Latest Issue: Vol 8, No 2 (2014): Gender, language and the media RSS2 logo

Gender and Language

Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard
University of Birmingham, United Kingdom and Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil

Tommaso M. Milani
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Cecilia Chiacchio
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Gender & Language/Reviews
Departamento de Lenguas y Literaturas Modernas (A118)
Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación
Universidad Nacional de La Plata
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Open Access Virtual Issue Now Available!

We are very pleased to announce that our first FREE TO DOWNLOAD Virtual Special Issue, “Corpus Approaches to Gender and Language”(V1, 2013), edited by Paul Baker, is now available to access here.

About the Journal

There are many journals focused on gender and many devoted to language. Most of these sometimes publish articles on language and gender. There is, however, currently no single scholarly journal to which those interested in gender and language can turn as contributors looking for an audience sharing their focus or as readers seeking a reliable source for on-going discussions in the field. Gender and Language fills the gap by offering an international forum for research on and debates about feminist research on gender and language.Gender and Language showcases research on femininities and masculinities, on heterosexual and queer identities, on gender at the level of individual performance or perception and on gender at the level of institutions and ideologies.

As a point of departure, Gender and Language defines gender along two key dimensions. First, gender is a key element of social relationships often loosely linked to perceived differences between the sexes. Gender relations are encoded in linguistic and symbolic representations, normative concepts, social practices, institutions and social identities. Second, gender is a primary arena for articulating power, intersecting in complex ways with other axes of inequality, like class, race, and sexuality. Gender is understood as multi-faceted, always changing, and often contested: the editors welcome discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of competing definitions of gender and of new analytical perspectives.

The journal encourages discussion and debate about the implications of different definitions of gender and different approaches to analyzing the production and interpretation of texts and speech. It welcomes research employing a range of linguistic approaches (e.g. conversation analysis, discourse and text analysis, ethnography of communication, pragmatics, variationist sociolinguistics, interactional sociolinguistics, stylistics) and from a variety of disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, women and gender studies, education, philosophy, psychology, folklore, sociology, communication studies, queer studies, literary and cultural studies, as it aims to foster interdisciplinary discussion and dialogue among these disciplines.

Gender & Language is published in association with the International Gender & Language Association (IGALA).Learn more about the Association by going to IGALA. You can join IGALA as a regular member from the Equinox website by going to the subscription pages and chosing IGALA membership. Regular Membership includes a subscription to the journal.

Membership and Journal Subscription

IGALA membership runs on a calendar year but, at whatever point you join, you will be sent any back issues that have already been published that year. Your subscription will complete with the publication of issue 2 of that year's volume, regardless of when you join.

Membership and Presentation at IGALA 8 (Vancouver).

In order to present a paper (including posters, panels, etc.) at the IGALA biannual conference, you must have a current IGALA membership (after having submitted a paper and having it successfully accepted according to the guidelines of the conference organising committee).

*Please note that IGALA membership runs on a calendar year. In cases where abstract submission and presentation fall in different calendar years, you will need to be a paid up member for the calendar year in which the presentation falls.

Abstracting & Indexing

The journal is covered by:

Social Sciences Citation Index/Social Scisearch
Arts & Humanities Citation Index
Journal Citation Reports/Social Sciences Edition
Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences
Current Contents/Arts & Humanities
Scopus Abstract and Citation Database
Linguistics Abstracts
Educational Research Abstracts Online
MLA Bibliography
Bibliography of Linguistic Literature
SocIndex with FullTEXT
Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts
Feminist Periodicals: A Current Listing of Contents
Equinox Publishing is an official WorldCat Partner. Our content is centrally indexed in OCLC’s WorldCat Local discovery service.

Publication Frequency: three issues a year from 2013
ISSN: 1747-6321 (print)
ISSN: 1747-633X (online)

Most Viewed Articles


Do bodies matter? Travestis' embodiment of (trans)gender identity through the manipulation of the Brazilian Portuguese grammatical gender system

This study investigates Southern Brazilian travestis’ manipulation of gender identity through the manipulation of the Portuguese grammatical gender system. We argue that
the embodiment of feminine features onto biologically male bodies enables travestis to wander through various ideologies about masculinity and femininity and incorporate these ideologies in their linguistic construction of identity. Travestis use masculine forms to refer to themselves or other travestis when: (1) producing narratives about the time before their body transformations took place; (2) reporting speech produced by others when talking about travestis; (3) talking about themselves within their family relationships; and, perhaps the most unveiling category, (4) distinguishing
themselves from ‘other’ travestis they do not identify with – a face-saving strategy. Thus, the study shows how southern Brazilian travestis use the grammatical gender
system in Portuguese as a linguistic resource to manipulate their identity/ies and the identity/ies of the community they belong to.
Posted: 2007-01-18More...

Zuiqian 'deficient mouth': Discourse, gender and domestic violence

This article examines the relationship between language, gender and domestic violence.
Contextualizing the study of domestic violence in China, this article focuses
its analysis on a metapragmatic discourse on domestic violence – zuiqian ‘deficient
mouth’ in a working-class community in Beijing. It argues that the discourse of zuiqian,
by blaming women’s mouths and their ‘deviant’ speaking styles, individualizes
the serious social problem of domestic violence and downplays the structural force
that causes male violence. By fragmenting women and regulating their mouths, the
discourse of zuiqian serves as an anatomic mode of power (anatomo-politics) for the
state to discipline women and safeguard society. Also, this discourse constitutes a repudiating site (i.e. a site at which subjects are condemned or criticized in order for them to emerge) to construct the kind of subject identified with China’s neoliberal agenda. This study shows that both language and gender can be engaged as either anatomic modes of power or repudiating sites for subjectivity formation in the broader political and economic transformations of the process of globalization. In the context of neoliberalism, the private, the individual and the body have become the bases for
political legitimacy.
Posted: 2007-01-18More...

Can the term "genderlect" be saved? A postmodernist re-definition.

This article is an attempt to reclaim the term "genderlect" as a valuable sociolinguistic concept. It shows that "genderlect" in its traditional sense as a variety according to speaker sex is just as much a myth as are early sociolinguistic theorisations of "women's/men's language". From a postmodernist perspective, genderlects must be seen as stereotypical resources for gendered stylisation practices that are not to be equalled with how women and men actually speak. This is illustrated by using material from a comprehensive study on linguistic gender stylisation in advertising discourse. Moreover, it is suggested that the strictly binary genderlect concept is abandoned and replaced by another one that sees genderlects as heavily context-dependent, community-based and therefore infinite in number. A postmodernist genderlect concept should be able to deal with hegemonic as well as subversive gender styles and at the same time acknowledge that what is generally judged to be hegemonic in one context might be subversive in another (or vice versa).
Posted: 2007-07-14More...

Putting communities of practice in their place

The study of language, gender, and sexuality has enthusiastically embraced the concept community of practice. Now the field needs to take the concept further in two directions: (1) The comparative direction examines different but similar kinds of communities of practice to explore generalizations about how practice contributes
to the linguistic construction of gender and sexuality; (2) The relational direction locates communities of practice in relation to a world beyond – to other communities of practice, to social networks, to institutions (e.g. schools, churches, prisons), and to more global imagined communities (e.g. nations, women). For each direction, we mention
exemplary studies, emphasizing that the construct community of practice does not offer new analytic units or replace other concepts, but provides fresh perspectives
on familiar social units and enriches analyses drawing on other analytic concepts. Only an interdisciplinary research community where researchers connect their work
can put communities of practice in their proper place.
Posted: 2007-01-18More...

Contradictions in Gendered Discourses: Feminist Readings of Sexist Jokes?

In this largely theoretical paper, I look at contradictions as these may be experienced by feminist readers of sexist jokes, and at ways active readers may deal with these. Drawing on the notions of interpellation (e.g. Althusser, 1998) and focalisation (Genette, 1972; Montgomery, 2000), I start with ways of reading the text in question – a set of sexist jokes. Then, drawing on the rather diverse theoretical notions of reader response(s), discourse(s), irony, double voicing and post-feminism, I look at ways of articulating feminist readings of the set of jokes. I propose four ‘alternative reading positions’ for feminists; in this way, the paper also contributes, modestly, to a theory of reading. I conclude by examining the implications of the study for everyday practice and for feminism itself.
Posted: 2007-07-14More...

Recent Articles


‘Your situation is critical…’:The discursive enactment of leadership by business women in Middle Eastern and Western European contexts

Women remain in a small minority as business leaders in both Middle Eastern (ME) and Western European (WE) regions, and indeed, past research indicates that ME women face even greater challenges as leaders than their Western counterparts. This article explores sample findings from two separate case studies, the first of a ME woman leader and the second of a WE woman leader, each conducting a management meeting with their teams. Using interactional sociolinguistic analysis, we examine the ‘contextualisation cues’ that index how each woman performs leadership in their respective meetings. We found that both women utilise relational practices in order to enact leadership with their subordinates, but with varying results. Whereas the ME leader deploys a confident and commanding interactional style with her colleagues, the WE leader’s style is evasive and uncertain. On the basis of these two cases, the WE leader appears to face greater challenges in a male-dominated business world than the ME leader. Whereas the ME leader can rely on long-established ties of loyalty and organisation-as-family, the Western leader, within an apparently more open, democratic context, has to negotiate overwhelming turbulence and change within her company.
Posted: 2013-09-30More...

Are there signs of change in gendered language use in children’s early reading vocabulary?

In this study we investigate the relative frequencies of female and male terms in early reading material for children using the Children’s Printed Word Database as a resource. As roles of females and males have changed over time it is of interest to see if there has been a corresponding change in representations of females and males in children’s books. We carried out analyses regarding different words related to gender. Except for nouns referring to relatives, we found in all word groups a preponderance of male terms. The imbalance of male and female pronouns is equivalent to that reported by Carroll, Davies, and Richman (1971) in a frequency count of printed words in children’s book in the USA conducted some 40 years ago. The results are discussed in terms of gender inequality in reading materials and the development of social mores and stereotypical ideas.
Posted: 2013-08-06More...

Recontextualising ‘Big Spender’: socialising the selling of female sexuality in a middle school drama programme

The main focus of this paper is to show how the rehearsal of ‘Big Spender’ in an American middle school drama programme is embedded in larger social contexts, and thereby contributes to what the American Psychological Association identifies as the ‘sexualization of girls’ in today’s world. More specifically, I use complex and ecosystems models in order to illuminate the multilayered way in which the recontextualised use of macro-level cultural texts like ‘Big Spender’ can contribute to the sexualisation of girls in meso-level, formal education-based communities of practice as well as in micro-level, face-to-face social interactions. Data presented here were collected and analysed by combining (a) ethnographically-based language socialisation field research conducted at one middle school and (b) discourse and multimodal examinations of ‘Big Spender’-related texts. Based on this multilayered analysis I show how schools and teachers can and do contribute to the language socialisation of sexual objectification and subordination of schoolgirls.
Posted: 2013-05-24More...

From gorgeous to grumpy: adjectives, age, and gender

This paper presents a study of English adjectives used to describe men and women of different ages, and the gender- and age-based stereotypes revealed. Drawing on evidence in the 450-million-word Bank of English corpus, it examines central items such as young and old in combination with the gendered pairing man/men and woman/women, identifying sets of adjectival collocates associated with different age groups. These adjectives can be considered secondary age-markers, coding age through reference to physical and behavioural characteristics typical of different age groups and genders, and comprising a cryptotype (Whorf 1956) or covert category. This is discussed in the final part of the paper, along with deviant usage (‘young’ adjectives applied to older people, and vice versa). Since adjectives clustering with young mainly evaluate positively, those with old are mostly negative, there are implications for studies of ageism and sexism in language, and representation, age and gender more broadly.
Posted: 2013-05-10More...

The construction of ‘tough’ masculinity: Negotiation, alignment and rejection

Drawing on narrative data collected during a three-year ethnography of a Scottish high school, this article examines the construction of working-class adolescent masculinities. More specifically, the analysis focuses on how adolescent male speakers negotiate, reject and align themselves with the hegemonically dominant ideology of ‘tough’ masculinity, the role socially low-risk discourses of ‘tough’ masculinity play in interaction, and how speakers integrate a range of discursive strategies which help maintain homosociality when ‘tough’ masculinity is at stake. I argue that discourses which appear to be about ‘being tough’ do a great deal more social work than might be expected.
Posted: 2013-02-11More...


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