Muted Group Theory Essay

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Muted Group Theory

"Women do two thirds of the world’s work...Yet they earn only one tenth of the world’s income and own less than one percent of the world’s property. They are among the poorest of the world’s poor." –Barber B. Conable Jr, President, World Bank
According to Kramarae groups within our society are muted, or go incompletely heard due to the lack of an effective means to express certain groups of ideas, experiences, or thoughts. Kramarae calls these groups muted and focuses specifically on the muted group of women. She argues that language is "man-made" and "aids in defining, depreciating and excluding women" (Griffin,1997,459). Muted Group Theory sees language as excluding women based on several factors. For example the
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Kramarae’s Muted Group Theory would be quick to find male dominance in the shows. Kramarae would notice how masculine Murphy Brown’s voice is, how her costuming often includes ties and slacks, and how the character is reliant on males to make a good television program in order to please a white, male, superior/owner, whom her character must ‘answer to.’ of the fictitious station. Kramarae would also notice the traditional female roles of the other characters-- their whiny voices, short skirts, thin bodies and desire to marry and bear children (i.e., the character of Corky).

Another main argument of Muted Group Theory is the factor that women are muted in the workplace. Women must fight to shatter a "glass ceiling," a term probably coined since Kramarae’s death to recognize "an invisible barrier that limits advancement of women and minorities" (Wood, 1999, p.284) in the corporate world. Women must also use names that are based on competitive sports (i.e., an even playing field, see attached news article) or male oriented experience to be understood-- women do not have competitive terms of their own. For example discussions of golf, basketball, football, baseball, and other sports automatically assume males are the participants unless otherwise specified. These sports are not only socialized to be played by males, but historically have always been male oriented. Kramarae also notes that "anatomy is destiny;" in other words, if you are born into