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KYUWON MOON TYLER SCHNOEBELEN Language and Gender: Week 7.

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Presentation on theme: "KYUWON MOON TYLER SCHNOEBELEN Language and Gender: Week 7."— Presentation transcript:

1 KYUWON MOON TYLER SCHNOEBELEN Language and Gender: Week 7

2 Today’s plan Hijra’s language Chatper 7  Categories and labels  Patrolling boundaries  Default categories & markedness Class stuff

3 Hijra’s sexual insults Hall (1997), “Go suck your husband’s sugarcane!” On Hijra’s curses and sexual insults  “Hijras aren’t counted as women, after all. Hijras are just hijras, and women are just women. If there’s a woman, she will at least have a little shame…… But hijras are just hijras. They have no shame. They’ll say whatever they have to say.” (Non- hijra, 1993)  “We’ll give curses like women. We don’t give manly curses.” (hijra, 1993)

4 Respect and solidarity Hijra’s curse  “You worthless fool, good-for-nothing, son-of-a-bastard, may your wife be eaten by a dog, may you be dark-faced, may god shower calamities on you, you widower!” Why curse?  To others: to reclaim respect  Between themselves: to achieve solidarity

5 Categorizing These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. In its distant pages it is written that animals are divided into

6 Types of animals  (a) those that belong to the emperor;  (b) embalmed ones;  (c) those that are trained;  (d) suckling pigs;  (e) mermaids;  (f) fabulous ones;  (g) stray dogs;  (h) those that are included in this classification;  (i) those that tremble as if they were mad;  (j) innumerable ones;  (k) those drawn with a very fine camel's-hair brush;  (l) etcetera;  (m) those that have just broken the flower vase;  (n) those that at a distance resemble flies.

7 What is this?

8 And this?

9 …And this?

10 Categories are social constructs … and labels, too!

11 Patrolling boundaries Who you asks matters  Eggplant to a botanist vs. a cook But some folks have more authority than others And there are lots of forces enforcing the sanctity of social categories

12 I’m not a feminist, but… Risks of saying “I’m a feminist”  Feminism: disparaged category What will come after “but”? Feminism (Wikipedia)  “Feminism is the idea that women should have political, social, sexual, intellectual, and economic rights equal to those of men.”

13 People on the Border Categories under categories Marginalized categories  Centrality: Some members are better examples than others (birth mothers vs. adoptive mothers vs. working mothers?)  Feminism only for middle-class white women?  Being African American gay man (Barret 1999)

14 But, who isn’t? Who is not on the border? I’m on the border because I am… - Asian - Grad student - Non-native speaker of English - Female - Married - And many more

15 A rose by any other name… …would smell as sweet? Euphemism treadmill (Pinker)  Words originally intended as euphemisms may lose their euphemistic value, acquiring the negative connotations of their referents  negro → colored → black → African-American  idiot/moron (originally neutral!) → retarded → mentally challenged/special

16 Gender neutralization Examples:  Stewardess → Flight attendant  He → They  Policeman → Police officer  Chairman → Chairperson  Le professeur → La proffeseure But there are no linguistic quick fixes  Change isn’t always smooth  You can’t control words once you put them out in the world (e.g., politically correct)

17 Then, why should we bother? Gastil (1990)’s results  Males still produce more male images even with “they” pronoun But…  “Changing schemes for categorization and changing labels are part of changing social practice” (E&M-G 2003: 265).

18 If we still have time…

19 Gendered metaphor Vowels are feminine, consonants are masculine: sound symbolism  Just random?  Vowels: [+sonorant], consonants: [-sonorant] (with exception of [m,n,l,ng])  Sonorant sounds are soft, deep, and resonant: traits that are considered to be “feminine” “Father gives birth to a baby and mother raises the baby.”  What I learned from elementary school

20 Habitus?

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