Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Blog Activity 4: Verbal Constructions of Gender May 25, 2009

Filed under: blog activity — daniellemstern @ 7:33 am
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Chapter 3 of our text stresses the role of language in our understandings of and values placed on gender identities and roles. Per the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, the language and labels we have available in a culture shape how we perceive and act in the world. Connecting this to gender, then, the hypothesis explains that how we talk about gender, specifically the words and concepts that even exist to discuss and frame gender (sex, sexuality, and so on), represents our culture’s view of gender.

For example, taking sexuality into account, many Native American tribes have embraced an inclusive term, Two-Spirit, to identify people of mixed gender (masculine spirit inside a female body for example). This language practice might connect to the more egalitarian, humanistic, we-are-all-part-of-one-world, viewpoint associated with much of ancient Native American societies.

On the flipside, until recently, in the English language and in American culture, the term transgender was not widely used, nor did it have a positive connotation, when referring to people of non-traditional, mixed gender identities. More frequently, and more negatively, the word hermaphrodite was used in our culture. What might this say about American society’s view of sexuality?

The point is that how we talk about gender reflects and influences how we think about gender, how we privilege certain identities, roles and attitudes. In society today, one of the best ways of assessing our culture’s gender norms may be the news media’s construction of gender. For example, read this short essay on gender and politics. The author discusses constructions of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton in the most recent presidential campaign. Use the framework I’ve set up here (via the textbook concepts, the sexuality example and the essay) to do some of your own investigating.

Select one news article (from a newspaper or magazine) with a woman as the main subject and one article with a man as the subject and examine the similarities and differences in how the subjects are addressed, written about, described and so on. How, if any, is sexist language used? What about spotlighting? If you want to go even deeper, you might select an article about a lesbian, gay man or bisexual to compare to a story about a straight person. Share your findings here, read others’ conclusions, then comment on connections, contradictions and/or other insights that come from the dialogue.


70 Responses to “Blog Activity 4: Verbal Constructions of Gender”

  1. Jessie Wright Says:

    I found two different articles on politics. One talks about how women hate Sarah Palin, and the other about the political dispute between Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff. The Palin article, “Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin,” was written by a woman, Belinda Luscombe. The other, “Alpha Males Play Politics,” was written by a man, John Ivison. The key point, the article about women was written by a woman. The article about men was written by a man.

    “Alpha Males Play Politics” sounded, to me, like it was written by a woman. It made fun of the two male’s behavior. They were both acting like children. Language socialization talks about teaching boys at a young age to be in control and have status. Their actions sounded like they were still playing. The author uses this metaphor to describe the fight, “two male fiddler crabs waving their grotesquely enlarged claws at one another.” They were bickering back and forth egging each other on. The article goes on to say how the two political figures acted like they wanted to be alpha male to attract women. Men generally use aggressive behavior, but you would think they would have matured to a civilized way to deal with the issue. The article barely gets across a point. I had to reread it to see what the actual problem was. Their fight was what made the news, not even the topic of the fight.

    “Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin” had terrible points. There could be multiple reasons why people do not like her, but these are the ones they listed:
    -“She’s too pretty”
    -“She’s too confident”
    -“She could embarrass us”
    These are the most ridiculous, unrelated to politics, comments I have ever heard. When has being too pretty or too confident become a bad thing and how do these things affect her power as a political figure? Before looking at the authors name, I thought this was sexist language from a male, but no a female said this! If women are scared they are going to be embarrassed they are crazy! Women had to start somewhere. I am sure the first woman to ever apply for a job got a big laugh in the face, which did not stop us. Whether I like Sarah Palin or not, I think it is amazing that she was the first women to run for vice-president. The end of the article shows sexist language favoring men. As a closing argument it says, “just vote in some guy. It’s worked so well for us in the past.” This reconfirms men as the norm for political power.

    The two articles were different, but stuck to norms as far as gender is related. The “Alpha Males Pay Politics” discussed many masculine characteristics, but was written from what would seem to be a female view of males. I thought a man righting about aggressive, control hungry men would agree with their behaviors. “Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin” was the same. The comments of too pretty and too confident I thought would come out of a man’s mouth, not a woman. The articles were different, but reevaluated my views on what men think of men, and what women think of women.

    “Alpha Males Play Politics”

    “Why Some Women Hate Sarah Palin”,8816,1846832,00.html

    Gamble, T. K. & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The gender communication connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

    • emily9988 Says:

      I completely agree with you. Those comments about Sarah Palin are awful! The fact that this article was written by a woman doesn’t suprise me too much, though. It’s very common for women to feel threatened by other women. The writer of this article could feel threatened by the fact that a woman ran for vice-president. Even though she too is a woman, she might dislike a female vice-president because it means normality is going to change. These are just assumptions, though, but i’m still not suprised that those words came out of a woman’s mouth.

      • Jessie Wright Says:

        That is a really good point. I looked straight past the fact that women are typically jealous and threaten. I was just assuming women would be happy that one of us is out their making a stand.

      • mattymac Says:

        Perhaps the author of the article about the males took the stance that the aggressive, competitive behavior demonstrated between Harper and Ignatieff was childish and he was an evolved man. I just skimmed it, and I caught a reference he made about how this display of behavior between the two men to attract votes is similar to how men would display their exaggerated features to attract women centuries ago (although, it could be argued that men are still doing the same today). Thus, Ivison seems to view their behavior as barbaric and primitive.

  2. Lauren Says:

    The two articles I chose were about famous public figures who were both being scrutinized for something that is happening in their personal lives. The article on the man, Chris Brown, and the woman, Lindsey Lohan, both talk about relationships affecting their lives in a harmful way, and how both had bad consequences on their role model status. Though, the article on the male, Brown, talks about violence he inflicted on others and the article on the female, Lohan, talks about her appearance and a relationship being the reason for her withering appearance. Both fit gender stereotyped roles with the man be violent and physical, and the woman having appearance issues and having relationship issues that affect her life. The writer in the article about the male addresses issues on how violence has been a big part of his life, and does not show much sympathy for him. The writer in the article about the female addresses issues about how she looks, and has a tone of sympathy for the woman.

    One article is on Chris Brown and his legal issues going on with when he reportedly beat up his girlfriend, Rihanna. In the article, the writer is focuses on how Brown had previous experience with battery when his mother was beaten by his stepfather and the article continues to talk about how Brown has taken martial arts to defend himself, but later used his skills in a fight with a classmate. This article focuses on Brown’s violent past to support why he would beat his girlfriend which I think stereotypical for a male, to focus on his physical and violent side. I also found a statement that I though was sexist and racist when the writer quoted Brown as saying to his mother after he go into that fight in school, Brown said “”Don’t go to no cops pressing no charge…like, we don’t do that in the ‘hood.” With him saying that, it just furthers the sexist stereotype that men are violent, and that it is okay for men to be violent.

    The other article talks about Lindsey Lohan and her emaciating body. The whole article just talks about how Lohan is becoming skinnier and skinner by the day, and then at the end of the article the writer blames part of Lohan’s extreme weight loss on her breakup with girlfriend, Samantha Ronson. This article is fitting the sexist, stereotype that women are defined by their appearance and relationship with others. The article goes into great detail on how Lohan’s weight loss is affecting her energy and body, and it even states how her weight loss is setting a bad example for girls that look up to her. As a lot of people know, Lohan has done a lot worse things, like; drug use and underage drinking that would be a worse example on girls. To focus just on her body just shows that society focuses too much attention on women’s appearance. Also that fact that the article blames part of the reason for her weight loss on her recent break up with her girlfriend shows a sexist view on how a woman’s relationship can affect her health, which I do not think you would see when referring to a male. To me, that is a little ridiculous claim to say a break up made her so depressed that she lost so much weight, instead of the reason being personal issues with how she felt about her own appearance or a sickness that could have caused the weight loss.

    “Rihanna Reportedly the Victim in Chris Brown Case”

    “Wasting Away: Experts Say Lindsay Lohan Has Reached a Dangerous 95 Pounds”,2933,517583,00.html

    • vrobbins Says:

      I know that this may be completely unrelated, but I am so passionate about it…I hate the fact that female celebrities impact teenage girls so tremendously. You would think that female celebrities would know this, and I believe that they do, and would behave differently because of it. They are setting an example. There are girls in this world that only look up to celebrities like Lindsay Lohan. When they see what she is doing, they automatically assume that it is okay for them to follow suit. It makes me sick.

      • jenwaybright Says:

        I completey agree with you both, it is a complete shame that her appearance is what is being criticized and it is even worse that young girls think that’s how you’re supposed to look.

        And the article on Chris Brown just keeps the “Tough Guise” going; he learned martial arts to be able to fight better instead of talking it out. Both these articles highlight sad points in our society that hopefully people like us who recognize the problem can get the ball rolling on fixing. Great choice in articles!

      • McNally Says:

        For females its tough to look up to celebrites with the lifestyle that lindsay lohan lives, and use that as a role model for them to live by. As seen on tv lindsay is a great actress, very beautiful, very successful. But when you really look at articles such as this one and many more of them im sure you are able to find out their, you can really begin to see what kind of person lindsay lohan really is. Having younger siblings i know my mother always is very careful at what my siblings are allowed and not allowed to watch. Its a shame that the lifestyle that these celebrities live is being publicly recognized and tolerable. I feel the lifestyle that the media is putting out needs to change. I know i wouldnt want my kids having too find out that their teenage idol is now a drug addict.

    • ginasurrette Says:

      I do agree that the lives of these stars are over analyzed by the media and the public. If chris brown has had a violent up bringing that he probably is going to act on that since it’s in his nature to do so. The unfortunate part is that men like him actually exist more often then not. And as for Lohan, i’d hope that young girls look up to her as someone they DONT want to be since she is up and down, off and on about her health and morals. I read in a magazine once that Lohans goal is to be see as the Audrey Hepburn of our times. at this rate she is turning out to be more like the drugged out version of Maryland Monroe as she slips farther and faster away from anything healthy. someone as rocky as she is does not deserve to be in the spot light and should seek serious help for underlying problems that the media is sure to make worse. These are both good stereotypical examples of men and women brought up by backward role models. they both come from backgrounds of insecure homes.

  3. katelyntemple Says:

    As with jessie, my two articles deal with politics. The two articles focus on a couple that America loves to hate, the Clintons. Language impacts how men and women are defined and described. This is evident in both of these articles.

    As most women are, Hillary Clinton has been defined based on her relationship. In mid-February, 2009, Clinton delievered one of her first major speeches as Secretary of State. This was at a major University in South Korea. Clinton was not asked questions about her goals, plans, accomplishments, or succesful career. She faced questions in regards to her love life. What is more interesting is the fact that she chose to answer these questions. This demonstrates language and sex role stereotypes. Unlike a man, who would likely discuss accomplishments, Hillary appeared to be emotional by discussing love. It is likely that she did not refuse to answer these questions, dispite their lack of relevance, because girls are taught to communicate differently. Girls are taught to respond to others feelings, and Hillary did this, as the students told her how important her relationship was to them. Despite her powerful position, when asked to address emotional topics it makes Hillary have a harder time appearing dominant. Asking Hillary love related questions could be viewed as spotlighting in a way. She was not called Mrs. Secretary of State, or reffered to as Bill’s wife, but these questions for sure did draw attention to her sex.

    The article also noted that Hillary only answered one question that was not personal. Most dealt with her upbringing, childhood, and experiences as a wife of mother. This makes me think of the myth that women talk more than men. For a man at that meeting, it may have seen as if Hillary was rambling on about pointless nonsense. Because focus was not on herself, accomplishments, or goals, she may have appeared to talk a lot more than a man, who more than likely would not focus on emotional topics.

    The university students were not shy about expressing their admiration for Hillary

    The next article was written in 2007, and the topic is Bill Clinton’s criticisms of Obama. The article starts with “former President Bill Clinton showed his singular ability to diminish his wife’s presidential rivals…” This statement demonstrates the masculine genderlect. His powerful status and competitive nature was established. The use of the word ‘singular’ demonstrates his independence as a man. Unlike the article about his wife, it is clear Bill was not defined in this case, in regards to his relationships. This article also demonstrates that the talk of males tends to be more abstract. Bill questions obama’s experience, yet at the same time says that he is not criticizing him… hmm.

    It was much easier to pick up on difference in gender in the Hillary Clinton article. The article on Bill and most of the language seemed average to me. This could be because of the different sources. But I was thinking it could be because men have become the ‘norm’ of news articles, especially in regards to politics. Thoughts on this?

    • daniellemstern Says:

      That’s an excellent point at the end, Katelyn. So much of popular media forms, news and literature especially (so-called “older,” more traditional media forms) privilege male ways of knowing without explicitly saying so–meaning it’s natural for men AND women to adopt the male persona/perspective.

      • sam1503 Says:

        I agree with Katelyn that men have become the “norm” of news articles and while trying to find good articles to analyze, I noticed the same thing. Most articles written about men, use normal, average political language, while the articles written about women tend to use more feminine language and focus on other aspects of their gender such as looks are familial behavior.

      • mattymac Says:

        Was Hillary Clinton fielding questions from the university students or from the press? I ask because we seem to have an understanding that several media forms contain examples of sexism and spotlighting. If the questions came primarily from university students, however, it demonstrates the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

        The university students asked Clinton questions that are considered to be more female-oriented because that is how gender influences our language and communication as well as how we see the world. Whether it was the press or the students, apparently interest in Clinton was placed more on her roles of womanhood than her political experience, accomplishments, and achievements. Interesting to note is the fact that the speech occurred in South Korea, further demonstrating that gender language and communication transcends different geographic regions, ethnicities, and races.

  4. katelyntemple Says:

    With Lauren’s post on Lindsey Lohan, this also demonstrates how women tend to be defined based upon their relationships with others. Good example & I agree it is ridiculous to just assume that the breakup is the cause of all the problems. This just furthers the belief that women are overly emotional.

  5. mransone Says:

    The first article I found was written about a new show on Bravo, it’s called The Real Housewives of New Jersey. This article interviews a few of the women on the show and talks about their lavish lifestyles while highlighting their homes. These women are shown in the article as “living as large as their mouths in brash palaces”. The article describes the women as being very wealthy and it describing the insane amount of money they spend on decorating their homes. The article is very gender bias, you really do not see too many article about how men decorate their homes while calling them “loud mouths”. They use a lot of sexist language throughout the article as well. For example, “Danielle, the requisite “bad” girl and emotional diva, mired in the house she built with her husband, now her ex, 17 years ago, and yearning for a new man and new digs, these housewives are exactly where they want to be”. This quote also spotlights the fact that she is a women by calling her a “bad girl”, and “emotional diva”.

    The next article is about two men that are political rivals and the relationship which they have, which is not good. The article calls the men, “political powerhouses, with aggressive habits”, which is also spotlights a gender bias. It highlights the fact that they are powerful and aggressive because they are very competitive men towards each other.

    Both articles were very easy to tell what gender they were spotlighting because of the adjectives they used. Aggressive, powerhouse, and competitive I quickly associated it to being a man. And emotional, loud, diva I quickly associated it to women. Not to say that women couldn’t be aggressive or a man couldn’t be emotional, it just was quick assumptions I made because of how our culture describes men and women within our society.

    • kirstenpowell Says:

      I also read this article and I can see where you derived the sexist undertones, but I also see but I also saw it as showing the good side of women being independent.

      • melaniebahr Says:

        I feel that a lot of times, especially in the media, spotlighting is used just to make more of an impact. It isn’t always needed because the description makes the gender of who is being talked about obvious. But the spotlighting just makes it more dramatic and less realistic. But I don’t think this show is meant to seem realistic because we all know the majority of people are not like that.

  6. ginasurrette Says:

    First I’d like to comment on the short essay. The sentence that first struck my attention was this one, “The Pioneer role most often highlights women candidates’ difference— positioning them as symbolic tokens of woman’s political achievements rather than serious applicants for the job.” I completely agree, it is as if we praise these women for doing a great job and looking so pretty but at the end of the day the men take home the cake.

    The first article i read was about Katie Holmes. I am particularly interested in Katie because she has been publicized in the past to be a women under the control of her husband (Tom Cruise) and mind washed into scientology. Some people may think that Katie is weak and submissive, but this article contradicts those conclusions by stating she is not acting under the influence of her husband. It also proves a point that her religion is not holding her hostage. Her friend Jada Pinkett Smith told the reporter that Katie is not a prisoner of her own home. She is completely a women of her own by staying true to her talents; performing on the stage and highlighting her accomplishments. Taking the lead role in a play is wonderful and fulfilling for a women. The language in this article is that of praise. She is judged by her dialect on stage, her style, and how well she preforms along side veteran actors. A comment that could be considered sexist is one where a observer of Katie’s play was impressed by” Holmes’ stage presence having known her recently as Mrs. Tom Cruise” because she is confused to be famous through her husband and not as an independently talented actress.,2933,425361,00.html

    The Second article I read relates the the first. It is about Tom cruise openly admitting wrong doing. Most men are hard headed and protective of their pride along with their family. in this particular case Tom Cruise got defensive about one of his religious beliefs. Tom cruises religion disagrees with psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. In an interview with Matt Lauer, Tom Cruise tries to undermine Matt by defending his own beliefs. Tom now states that what he said came across as arrogant. many men have a hard time admitting that they are wrong and by doing so Tom Cruise sets an admirable example. The psychiatry that Tom was criticizing in this article was that of Brook Shields. In 2005 Brook took anti-depressants because she had postpartum depression after having her baby. Tom claimed that she should have coped with out the medicine and criticized her decision to take anti-depressants. Tom is a man and he knows nothing of a woman’s hormones and what postpartum feels like. This is where his arrogance came into play by undermining brooks delicate state as a women after child bearing.,2933,467164,00.html

    • Lauren Says:

      I like how you found articles opposite of what you would expect of a woman and man. It shows that not all women are only identified by the man they are with especially when their husband is Tom Cruise, it shows more of the independent side to a woman. It also shows how a woman can step out of the shadow of her husband and become successful herself. I also agree with you when you said it is hard for a man to admit he his wrong, and that it was admirable for Cruise to admit that he was being arrogant. I think because men are taught to be strong and aggressive, it is harder for men to admit when they are wrong because it shows a sign of weakness.

      • tgbaldwin32 Says:

        I also like how you chose your articles, but I do disagree with the notion that it is difficult for guys to say that they are wrong. I believe if there is evidence proving guys are wrong they will admit to it, if there is no evidence, like most people be them male or female they won’t admit they are wrong. This could just be me being ignorant of the rest of the world but I am a guy and when I am proven wrong I admit it, as do the rest of the guys I know. We argue and fight over subjects all the time, mostly on clear cut yes or no topics, and after we go are separate ways, look up the actual subject we were fighting over, and discover we were wrong (if that was the case) we immediately say it. Again this could just be what happens with me and the group of individuals I hang out with, but I don’t think guys find it hard to admit they are wrong as long as there is evidence to prove it.

      • mattymac Says:

        You make a good point about the quote from the short essay: “The Pioneer role most often highlights women candidates’ difference— positioning them as symbolic tokens of woman’s political achievements rather than serious applicants for the job.”

        The part that sticks out to me is the framing of political women as “symbolic tokens of woman’s political achievements.” This happens throughout politics, especially in relation to gender and race. Many times, emphasis is placed more on the political significance of a figure than on his or her education, integrity, and track record. The recent example is Sonia Sotomayor and the emphasis that is being placed on her background of being a Latino woman. She will be the first Latino to be a Supreme Court justice if she is affirmed and only the third woman.

        To further the point, Sarah Palin was the second woman to be a vice-presidential candidate, and the first for the Republican Party. Barack Obama was the first African American presidential candidate, and now, the first African American president. Many times, emphasis was placed on these national figures because of aspects related to gender and race.

  7. kirstenpowell Says:

    First I’d like to start off by saying that I found something very interesting when browsing around to find articles. I started out by going to the New York Times website. When I clicked on the style section, all of the articles that came up were about women except one on Tommy Hilfiger amidst at least 100 on women. When I clicked on the sports section, all of the articles that came up were about men expect one on a tennis star amung several articles on men. I thought this would be an interesting concept for us to examine. Why is it that we socialize women withe style and fashion (things having to do with appearance) while we socialize men with sports (things that by nature are competitive and aggressive)?

    This article from the style section of the New York Times is written by a male and is about a male (Tommy Hilfiger). The man writing this story uses feminine speech and it is no wonder that he was writing in style. He describes Hilfiger’s shop on Bleecker street with awe and admiration. He uses flowery (decorative) language that makes the article fun to read. It is not what we are socialized to expect from a man. The feminine tone and colorful language is serving for a purpose of more than just content. The latter article by a man gives off a masculine vibe of be a straight shooter and just trying to give you the content and facts. This writer also calls upon a topic we previously discussed. He calls on Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw. The reader must know this character in order to understand his implied meanings.

    In this article about the French open a male writer is describing the event as well as discussing returning female stars as well as new ones. I found it interesting in this sports article (the only one that I could find regarding females) had males as part of the subject too. Setting aside that note, he talks about Maria Sharapova who is making a comeback in the tennis realm after an injury. The writer makes sure to highlight that she now holds the 102 seed in rank. He does include a positive quote from her, but when you look closely you see a negative vibe given towards her and the other women in the article compared to the men. He descrives her as scrapping her way into the third round. This is a negative way of saying that she made a great comeback and even made it to the third round. After talking about her he goes on to talk about the number 1 male in the men’s ranking. He goes from highlighting her rank to bragging about the male in the 1 position. It is an interesting transistion and is probably an unconscious move on his part but it shows how in out patriarchal society men are viewed as superior to women, regardless of whether we want to admit this or not.

    • jenwaybright Says:

      I have actually noticed the Women=Style and Fashion and Men=Sports connotation too! It’s even down to the headline pictures on Yahoo, when the article is fashion related, they never just put a pair of shoes up, it has to be clearly a woman’s legs with shoes on. Same with athlete photos being male; even an article dealing with the Women in the Indy 500 had a picture of the cars, not the women.

      • kirstenpowell Says:

        Why do you think this is? Why can’t a women be representative of sports or a man represent fashion? I do not see anything wrong with either!

    • melaniebahr Says:

      I noticed that the articles on women were much easier to find as well. I think that this is because women are criticized more which makes for more publicity, more public interest, and higher sales. Plus, all of this goes along with the whole idea of women being irrational and making bad decisions unlike men who are supposed to appear logical and in control of what goes on in their lives.

      • mransone Says:

        You bring up a really good point, women do seem to always equal fashion, while men equal sports. I find it weird that we rarely see it go both ways because a lot if the major designers are men! I never really thought about this before but the sports stores that sell jerseys do they sell women jerseys as well, or do they even make women jerseys?

      • kmacklin1107 Says:

        I think this is in part because of what we are taught when we are younger. I know when I was younger a girl who did sports and such was considered to be a “tom boy”. For some reason sports has always been seen as a masculine tendency. Even with giving a girl the label of being a “tom boy” is in fact trying to masculinize that girl.

        When it comes to ideas of fashion, the way society is we automatically assume that when a male is into fashion that they are either gay, or have gay tendencies. We consider fashion to be something that is for females, and that they are the only ones who truly understand what is cool for the time. The impressive thing is that many of the famous fashion designers of today are in fact male, they are just not getting the credit when credit is due.

    • flipmyflops06 Says:

      Maybe the reason for sports articles being mainly male dominated by is the high popularity behind male sports. Women’s sports have become more popular, but more people typically tune in to watch the men’s sports such as football, the NBA instead of the WNBA, and baseball instead of softball. Also, women have typically been known to be the fashion consumers.
      This may also be the reason for mainly women being featured in fashion articles.

    • daniellemstern Says:

      These are all very astute observations about gendered news. Last summer when I was organizing this course for the first time I included a link to a NY Times article about a blogging conference for women bloggers. It was in the Style section rather than the Business section, where most blogging stories would be. I think I might still have it linked on our Blackboard site.

    • chloea Says:

      I find this interesting as well. I’d have to say it’s largely due to the way we are brought up and how our parents were brought up. A coworker of mine is pregnant and found out this morning that her baby is a girl. Now, she and her husband were both convinced it was going to be a boy, but are excited about their baby girl. The husband posed a question, asking ‘what will I do with a girl?’ His wife’s response was, ‘the same thing you’d do with a boy except hunting.’ This shows the way we conform our children to gender roles. We have an idea of different activities that girls and boys should participate in and bring our children up likewise.

      • mmpike Says:

        I think your comment about the couple finding out the sex of their baby is interesting. My cousin’s wife has given birth to 2 beautiful baby girls, but I know that she feels pressure to have a boy (not that she has any control over it). I don’t think she feels any pressure from my cousin (her husband) but rather my uncle and my grandfather. Not because they need a boy to pass off their sports to, because their dad and aunts are doing a great job of that, but because the men want a boy to carry on the family name. I’ve always liked that fact the the woman takes her husbands name, and I think I always will, but I realize now, that through that act it creates a situation in which boys are more valued because families want to know that their name will live on.

      • sam1503 Says:

        I also think that women are associated with fashion while men are associated with sports because of the typical childhoods that we had. Women are taught early to nurture to others needs as well as try to find a connection with people. Fashion is a way to do this. Women are able to connect with other women by designing clothing that makes them feel beautiful, special, and trendy. I think that it also says a lot about our culture that men are able to transfer into the fashion industry and be successful while still being respected by other men.

        For men, they are taught early to be competitive, strong, and tough (as we all heard from Kantz). Therefore, they are more likely to be involved in sports than women are.

        Another thing to think about is that women are competing with other women in the fashion industry while men are competing with other men in the sports industry. The opposite sex in both industries stand out much more because they have chosen to enter fields where their gender is not typical.

      • mattymac Says:

        I like the observation Mary Margaret made about how having boys is more valued in our culture because traditionally a woman takes on the name of her husband when they get married. Thus, having a son means that the family name will be carried on through the next generation.

        It reminds me of the One-Child Policy in China, where boys are definitely more valued than girls due to the fact that many couples are only allowed to have one child as a means to control the overpopulation of the nation. Boys will carry on the family name, thus are more desirable. Many attribute the significant gender imbalance in China to this policy as well as the increase of abortions, infanticides, abandoned and orphaned children, and children put up for adoption.

  8. emily9988 Says:

    The first article I chose had a woman as the subject. Megan Fox, known for her fame in the Transformers movie, is rumored to replace Angelina Jolie in the upcoming Tomb Raider movie as mentioned in the article, “Megan Fox as Lara Croft? (” The article discusses the popularity of the Tomb Raider movies and what this may mean for the movie’s fans. What caught my eye about this article was the sexist language used towards Megan Fox and the Tomb raider movie. This phrase stuck out quite a bit:
    “his reboot would inevitably mean casting someone younger than Jolie, and that has lead to rampant fanboy speculation (read: panting, drooling) that Transformers beauty Fox, 23, might be at the top of the list to take on the role.”

    panting and drooling?! The fact that they are casting a younger version of Lara Croft for the movie shows that they are trying to reach an audience that wants to see younger women portraying these roles. However, that audience is young men. lara Croft is seen as an action star, but also as a sex symbol, and this article does little to hide that fact.


    The second article I chose was about President Obama and some of the activities he has had going on in the past couple of days. This includes naming his Supreme Court judge, traveling out west to speak at a few events, see a show in Las Vegas, and attend a fundraising event. Throughout this article, it is apparent that the author is portraying Obama as a powerful figure. He uses words such as how he “embarked” on a tour, “swept” into an air force base. I definitely see this language as stereotypical masculine language; however, I don’t see this as untrue. President Obama is definitely a very powerful man, but it is quite humorous how the language in this article differs from the language shown in “Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman Off to Broadway.”



  9. vrobbins Says:

    I selected, “On the Home Front, a Twist of Candor” as my first article; Michelle Obama is the main subject. This article talks about how open and honest Mrs. Obama is about living in the Whitehouse. She explains to the news reporter that she wants everyone to know that she struggles with the same day-to-day issues, just like any other human being. It is mentioned in the article that she doesn’t miss cooking and struggles with the thought of her doing the right thing for her children, living in the Whitehouse and all. Some are arguing that this is a way for her husband to be seen as more appealing because of the image that she is creating for herself. Maybe it’s a political decision to be more open, as most of the First Ladies have not been in the past, maybe it’s not; regardless, she is getting people’s attention.

    I also selected, “Patrick Swayze Release Photo to Correct Death Rumors” as my second article; Patrick Swayze, obviously, is the main subject. The title can speak for itself, however for those of you who don’t understand what he is going through, I will elaborate. Mrs. Swayze was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. If you click on the link that follows this paragraph, you can notice how this disease has taken over his body. Typically people with this type of cancer pass away a few months after it has been found, however Patrick Swayze’s body is reacting well to the treatments. In the article, the reporter shares quotes of Mrs. Swayze saying that he has more than he wants to do and that he is afraid.,2933,521241,00.html

    I found that while I was reading both of these articles, they were more alike than different. I’m not exactly sure if it’s because Mrs. Swayze is dealing with a deadly disease so he is more sensitive, or maybe it’s the content of the articles that I chose. I think both Mrs. Obama and Mr. Swayze are both very open with their emotions and how they are feeling. When people of high position share tidbits of their real life it allows those of us lower folk (ha!) see them as real human beings. So often we put people that we see in the media on a pedestal, but they are imperfect humans just like us.

    In both articles, the reporters are writing about the subjects in an appealing way. They aren’t trying to bring down the credibility of the subject. I guess someone could argue about Mrs. Obama, but I believe for the most part they are trying to get across the point that she is taking a different approach to disclosing the type and amount of information, being the First Lady. I feel as though the reporters for both subjects had nice things to say about them and didn’t ever try to put them down or influence others to think any less of them.

    I didn’t notice either of the articles using sexist language. However, I guess it’s possible that one might say Mrs. Obama’s article is focusing on being a First Lady. Maybe her going about doing things differently from what is normal could be seen as negative and possibly sexist because of the fact that she is being more blunt and bold, but I don’t think so. Overall, I feel like both of these articles are fairly neutral and are more concerned about getting the information out, rather than trying to persuade the audience to fell a certain way.

    • cahendy Says:

      I think it is interesting that the article about Mrs. Obama is simply about living in the white house but the one about Patrick Swayze is about cancer. I agree that maybe they are not very different because maybe Mr. Swayze is more emoitional, but it is ironic that a male being emotional in an article make it similar to a woman just talking about adjusting to where she is living. Do you think that if the article you found about a woman was about her dealing with cancer, and the male article was about how he is adjusting to his new life style the gender specific language would start to come out?

  10. jenwaybright Says:

    I chose two articles about current political controversies; one about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor and the other about the investigation of Sen. Burris of Illinois. They were both very different in how the subject was shown. It highlighted the differences in how men and women are described.

    The artcile about Sonia Sotomayor, the nominee for the Supreme Court, is much more detailed and personal. We reminded many times that she is a Hispanic woman and how she is a first in that regard. The article calls her an inspiration and we are informed of the affect her appointment would have on people. She would be an inspiration to women everywhere and would be trouble for the GOP. We never learn of her credentials though upon more research, I discovered that she is very qualified and the most experienced of any other consideration. It is highly emphasized that she will inspire anyone to follow their dreams.

    The article on Sen. Burris, the Illinois senator involed in the Blagojevich scandal for the “purchase” of Obama’s seat, is much more fact oriented. We do not learn of his background, how his appointment could affect people, etc. We are given quotes about power and money most often and his ethics are called into question. The scrutiny of ethics affects his position of power. We never read anywhere about how his actions affect the people around him or how he is a negative public figure for the public.

    The articles are both about controversies in politics, but they both follow with the typical differences when reporting about men and women. We should have learned about how Sotomayor is highly qualified and very accomplished and about how Sen. Burris is negatively affecting Illinois state politics, but we don’t. I was surprised we didn’t read about her appearances or something, as we did so many times with Palin and Clinton.

  11. katelyntemple Says:

    Emily9988, I also noticed the sense of importance and power when skimming over any articles about Obama. What was interesting to me was I noticed many of the articles about Sonia aactually focused on Obama’a importance and power, not just her qualifications.

    • emily9988 Says:

      I’ve realized that too. It’s taking away from the fact that Sonia is qualified for her position, but instead still focuses on the president and praising him for making the decision. If the article is about Sonia, they should definitely make it more about her than president Obama.

  12. katelyntemple Says:

    As Jen said, Women=Style and Fashion and Men=Sports: I totally agree. There are countless articles on Michelle Obama’s body and her clothes, while when talking about Barack and his leisure time they focus on his love for basketball. Im sure just like his wife he has all designer clothes, and probably a personal trainer… but the woman gets all the attention when it comes to appearance.

    • jenwaybright Says:

      I completely agree Katelyn! It’s amazing to glance through a People or something at the grocery store and see pages upon pages of how to dress like her. It is the same thing as Jackie O. way back when, she is a new style icon. And with Obama, i thought it was interesting to open a Sport Illustrated and see a 4 page article picking his bracket for March Madness. I’m sure you don’t open up a GQ(that’s the only man magazine I know!) and see “Look Like Obama for Less!”

      It brings both of these public figures down to earth since we can relate to them, but it is interesting how they both are strictly associated with certain things.

      • sam1503 Says:

        Jen, this made me laugh because it is so true! Most magazines do not focus on what things the First Lady is doing to help America, but instead focuses on the way she looks and appears standing beside the President. Not only after the election, but during the campaign the media focused on the couple’s “look” and what kinda of family they appeared to be.

  13. melaniebahr Says:

    I chose to articles that related to celebrities in pop culture. The first article I chose is about Jessica Simpson. She recently took a lot of criticism for her weight gain and fashion choices. The article suggests that due to this she is coming out with a new show called “The Price of Beauty” as a way to get back into the limelight and make people forget about this recent incident.

    Women’s bodies are constantly scrutinized. We are always expected to be super thin and right up there with the fashion trends. When we aren’t it is almost like we are shunned in some way or thought down upon. Women in this culture are thought of as just looks and no brains. Simpson was criticized about her looks and instead of deferring the attention to another great quality she is putting out a show about how beauty is important and how to be beautiful and what extent to go to.,2933,522340,00.html

    The second article I chose was about Adam Lambert, an American Idol finalist of this year. The subject of the article was that even though he appears to be gay, he still may win American Idol. Through out the season Adam never made a formal statement about his sexual orientation.

    The article presents the idea that it would be shocking if America voted for a homosexual as this years winner. This shows that society is un-accepting of this way of life or at least wouldn’t pick him to idolize. I also found it interesting that he made no statements about his orientation. Whether that was his choice or the shows choice to withhold this information I do not know. But I did think it was an interesting take. They wanted to keep his personal life discrete in that way.

    • Jessie Wright Says:

      I think the whole issue about Jessica Simpson gaining weight was ridiculous. She did not look huge; she looked the healthiest she looked in years. She had finally stepped out of her ‘daisy duke’ world and into reality. (It did not even look like she gained weight; it was just a poor choice of outfits that made her look that way.) The second the media attacked her, she ran to the gym. I wish she would have made an example that not everyone needs to be a size 2. The Adam subject is interesting as well. He was all over magazines before the final show. I do not watch the show and I even knew he was set to win. I can’t remember if they keep personal lives separate or not on the show, but I wonder if they did for him because he may be gay. Sometimes people keep their homosexuality to themselves, because it could potentially ruin them. I disagree I feel we are in America and if someone wants to be gay/lesbian, go for it!

    • mbest88 Says:

      I think it’s unfortunate that people would be surprised if a homosexual won American Idol. It really should be about his talent, not about his sexual orientation. It’s also unfortunate that he feels like he needs to hide his personal life just so he might have a chance at winning.

      • sam1503 Says:

        I agree! I think that this may have something to do with what we learned from the Kantz article and how men view other men as “sissys” if they do not adhere to the typical male characteristics. This may be where some of the fear comes from with Adam or any other homosexual public figure. On a show like American Idol, it should be completely about the talent and sexual orientation should not be a factor.

  14. scnuhoy87 Says:

    When I set out to find my two articles I wanted to find them from the same category, so I looked at sports writers to find them and I must agree with a previous comment made by another student about how there are so many more articles about men then there are women in the category of sports. The two articles I found were from yahoo sports, the female piece is on Danica Patrick the first female Indy car driver written by Matt Crossman and the male piece was written about college football star Myron Rolle which was written by Jason Cole.

    The first piece about Danika Patrick is titled “Danica’s dilemma: to NASCAR or not.” The piece talks about whether or not Danica Patrick is interested in leaving Indy car racing and joining the high profile ranks of NASCAR. They give her real credit in how she can drive but the story itself focuses around a commercial that she was in that helped sell the company Go Daddy which sells internet domain names. Even though Danica is one of the most talented drivers in the world the main focus is that she is a women driver and is able to promote very well for companies that would sponsor her. Her name is the third most popular name in all the world when it comes to race car drivers in the world, only behind two NASCAR drivers.

    The second article is about one of the most talented college football players, Myron Rolle, who not only is one of the best cornerbacks in football but turned down temporarily a chance to be drafted in the first round of the National Football League this year to continue on the path to become a Neurosurgeon. He was awarded the Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University in medicine and accepted it instead of playing football. It is not clear what he will do following his studies at Oxford but it seems that he will enter the draft as well as continue his studies.

    When you compare both these articles you can see a real flaw when they talk about women and when they talk about men. There is definitely sexist language used and it shows that even in this day and age we do not respect women as much as we should. The article written about Danica Patrick focuses on her beauty, looks and how she would be able to sell a companies products, rather than how she is an amazing driver and if a company were to sponsor her she could win them a championship. The article on Myron Rolle talked about him as a super hero almost, and yes, he is a multi-talented individual who is smart as well as athletic, but they never once talked about looks or even sponsors he would have if he joined the NFL, rather they just talked about his ability. These articles really showed me that we still have a long way to go because even in sports we never just give credit to women athletes for being talented without talking about looks, while men we just talk about how amazing they are.

    • melissam4 Says:

      I agree with your comments on how women arent given credit for their ability in the same way as men. You also mentioned how the the football player is described almost like a hero. I was thinking that about the man in my article as well. The way these men are described are so strong, independent, in control, and capable of anything. It seems that even though women may have similar talents, they’re mainly praised on their abilities to sell. They almost sound like livestock: which ones can bring in the most bacon for the company simply by their looks and for being a woman, which in many cases right now means as a sex symbol or object. We’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go. It seems as though being a woman means taking twice as long if not more to achieve the same “great capabilites” as men.

  15. cahendy Says:

    Like many of the posts I have read here already I had trouble finding two articles from the same section. I did not want to do anything in politics, and in the style and entertainment sections it is mostly women and in the sports sections it is mostly men.

    I found two articles on espn, one being about Helio Castronevas win in the INDY 500 the other day, and the other was about how Danica Patrick did in the same race, and the possibility of her breaking out into nacscar. In both articles the writers use the same language, not seperating either by gender specific language in any way. In Helio Castronevas article they talked about how emotional of a victory it was for him because he has just come off of some very big legal problems. For Danica it was about how patient and comfortable she raced and how good she felt about it. The only thing that I guess that seperated Danica from Helio was that Danica is thinking of maybe going to Nascar and the article made a big deal about her being the first woman driver in nascar. I think the only reason I couldn’t find major diffrences between these two articles is because Danica has been in this mans sport for a few years, they are used to her being a woman and for the most part is treated equal.

    • mbest88 Says:

      I think Danica is a great example for everyone. She came into racing, not to prove herself as a women, but to prove herself as a racer. People have accepted her into the racing community as an outstanding athelete. She acted like just another one of the guys, which I think is awesome. Since she never expected any special treatment and proved herself through her talent, she really isn’t treated differently from all the guys.

  16. melissam4 Says:

    I also found an article on Megan Fox through Elle magazine. She was Elle’s june cover which gave a typical overview of her life and views on breakups, misbehaving, and having men eating out of her hand. It was writen about a woman by a woman and used typical language socialization to fit our cultures norms of feminine behavior. The article was writen to fit language socialization as well as Fox’s responses to questions for the interview. For example, the article is introduced with a description of Fox “breez[ing] into a West Hollywood nail salon 20 min. late” due to the “paps” (paparazzi) following her. There was also use of sexist language throughout the article in that Fox was being referred to as a “starlet” continuously. After her success in the movie “Transformers,” the article stated that “a pinup was born.” I’ve known women to be referred to as “pinups” but about a man? If it were a young man might he be referrd to as a “stag?” or “hunk?”

    The next article I found was on sports illustrated about “Andre the Giant,” a 7′ 4″ 500 lb wrestler. This was also writen by a man about a man. The language socialization was that typical for a male sportsman. The article was introduced with a story about a boy growing up in the fields of France with dreams of hitting it rich one day. He goes off to make his dreams come true, happens to get his fathers genes and grows to be a giant. He is depicted as the strong, silent type: no visual emotion but strong ambition that takes him anywhere he wants to go and got he there. Everything kind of fell in his lap just for being a really big guy. Sexist language is displayed when describing The Giant as the giant. A large woman wouldn’t be titled “the giant.” Maybe the “tall beauty” but even then it would be using spot lighting to clarify that this tall person is a women and not a man.

    • Jessie Wright Says:

      Your articles both show great stereotypical portrays of how women and men are seen in the media. I can not count how many articles I have read about celebrity women “breezing” in late, because all of the “paps.” I’m positive they would not describe a male in the fashion. It relates back to the book of what metaphors are used for what gender. Also, the comment about a large woman, I completely agree. I do not see the media praising a woman for giant characteristics.

  17. kmacklin1107 Says:

    Finding articles was a little tricky at first, because I was not quite sure of what to look for. I went to Daily Press first and found an article about Dolly Parton and then I went to the NY Times and found a recent article about President Obama.,0,1548914.story

    While the Dolly Parton article is not long, it does hold some language in it that relates to women. It is an article about Dolly Parton and how she received an honorary doctorate so she is now Dr. Dolly. Dolly goes on to joke in the article that now when people mention Double-D around her they will be thinking of something other than her buxom figure. Men are not typically described as having a buxom figure, in fact in many articles their body figure is not usually described. They also discuss how she is caring and gives to philanthropies. Her main one is giving books to young children. Women are perceived as being caring and understanding and of nurturing nature. Dolly Parton is always described as being just that.

    President Obama recently took a trip out west to start raising money for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. They made Obama seem like a real guy’s guy by saying how he took off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves when he started talking. Also it only took him seventeen minutes to give his speech, so it was a very short speech and was not elaborated upon. One man said that the President showed no empathy for the issues going on in CA due to the fact that while he was there he never spoke on the issue. Men are not usually seen as being empathetic.

    • mmpike Says:

      I kind of took a little bit of a different look at news articles. I looked at gossip news on Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. The first one I looked at was a very short article regard Jennifer and her new Movie “Bounty Hunter.”

      The article’s main focus is how Jennifer Aniston is now copying Angelina Jolie by doing an action film. (that’s basically it) But the article I looked at for Brad was about his new movie and was much, much longer and discussed, very sarcastically how poorly made his film was.

      The article about Brad used lots of sarcastic language and made boyish references and made the it seem that the movie’s focus was mostly to display his sex appeal, “Oh, how you would have enjoyed breathing the heady atmosphere for which QT made his creation!” This article was written by a woman, and the language is almost bitter.

      The article about Jennifer Aniston is very short, author unknown, and uses no bitter or sarcastic language. It gets to the point and uses words like “striking”, “stunning” and “domain” It is less about her career, and more about how it relates to Jolie.

      The biggest difference I saw that frustrated me though, was what I found when I google searched both of their names. For Jennifer, all of the websites were fan sites or articles about her, Jolie, and Pitt. But when I searched for Brad half of them were about his career while the other half were about his love life.

      In addition if you look at an article that is about all three from the famous triangle, Brad is hardly mentioned, and made out to be no one. Jolie an Aniston are the ones fighting it out, and no one makes Pitt look bad for either relationship but blames one woman or the other for the complications. I’m not sure why I find this all so fascinating, but Pitt always gets let free by the press. Why?

      Sorry, I couldn’t remember/figure out how to link. I know its probably really simple haha

      • daniellemstern Says:

        excellent point about the women stars catfighting over the man

      • mattymac Says:

        The whole Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie-Jennifer Aniston triangle has always bothered me. The media first framed the whole affair with Aniston being the victim. However, blame was not placed on Pitt, it was placed on Jolie for being a vixen and stealing him away from his wife. How illogical it was his own choice as well. But it’s OK for men to leave their wives, for they are to be lotharios. Now, the media framing has changed, casting Pitt and Jolie as “Brangelina”–the power couple. Aniston is viewed as a poor woman who cannot seem to find true love and goes in and out of an unstable relationship with John Mayer. Does Pitt’s willingness to cheat on his wife not demonstrate some aspect of his behavior and what that says about him? No, his cheating and the divorce says something about Aniston being less desirable than Jolie.

  18. tgbaldwin32 Says:

    The two articles I chose are about two individuals that are constantly making headline news but for very different reasons. One article focuses on actor Patrick Swayze and the other on singer Britney Spears.

    The first article is on Patrick Swayze and his battle against pancreatic cancer. I find that there is little sexist language used but there is some that one could call sexist. In searching through other articles I notices that most cancer related stories that involved women cancer patents used the term “fight against cancer” while the stories that involved men cancer patents used “battle against cancer”. This may be because in the past anyone could have a fight but only men could go to battle.,2933,521241,00.html

    The article on Britney Spears is an interview between Sean Hannity host of “Hannity” a show on ET, Jill Dobson, a Fox News correspondent, and Dr. Drew Pinsky, author, of “The Mirror Effect”. Spears is accused of being over sexual in her songs and that she gears them toward young people. Sexist language may not have been extensively used in this article but I believe that she is being accused of this because she is a young woman. There have been men that have created much more lyrically offensive songs than the one these people are talking about, and the men were accused of nothing but praised for being open and daring. I think it is more of a culture thing that these men can create songs of nightmares with the risk of actually traumatizing the listeners and get praised for it, while Spears, someone who has actually recovered from a great deal and has proven to take steps in the right direction gets flamed.,2933,509680,00.html

    • sbarmstrong Says:

      It’s interesting that you noticed “battle against cancer” versus “fight against cancer.” Very intriguing…I have never noticed.

      As for Brittney Spears being accused of using over sexual lyrics, I think, is absurb, especially when compared to her male counterparts. How can women be under so much scrutiny while men in the same field are never questioned? I agree that music can have great impact on it’s listeners, but agree that one artist shouldn’t be singled out if it is a common issue.

  19. flipmyflops06 Says:

    The two articles I picked had to do with Barack and Michelle Obama. There were differences in the adjectives used.

    The article on Michelle Obama first made a comment on the dress she wore being recycled from her first day as first lady. It then goes onto discuss more of the outfits she’s worn and the designers. There are also a few comments about her from other famous people. Firstly, I think this article is gendered because they focus on Michelle’s clothes and therefore appearance more so than her characteristics. Also some things that popped out to me were adjectives such as warm and amazing and when describing her speech, it was said, “her voice quivered with emotion.” These words are usually used to describe more feminine characteristics than masculine. Women are usually thought to be more friendly and emotional than men.

    This article on Barack talks about a fund-raising dinner and concert he attended. Adjectives describing Barack include ‘grace under fire’ and strong grade. These words elude power and strength which are usually more masculine terms.

    It’s interesting that the adjectives and words used in the article about Michelle were not similar to the adjectives in Barack’s article and vice versa. The article about Michelle makes her seem more feminine because it is looking at her being friendly and emotional and it also looks at her appearance. When examining the article on Barack, a different message eluded from the article. The article chose words that make Barack powerful and strong.

  20. mbest88 Says:

    I chose to look at two seperate articles about the Obamas. One about Michelle and one about Barack. I looked at not just the way they were written, but at the content. The article about Michelle talks about her first 100 days as First Lady. First it talks about how she had a meeting with all of her house cleaning staff. Then it talks about the things she has done around the house. This is definitely an example of the stereotype that the women do all of the work around the house. I actually looked to see if I could find anything like this written about Barack and I couldn’t find anything that even touched on him doing things around the house. I consider Michelly Obama to be a very powerful women who has and will continue to do a lot for our society. It’s unfortunate that articles are being written about her housework and not about all of the good things she is doing and promoting in our society.

    The article about Barack Obama discuss the many sides to Obama. It discusses him being a strong man and talks about some of the accomplishments he has made. If focuses on all of the “strong man” things. It does talk about his softer side, but even then it talks about him being a strong compassionate man. It’s sad that gender stereotypes have such a great affect on what is said and written about people. When it comes to men people automatically write about their accomplishments and being strong men. When it comes to women people write about their softer side.

    Some people have discussed how women are associated with style and men are associated with sports, this is so true. I wish society was able to switch it up a bit. I personally would definitely be interested in reading about a women athelte and a male with good style.,8599,1900067,00.html,8599,1834623-3,00.html

    • sbarmstrong Says:

      It definitely appears we had much of the same experience when finding articles. Do you think if the media portrayed a softer side of Barack Obama then society would view him as less capable of leading our nation? Do you think a different portrayal of Michelle Obama having ambition and power would overpower her husband (like Bill and Hillary Clinton)?

  21. sbarmstrong Says:

    As searching for articles, I noticed most about Michelle Obama having a pertinence to fashion. The first article I chose was “Michelle Obama to Grace Cover of Vogue Magazine” by DeNeen L. Brown of the Washington Post. The article begins by describing the March cover of Vogue featuring first lady Michelle Obama. It describes her dress as well as the position of her shots. In one photograph, she is described as being “tethered to work by on old-fashioned telephone, the spiral cord stretched, the receiver at her right ear. She is not talking. She is either listening or on hold.” Though probably not intended, one can go beneath the surface of this stance to see what one position of a woman can say about her. One could view a woman as being on the phone all day, or see her as submissive to the receiver as she is either listening or on hold. The article also mentions her family life being a typical mother, while it fails to broach her professional/career aspect. Finally, the article compares the beauty of Obama with her power. The article states: “Beauty can intersect with power. And how power can be beauty. And how a black woman from the South Side of Chicago and with curves can become a symbol of beauty.” Notice how the author mentions her physical characteristics in the last sentence. Is the author implying that one must obtain beauty to have power?

    The second article I chose focused on Barack Obama named “President Obama touts early progress” by Mark Z. Barabak and Carla Rivera of the Los Angeles Times. The article characterizes Obama with typical male adjectives such as assured, confident, notable and strong. It uses metaphors like “the payoff was handsome.” The article leaves the viewer with a sense of confidence that Obama knows what he is doing and that America is in good hands.

    Both articles talked about the power of the Obamas. However, the differences of that power lies in its origination. In Michelle Obama’s article, power stemmed from beauty and her role as a mother. Barack Obama’s article linked his power to his confidence and ability to lead a nation.

    “Michelle Obama to Grace Cover of Vogue Magazine”

    “President Obama touts early progress”,0,1355707.story

    • catherineporter07 Says:

      I found your article particularly interesting, as we both did articles on Michelle & Barack. As in the article you read about Michelle, the one I read focused a great deal on the physical characteristics of Michelle Obama. What does this tell us as women and men about how women should or do obtain power? Why is this different for men and women?

      The article you read about Barack described him in similar characteristics of power and authority. His importance is recognized based on the important decisions he makes in his position.

  22. sam1503 Says:

    Like Jenn I picked an article that focused on Sonia Sotomayor because she has been a very controversial topic in today’s news. However, unlike Jenn’s article, mine does not focus on her being a woman or solely on her being hispanic. Instead it focuses on past 17 years of her career as a judge. The authors of this article are two men, which is important to keep in mind. Throughout the article they question calls that Sotomayor has made and the reasons for these calls. For example, they bring up a case where two firefighters were protesting to recieve a raise that they earned by passing a test because no African American firefighters passed the same test. Other cases are brought up that would question her political stand. I can’t help but wonder if the reasons these are brought up, and more importantly, brought into question now are because she is the first hispanic woman supreme court nominee.

    Throughout this article Barack Obama is refrenced numerous times so I decided to compare this article to one written about him. Like Katelyn, I found that the language used was very neutral and average. There were words used such as “dare” and “fight” that were not used in the article on Sotomayor. This illustrates the power that Obama has not only as the President but as a male politician. This article was also written by two males but does not show the type of bias that the other article suggests.

  23. mattymac Says:

    Like a few others, the article I chose that featured a woman as its main subject related to the recent nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the position of a Supreme Court justice. It appeared on “The Rundown” on The Washington Post’s website. The article, titled “Sotomayor’s Views on Abortion, Gun Rights Come Under the Microscope” was written by Ben Pershing.

    Overall, the author does a good job at avoiding spotlighting and sexist language. He refers to several groups–conservatives. liberals, senators, advocates, activists–that typically have a gender associated with them, but he keeps his references gender-neutral. The article is primarily about the possible problems Sotomayor’s nomination has caused amongst different groups and the qualms they will have regarding her previous record. There was one aspect that particularly struck me as possibly being an example of spotlighting. Concerning her views on abortion, Pershing writes:

    “As was the case with the man she would replace, David Souter, Sotomayor’s paper trail on the issue is relatively thin.”

    Pershing states that Sotomayor will replace a “man,” thus highlighting Souter’s sex and calling more attention to it. This is important because Sotomayor is a woman and she is being poised to take the position held by a man. This image of a woman replacing a man for a powerful position may reflect certain attitudes some may hold toward Sotomayor. Instead, Pershing would have been more apt to write, “the judge she would replace,” rather than “the man she would replace.”

    The article I chose that featured a man as its main subject was about a recent high school student, Sergio Garcia, who was openly gay and was voted to be the school’s prom queen. The article, titled “Openly Gay Teen Voted Prom Queen at LA High School” came from The Associated Press. This situation in itself reflects a great deal of the gender issues we have been studying, particularly gender roles as dictated by society. For the purposes of studying sexist language in the media, however, there was also one aspect of the article that stuck out to me.

    In the article, there are three students quoted about the situation, not including Garcia. Two of these students are female and one is male. The statements from the two females are, more or less, in support of the decision. The statement from the male was not in support of the vote, nor in the decision Garcia made to run for prom queen. The statement from the male classmate comes after the article states other students “were upset and didn’t understand why Garcia chose to run for prom queen.” Perhaps this indicates that women are more likely to be supportive of the gay community than men?

    “Sotomayor’s Views on Abortion, Gun Rights Come Under the Microscope”
    By Ben Pershing
    May 28, 2009

    “Openly Gay Teen Voted Prom Queen at LA High School”
    The Associated Press
    May 28, 2009

  24. chloea Says:

    My two articles are about George W. and Laura Bush.

    The article describing Laura Bush first presented the public’s view of her. They pictured her as a quiet, classy, stand-by-your-husband type. While this is the image the public has of her, this article set out to give her credit where credit is due. It discussed how she has her own ideas, but just chooses not to make them public. It also explains how she earned a platform for herself using her traditional style, classy, self.

    The article describing George W. Bush described the in-charge necessity of his personality (not in a bad way). He embraced his leadership role, but presented his emotional side that came with leading our country. “I do a lot of crying in this job,” Bush stated. Bush felt for the families involved in 9/11 and the troops. On another note, the article also described his love for sports, specifically baseball. He would have games playing while he worked for background noise and absolutely loved having teams come for tours of the White House or dinners. He also loves neck-breaking bike rides through the woods. Bush also has an extremely personable personality even though he prefers smaller groups displayed by him taking interest in his staff members and their families. He even sends them personalized birthday letters.

    These two articles most definitely depict the different genders, but also provide areas in which the public can see a moving away from the stereotype. It shows how stereotypes don’t encompass all of a person, and it shows how separate gender roles can complement one another.

  25. McNally Says:

    I looked at an article about David Beckham and his wife Victoria Beckham(former spice girl). THe article talks about how David Beckham supposedly cheated on his wife with the house nanny. David Beckham is one of the most popular men in the world. He has got everything going for. The money, the looks, athletic ability, and best of all a great wife and family. The article goes on to talk about how Victoria and David Beckham are denying everything about the alleged affair. He goes on to discuss how because of his fame, he is out at many events where girls are always trying to hit on him and get him to sleep with them, but how he would never even think about cheating on his wife. In the interview they both discuss how the media does whatever they can to stir up some bad news, just to get these celebrities in fights so they can tell the world all about it. Well i feel they are right, the media will do whatever they can to get a story. Most of the things they here are started from a nobody trying to become a somebody. They feel if they come out in the open and say that they have evidence about a celebrity doing something crazy that it will make them famous. Well that is not the case. With these 2 celebrities it has done nothing but bring them closer and realize how lucky they are to have a good family.

  26. lckupke Says:

    The first article I found was about Jon & Kate+8! It focuses entirely on the emotional and outlandish side of Kate that has forced their marriage to spiral downward. Even the title of the article includes the phrase: “she would give him hell.” It says that Kate would storm into Jon’s office and raise hell if her lunch wasn’t delivered on time. Here’s the thing, this article clearly states that she was acting like this while she was pregnant with sextuplets!! If I was pregnant like that, I’m sure me yelling about my lunch would be the least of my husband’s worries. A marriage usually takes more for it to unravel than just a screaming pregnant woman. But, like the typical media, they point their finger at the out-of-control emotional woman instead of reporting all the facts. The author of this article is writing with a feminine bias by only reporting on Kate’s emotions.

    The next article I found is about Jay Leno moving to a different time slot. The stereotypical gender lingo I found starts about 7 paragraphs down. The author (a male) talks about Jay’s accomplishments and talent. He mentions how successful Jay is and how successful NBC anticipates him being. He talks about Jay’s enormous salary and the other famous men who have led the Tonight Show. The article doesn’t discuss Jay’s smile, or hairstyle, wardrobe, or emotional status…the author leaves out any kind of feminine qualities.

    Both of these articles include sexual biases by the authors. The one about a woman only talked about her emotions, and the one about a man only mentioned his success and accomplishments. I’m wondering, if a masculine bias includes writing about success and accomplishments, does a feminine bias involve writing about failure? I’m thinking about Kate in the first article and female pop stars who are depicted not only as being emotional, but also as failures or screw-ups.

  27. catherineporter07 Says:

    This blog is very late because my internet while traveling has been out! but here is what I read…

    The first article I read was about Michelle Obama. Here we can note a couple things regarding how a women’s physique is viewed by the general male population, and perhaps population of women as well. While the author, being a women, notes that men in the D.C. area “appreciatively notice hemlines” as the warmer months come – she also notes a new phenomenon- “women in tank tops with biceps worthy of Michelle Obama”. The article goes on to suggest that women are now more interested in a toned muscular physique than an itsy-bitsy figure. Something else we can note in this article is the emphasis on a women’s body and the goals women wish to meet for appearance purposes.
    It does seem to depict Michelle Obama in a positive light, which perhaps may have something to do with the article being written by a female. However, we also see how the importance of society is so heavily weighted towards appearance. While this article focuses on an important political women, it places emphasis on her physical attributes rather than her mind or other capabilities.

    For an interesting comparison, I chose an article about President Barack Obama, Michelle’s husband. This article discusses Obamas decision to appoint Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. While the author, a women as well, seems to depict this decision as perhaps a poorly viewed choice by both Democrats and Republicans, the importance of this comparison is the language used to describe Barack vs. his wife. President Obama is revered as important in this article, making a crucial decision to the future of this nation’s government, while his wife’s physique were the highlight of the former article.

    It seems that generally, Obama is addressed using authoritative language such as “picks” and “final decision”, while Michelle is described using words such as “muscular bare arms” and as wearing “sleeveless tops”.

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