Feminist Linguistic Research on the Question of Male/Female Deference in their Linguistic Behaviour (Review of the Book Edited by Mary Eagleton: A Concise Companion to Feminist Theory)
Keywords:gender, language, femininity, stereotypes
In this paper, I examine the complex relationship between gender and language, so that the common-sense nature of each of the terms and their relation to each other are troubled. I also analyse the way in which stereotypes of femininity play a major role in informing our beliefs about women, men and language and I suggest how we can consider the relationship between language, gender and other variables more productively. My first task, though, is to provide some detail about what this is taken to entail. There are, of course, important differences among feminists who have written on this topic, and in the course of the discussion I will highlight some of these. I certainly do not want to suggest that what I am assessing is a single position, nor am I claiming to represent the basis on which most feminists actually do research. My main concern here is solely with feminist writing about the question of male dominance and female reference in conversation.
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