Posts Tagged ‘ stereotype ’

Quick post: female character flow chart


Found the below image here, via Twitter and then had to sniff out the whole article by mlawski – not through any force you understand, I just had to know what textual accompaniment it might have.

 

And?

It makes a hell of a lot of good points. Feminism or, as I prefer, equalicism (yeah I made that up, but you catch my drift, right?) evidently has a long way to go! Thanks kindly to mlawski for the insights into modern fiction.

Note: ‘fridge-stuffing’, as seen in the top right of the infographic is best explained here and a whole gamut of mlawski’s Overthinking It articles can be found  here.

Consequences of success and failure in Caryl Churhcill’s Top Girls


Thompson Burk (1996) argues that the women in Top Girls “face a world in which the consequences of success are almost as frightening as those of failure”. Evaluate.

Set in part against the backdrop of Britain’s launch into individualistic enterprise culture and in part against the span of history, Top Girls is described by Churchill as a feminist socialist play (Lupu, 2003) and succinctly portrays the impasse that women have faced throughout the centuries. Churchill, in Brechtian style (Rabascall, 2000), avoids providing easy answers and actively prevents audience/reader identification with the characters, forcing us to analyse what is being presented. In evaluating Juli Thompson Burk’s (1993) claim, this essay will offer context to the play with reference to the norms of patriarchal societies, it will go on to assess what constitutes success or failure for the women in question and the consequences therein and will subsequently conclude in the affirmative.

Want to read the rest of the essay? Go here :):-

Gender role critique in ‘Neuromancer’ [short version]


Set in a future that is arguably dystopian and not too far fetched, the representations of power, race and gender within William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) can be seen as a reflection on and critique of the state of those that were current at the time of writing. As LeBlanc (1997:2) points out, ‘cyberpunk, as a genre, it is not only about the near future— it is about our own time.’

Donna Haraway, whose Cyborg Manifesto (1991:2) posited that the ‘cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world’, also claimed that Neuromancer offers a radical critique of current gender roles. In arguing where Gibson is implicitly criticising, accepting or ambivalent in this respect, this essay will examine his representation of men and women and search for underlying bias in the characters’ descriptions and fates and their adherence or subversion of the gender roles assigned them.

Case is a traditional —if unwholesome— [anti-]hero that Gibson wants us to like. Someone who has paid harshly for a mistake, Case’s killing of three people in Chiba is glossed over as part of his downward spiral and not dwelt on. It is in relation to Molly, however, that differences emerge. In a reversal of traditional roles, Case is the passive, non-violent, controlled one, though he has to ‘will himself to passivity’ (p.72) to receive Molly’s simstim sensorium. Despite the contention that Molly is just a vehicle for him (Stockton, 1995), Gibson portrays the power and control as belonging to her.

The few named female characters include Molly, Linda Lee, 3Jane, Marlene, Michèle and (Flanagan, 2000) the Matrix itself. Women are depicted as sexual objects, from the ‘free’ Linda Lee and Molly to the ‘forced’ wives of the sarariman, who are required to wear sackcloth and sport artificial bruises (p.154) and the meat puppets who endure sexual (ab)use, though technology can cancel-out their conscious awareness of it.  Molly’s recollections of her ordeals are possibly a reminder that no matter how they try to fix it, actions such as these always leave a mark somewhere.

Conversely, the reader is meant to like Molly. She is portrayed as good, strong and independent. She is not a sexual trophy for Case, she is his bodyguard. This is a major contravention of the protection and safety role that men traditionally occupied in relation to women. Molly is the one who initiates the first sexual encounter with Case and in another transgression of generally accepted gender roles, it is Molly who leaves Case at the end of the novel.

She would not have the ability to truly break away from the female stereotype, however, without her body’s enhancements. To become a street samurai, a ‘working girl’ (p.41) she first had to be another kind of working girl, a meat puppet, in order to be able to afford the expensive surgery (Cavallaro, 2000). Molly sacrifices and utilizes her body in order to attain the power and status generally afforded only to men. This kind of trade-off had been the norm for decades at the time Gibson was writing.

All of these factors seem to suggest that Molly is a strong new type of woman, however she can be perceived as a cautionary tale, i.e. be like her and become isolated. Therefore, although Gibson seems to be criticising women’s various sexual or abused roles and celebrating their liberation from them, he nonetheless includes a corollary.

Overall, Gibson seems to criticise current roles such as the militaristic macho man and the sexually abused woman and encourages subversion in liked characters, i.e. Molly and Case. However, subversive but unliked characters are punished and as Kamioka notes, even though Gibson ‘hates’ the status quo, ‘his balancing act accepts [it] … as inevitable and unchangeable.’ (Suvin 1991 in Kamioka, 1998:65).

© 2009 Geo S. Willis

Full version and references

Animation: [heteronormative] gender stereotypes?


Found this while looking for revision material. Yes on YouTube. What’s wrong with that? Anyway, it amused me because as much as I’d like to disagree with the simply animated and aptly orchestrated message, it wouldn’t be funny if it wasn’t largely true*

That said, it may be more true for hetero[sexual]s than gays.

Then again, there are a hell of a lot of stealth lesbians and gays out there, some –but not all– of which may indeed merely have their gender roles reversed from heteronormative folk.

Is the issue clear?

As mud. Always has been, always will be.

Diversity rocks :):-

Does accent matter? [short version]


Martha’s Vineyard

The question [does accent matter?] can be taken in a number of different ways:

  • Who does it matter to; the listener or the speaker?
  • Does it have an impact on the intelligibility of the message?
  • Does it have an impact on the perceived credence or status of the speaker?

This essay, citing an international study from New Zealand and inter-regional studies from America and Italy, will conclude that across the world, accent —or the sociolinguistic cues imbued in them—does matter.

First then, does accent matter to the listener only or also to the speaker? Labov [1963] and more recently Cavanaugh [2003] have clearly demonstrated that it matters a great deal to both.

Cavanaugh’s study enlarging on Goffman [1974], conceived of accents ‘as the phonological representations of sociogeographical characterological figures’ [p.127] According to Cavanaugh, for all Italians, accent is very important because they perceive it as representing not only geography, socio-economic status and education, but also such things as friendliness, trustworthiness and authoritativeness [Galli de’ Paratesi, 1997, 1985, cited in Cavanaugh, p.133].

Vornik, Sharman and Garry did an experiment in New Zealand to see if the accent of people supplying post event information [PEI] would have an impact on the misinformation effect. The results showed that while accent does not per se affect the misinformation effect, it operates as ‘a vehicle for information about the power and social attractiveness of the speaker’ and this information was strong enough to influence the misinformation effect. [Vornik, Sharman and Garry, 2003, p.106].

In conclusion, does accent matter?  It has been shown on numerous occasions in the local, national and international arenas that it has a bearing on how we perceive not only others around us but also how we perceive ourselves. It is and can be used as a reflection and a projection of who we are, where we come from and of our social status —and what, should we be linguistically adept to do so, we want others to think about us— and can even infer details about our geographical landscapes as well as our sociogeographical, socio-economic cultures. We can use accents to influence the way others see and remember events and the confidence with which they make judgments when supported by the social attractiveness, power and authoritativeness of certain accents.

In short, yes, accent does matter.

The full version of this essay can be found here.

EDIT May 6th 2013: For examples of how accent if used in the media to convey different characteristics, backgrounds and classes, see the following article on Game of Thrones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: