Sociology Essay Example: Language and Gender

Date:  2021-03-23 17:11:11
4 pages  (881 words)
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Stereotyping is a significant social concept especially due to its far-reaching effects among people. Stereotypes basically attempt to attach certain qualities to a particular group of people in a rather subtle way. Stereotypes are usually derogative, although some of them may positively depict the image of certain people. Racial groups have particularly been extensively stereotyped in history. Males are generally believed to possess some attributes that are contrary to what females possess. It is generally believed that women are savvier with matters to do with fashion and shopping, while men are good in sports, politics and technology. However, these generalizations are false from statistics. A newspaper comic named Cathy that was published on November 27, 2010 shows a conversation between a man, his wife and his daughter. In this conversation, the two women explain their experience at the shopping mall by using football illustration for the man to understand. The author indirectly lets the reader know that the women's explanation is awkward, since they do not comprehend sports. This comic, although it presents an uncommon perspective on stereotyping, explicitly says that men do not understand shopping, and implicitly that women do not understand sports.

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The focus of this comic is on gender and language. Language can be used in different ways to insinuate various things concerning men and women. In this comic, language has been used by both parties (men and women) to bring out the relative understanding of two different social issues by both genders. The two women in the comic strip believe that by using football, the man could understand their experience at the shopping mall. However, it turns out that women do not understand the football language and hence cannot explain their experience at the mall to the man. The man is confused by the illustration given by the two women and displays this confusion by uttering what twice. The women take the man's response as lack of understanding of the illustration, although the man is frustrated by how poor the women explain the football sport. Therefore, language in this comic has been effectively used to show the stereotypes that exist among men and women.

Gender and language falls under the reader/culture/text topic. This is because the comic can be interpreted differently depending on the gender of the reader. The sub topic under this topic that is represented by the comic is generalizations. The female gender is shown to generalize that men cannot understand shopping unless its explained in a sports-oriented language. The women conclude that even when its explained in this language, shopping is absolutely incomprehensible by men. A neutral reader will conclude that men cannot understand shopping at whatever cost, while women do not have sufficient information on football. A male reader gets to know that the man did not understand how the woman faired on in the shopping because the language used by the women could not be interpreted by the man. A female reader will on the other side be convinced that the man failed to understand the shopping experience because its their nature not to. Both cases are however generalizations. It is generalized that all women do not know much about football, while all men do not know much about shopping. It is also generalized that all women know about shopping while all men know much about football. These generalizations are false, since statistics show that both genders understand football and shopping, although with varying degrees. Therefore, a section of women readers who understand football will tell that their fellow women explained to the man about their shopping experience in an awkward language, while women readers who do not understand shopping will as well fail to understand it when explained in this manner.

Two examples of stereotypes emerge from the comic strip. The daughter makes a reference to football in order to make her father understand shopping. The father still doesn't understand and doesn't get it. The daughter then complains that even when women speak in men's language the latter still don't understand. Thematically speaking, it's evident that the comic conveys the stereotype that women don't understand sports. Additionally, the women are trying to relate to the male gender by using a reference to football. This is an example of a stereotype because not all men like or understand football. They are generalizing the male sex by thinking just because of their male gender they should be able to understand football and sport-related topics. The target audience of this comic is newspaper readers. The purpose of the comic is to create humor. The comic uses a humorous, satirical and witty tone.

There are stereotypes about both men and women. According to a satirical comic named Cathy, women understand shopping but they do not understand football. At the same time, men do not understand shopping but understand football. This comic whose audience is all newspaper readers focuses substantially on gender and language. The language used by women in explaining certain issues cannot be interpreted by men in comprehending those issues due to the innate differences that exist between the two genders. The author conveys these stereotypes in a witty way, although is upon the reader to have discretion on what to take, since with all stereotypes, the generalizations in this comic are false.

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