Here on Earth, saying that “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” can be a very stereotypical statement. But, the idea that we are from different planets could help communicate the contrast of our sexes. Instead of flying around in circles… what are the myths and realities of gendered language?
“Gender is not something we are born with, and not something we have, but something we do.” – Language and Gender theorists, Zimmerman and West 1987
“When you get a little older, you’ll see how easy it is to become lured by the female of the species.”
Now. A mate of mine told me that a mate of his came up with all these “linguistic” theories, or what you could call… crap; about how men’s “language” is completely different from women. Firstly the chick’s called Robin, Robin Lakoff. Who does she think she is? Batman’s Bitch? Clearly I didn’t watch the episode when Robin got a sex change and became the law of language, “Holy atomic pile, Batman! The opposite of a girl is a boy!” But seriously, when you think about the subject, all that’s different is that she’s got knockers but no knee knocker in her knickers.
According to ‘Miss’ Robin, men ‘talk shop’ whilst women gossip. To ‘Talk Shop’, means to talk about work matters, especially if outside of work. Does that count saying ‘I’m going to work, see you tonight’? ‘Cos I say that every day, and so does the wife, but apart from that I can’t remember the last time I spoke about work.
Put it this way, I’ve never had the opportunity to experience shopping in a speech store, probably because they don’t actually exist, like this so called “theory”. Although it’d probably be one store that I’d spend ten hours in, followed by the sports shop and the hardware store, because that’s what men do… we don’t, we do like to shop, we just don’t want to say ‘you look lovely dear’, at every single sodding item you try on. You evidently enjoy making it incredibly hard for us to have an honest relationship. Here’s a tip, with that attitude, even if you are wearing this season’s Lycra, in the bedroom, honesty is the only thing you’ll be making hard.
According to our friend Robin, women are lacking a sense of humour, which to be fair, is something I agree with, I mean why did Robin Lakoff cross the road? To find out how her language compared to the man on the other side? Nah, she probably just saw the bat-mobile stopped and wanted to make some money. But seriously, out of all this crap she’s been spreading about how women have higher prestige, use weaker expletives and are more polite than men. The fact that women don’t understand jokes is understandable. I mean her theory is a joke and she herself doesn’t even get it.
Holy atomic pile, Batman! The opposite of a girl is a boy!!
Yesterday I pulled into Maccy D’s, at one of those electronic intercom Drive-Thrus, I said to the low-life on the other end that I wanted a Big ‘n’ Tasty, I said to him ‘do it with two bits of meat instead of one, triple the amount of tomato sauce that you put in, and half the relish, make sure that the onions are in abundance, raw, full circle, red, and strong, I’m in the mood for something zingy, I would go to KFC but I can’t be arsed, can you put a dollop of warm cheese, and 3 tomatoes instead of 2. Could you then add some crisp rashers of bacon, and can you put it all in a bun without the sesame seeds, they always get stuck in my throat, shove a large coke in there, make it extra large… and yes… I would like fries with that’. Once I got to the window the guy was staring at me like I was wearing knickers over my trousers! Come on, as if I’d do that, if I decided to do such a thing I’d be wearing a pair inside and over the top, talk about being bigger than Big Ben and all that.
Anyway, the guy said that from the way I’d been carrying on you’d think I was a woman! I considered questioning his authority to interrogate my sexuality, but he got all flustered, and gay basically, and told me about a book he’d read by an American professor, Deborah Tannen, she’d wrote the book, ‘You Just Don’t Understand’, about how women speak too much, and about how us men get more ‘air time’. Ok so according to the
linguistic theorist, now I ‘talk shop’ and I jump around aimlessly to see if I will fly or not? I think that all we’ve proved here is that I am not as big a superhero fan as I first thought. And, yes, I do like to talk just as much as my wife, that’s how we manage to have a relationship.
By the looks of things Robin has a bit of competition on the ‘I am a linguistic theorist, and I speak shit’ team; from the one and only Miss, ‘I am Nature’s arm, Her spirit, Her will’, Deborah Tannen. My advice for you “Debs” is to drop the red cape and stick your Tannen up a cannon and try flying yourself, because unfortunately you are wrong. Bin your book because ‘You Just Don’t Understand’, maybe you should consider a different career route, how about becoming a McDebDeli, or A Stand ‘n’ Tannen, cos’ I’m afraid language is clearly not your area of accuracy.
These claimed to be linguistic theorists, are both fairly attractive women, so why are all the gorgeous ones like homicidal maniacs? I blame it on the anatomically correct rubber suit that puts fire in a girl’s lips, making these women spurt nothing but slander.
Honestly, I am a woman, but it was easy for me to gain your trust, so that you thought I was a man. I do believe that the majority of theories in place have been elaborated upon excessively. Although women and men have different approaches to the way they speak, this is not true for all of the species. We are not all that different, as a woman, I gossip, I exaggerate and I feel I am more polite than some men, but there are men that I know well, who speak in a very similar format to me. I believe that some men tend to use less standard forms of English, and can be quite domineering in conversation, some even swear more than women, but you could travel to somewhere like Newcastle, and have a woman using vulgar language just across the street. A woman could walk into a nightclub, hook up with some guy, smile at him all night, over the music, he’d say, ‘what colour’s your underwear?’ she could be a lady, sit three metres away, sip her tea and say ‘they’re deep red’ or she could attempt a wink in a seductive manner, touch his leg a little, say ‘you’re a dick head’ and then throw up in his lap. Either way they’re going to end up having a quickie in some alley, or shacking up at 3am for a ‘coffee’- at the end of the day, any women could be either a ladette or a lady in one night, and any man could be a gentlemen or a ‘geezer’. But in conclusion, both men and women swear, they both shout and they both can be as unfair as each other. Men do tend to jump from topic to topic, but there are days when I do just the same, it is all very dependent on the kind of person you are.
Linguistic theories are not ‘laws’ they are not ‘The Bible’ to the way we speak, they are merely examples of selected contrasts. By using language as a label, classification is taken to the extreme, yes I am a woman and yes you may be a man, but apart from the obvious, we may be similar people. We aren’t from different planets, at the end of the day, we are both only human, so why let these ‘language wars’ cause so much disruption?
There are no myths and realities of gendered language, because gendered language itself is only partly true. Just because I am a woman, it does not mean I am going to skip around saying ‘Oh golly, it’s cold in here isn’t it?’ just to get the heating turned on by someone else. Robin Lakoff may believe we women do, but just because I am a female it does not mean I follow a specific way of speaking, and that is the same for men.
Robin Lakoff, layoff.
Quit trying to brainwash everybody with your hopeless opinions, because I’m afraid you’ve run out of your cheap superpowers this time. It’s ‘Chicks like you who give women a bad name’ and if it weren’t too late, I’d be telling you to stop clucking around before somebody realises.
However, it is too late, and I think you’ll find that you’ve tripped on one of your own tricks this time! I hate to disappoint you, but my rubber lips are immune to your charms, you just can’t get away from people like me that easily.