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Language And Gender Analysis

Good Essays
“Women are not born, they are made”, says French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir.
Beauvoir states that the making of an individual begins not at birth, but at the initial planting of the human life (Eckert and McConnel-Ginet 2013, p. 736). Before knowing the sex of a baby it is normal to refer to the growing fetus as an “it”. When finding out the actual sex of the baby and classifying it as “he” or “she” it is easy to begin assigning it to a life of being male or female. We expect that boys will grow up to act a certain way and girls will do the same based on their gender. As they grow, society continues to reinforce these expectations.
Gender expectations begin as early as naming the child. People will immediately ask a pregnant woman if her
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They say that determining gender is a collaborative affair at first, especially in the newborn stage. Interaction between male and female infants varies as well.
What’s Gender Got to Do With It?
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Experiments show that male and female cries are interpreted differently. In their book, Language and Gender, Eckert and McConnell-Ginet reference a study by John and Sandra Condry in which adults listened to crying babies (Eckert and McConnell-Ginet 2013, p. 739-740). When they listened to these crying babies they would identify the baby boys’ cry as angry, and the baby girls’ cry as fearful. This is also evident as children get older. When you see toddlers playing on the playground and a little boy falls to the ground you are more likely to feel as though he will get right back up and brush the dirt off. With girls it is different, if a little girl falls to the ground you may run over to comfort her and make sure she is okay. These studies show how much our treatment of children differs based on their gender. This even appears in the way we discipline.
A young boy will hear the words “no, no, no” in a stern voice more than a young girl (Eckert and
McConnel-Ginet 2013, p. 740). While some may believe that this is because boys are more
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One of the reasons they think this way is because most of the research is done in controlled settings, rather than in their daily lives. In addition, the research is focusing on how outside people influence children into forming their gender identity but does not take into account how the children themselves play a role in this. Eleanor Maccoby says that from the age of three children already have a strong sense of their gender (Eckert and McConnell-Ginet 2013, p. 742). Eckert and McConnell-
Ginet say that children are focused on “growing up”, not as much on fulfilling gender expectations, but on not being viewed as a baby (Eckert and McConnell-Ginet 2013, p. 742).
I Say
I believe that the research discussed in this portion of Eckert and McConnell-Ginet’s book, Language and Gender, is true in everyday life. I have seen the way that people react differently to boys and girls based on their gender even from a young age. I have been to many baby showers and I always know that a boy’s shower will have blue or green and a girls’ shower will have pink or purple. Gifts are easy to predict to, boys get cars or blocks but girls would
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