Gender Stereotypes In Language And Gender

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One of the reasons gender norms are thoroughly ingrained in society because they are often imposed upon people from a young age. For example, according to Ekert and McConnell-Ginet, authors of Language and Gender, parents use more inner state words when talking to their young daughters than they do when talking to their young sons. When parents use these specific types of “emotion” words on their daughters, they are enforcing the societal gender stereotype that girls are more emotional than boys are, which further embeds the stereotype in society. Interestingly, while gendered parenting has been the parenting norm for decades, this may not the case anymore. A recent trend towards gender neutral parenting (GNP) has begun to affect many aspects …show more content…
Emotional language refers to inner-state words and phrases which encourage the child to discuss her emotions. Interestingly, mothers tended to use more emotional language than fathers when talking to their children, which suggests that mothers are subconsciously enforcing gender norms in their daughters from a young age. According to the article, “[children] are taught that emotions are more acceptable for women than for men” (Dell). The semantics of the conversation of parents, especially mothers, talking to their daughters falls within societal gender stereotypes because gender stereotypes dictate that women react emotionally for everything, while men do not show much emotion besides aggression and anger. ‘“Most parents say they want boys to be more expressive, but don’t know [they] are speaking differently to them”’ (Dell). However, the recent interest in GNP suggests that parents may be beginning to notice themselves imposing gender norms on their children. Based on the evidence from this article, I imagine that a study done on gender-neutral parents would show evidence of parents using emotional language with their sons as well as their daughters. In fact, “gender neutrality… [is] about helping boys to express their emotions, and understand their feelings” (Peck 2014), which suggests that parents adopting GNP would try to …show more content…
According to the article, when reminiscing about past times, fathers and sons engage in a low-elaborative conversation style, yet fathers and daughters engage in a high-elaborative conversation style. While in a low-elaborative conversation style the father is probing the child for a specific piece of information while discouraging elaboration, in a high-elaborative conversation style the father allows the child to elaborate on the events she is describing and the father asks follow-up questions based on the elaborations of his child. Because boys are discouraged to give elaborative responses by their fathers, it makes sense that overall, girls tend to adopt a more elaborative conversational style than boys do. Girls also remember more information when asked to recall events due to their more elaborate responses. The findings of this study fit in with societal gender norms because while men are known to be quiet and contemplative, women are known for chatting and gossiping. The phrase “a man of few words” is very popular; however, the phrase “a woman of few words” is nonexistent, suggesting society’s expectation that women use more elaborative conversation styles. In terms of how a gender-neutral style parent would reminisce with their child, based on the results of this study, I would predict that gender neutral parents are likely to encourage

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