expectations associated with each sex, male and females. It is noted the grammatical classification of nouns corresponding more or less to distinctions of the two sexes in the nineteenth-centaury Oxford English Dictionary. Ideas like men are considered financial providers, profession focused, assertive, independent, more direct, whereas women are typically the loving wife, mothers, take care of domestic chores and have a inferior status within workplaces.
The main reason these attitudes exist is as we grow into our adolescent years, we absorb attitudes and values of our society and this may differ from which country we are brought up in and what time period. The gender division is visible from an early age in school life as the American ethnographer Barrie Thorne discovered in 1993. She spent a considerable amount of time observing children’s behaviour in primary Schools. Teachers often emphasized gender- setting up activities with girls competing against boys. When gender boundaries were activated, the loose aggregation “boys and girls” consolidates into “the boys” and “the girls”. Young boys often play “boys only games”, control more space of the playground, invade girls games and claim power. By forth grade, homophobic insults become common place.
The awareness of conventional stereotypes puts pressure of people to conform to this ideal. As one year 11 said for an issue of womankind 2011 ‘You have to show how masculine you are; you can’t show sensitivity-it is difficult to be different- you need to look and act a certain way’.
This gender imbalance can lead to problems in our community like sexual bullying meaning verbal abuse, ridiculing physical appearance and criticising sexual behaviour to those who do not demonstrate these qualities expected from each sex. For men, they are judged for being ’gay’, a ’sissy’ or not ’hard’ enough, and for women its for not being ’girly’, or acting ’smart’. Single sex schools may be the answer to tackle sexual bullying and other growing problems. An article from the re:locate magazine published in 2011 investigates the Ofsted reports which reveal girls at single-sex schools avoid preparing for stereotypically female careers that their contemporaries in co-educational schools. These may include beauty therapy, childcare and hairdressing which are lower paid. Dr Helen Wright, Head of St Mary’s Caine commented ‘single-sex schools are free of pressure to conform to stereotypical notions of how girls and boys should or should not be, look or act’.
The reduced confidence in girls and low aspirational ambitions contributes to a much bigger equality imbalance: the pay gap. Some types of jobs, occupations and sectors are dominated by men, and others by women. This occupational segregation is one of the main reasons why women earn 27% less than men for doing the same job. Women’s work is thought to be unskilled, inferior and undervalued, meaning men are more likely to be employed over women and will have a greater wage. There is horizontal segregation which means men and women tend to work in different sectors for instance women are nurses, cashiering, catering and cleaning, only 5.3% of women work in science, engineering and technology professions. Vertical segregation refers to the positions women and men occupy within the same sector, with women predominantly in lower-valued and lower-paid roles rather than senior or managerial levels. Despite over 40 years of equal pay legislation, Britain remains as one of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe. Some women may also be housewife’s and are left to complete household duties. The university of Oxford conducted an investigation into why current trends are showing women will only ever get equal share of domestic work until 2050. There is views that cooking, cleaning and caring is ‘feminine’ while ‘masculine’ roles include DIY, car care and outside labour. The journal sociology states, ‘substantial and persistent obstacles’ remain.
The government is trying to combat this problem and passed the equality act 2010 which brings together a number of laws into one place for easier use. This strives to make a fairer Britain and protect against unlawful behaviour which includes discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Responsibility under the act lies with government departments, service providers, employers, education, providers of public function, transport providers and association and membership bodies.
Gender is a key issue in our lives. It affects every individual, not just women who appear to have a more passive role in society, but also men who are equally limited by gender stereotypes. For some regions in the world, gender inequality is a lot bigger problem, with the economic activity rate for women’s low as one fifth the rate for men in Arab states, and South Asia and Latin America about half the rate for men. The gender gap rankings show Pakistan, Syria and Mali to be some of the worst according to 2014 studies. People worldwide are subject to sexual abuse and many campaigns and charity’s are set up to help fight this issue like UK Feminista who claim up to 3 million women and girls across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, stalking, or other violence each year.
The subject of Gender is fascinating since it is a hot topic for sociologists, historians and language researchers. Some are sceptic and claim gender is a thing of the past and others have conjured a diverse range of theories to explain the existence of the vast gender division. This project examines the existence of these stereotypes within the media, clarifying the conflicting ideas and issues; considers there implications; briefly explores how things how changed over time and evaluates some of the proposed solutions.