Muted Group Theory Essay

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Muted Group Theory Cheris Kramarae, professor of speech communication at the University of Illinois, would probably feel closer to satisfied if the summary section of this paper were not necessary, if the connotations and ideas that muted group theory entails came to mind automatically. Unfortunately though, I would confuse a great deal of people if I used the terms "muted group theory" in writing and conversation without further explanation. This demonstrates a fundamental concept in Kramarae's theory. Muted group theory was designed to explore the experience of a subordinate group, particularly women, and therefore, the majority of the general public does not recognize it. In order for the theory to become wide spread the dominant…show more content…
These perceptions and experiences must first be filtered through or translated into the dominant (patriarchal) system of communication. This involves continual effort and incessant self-monitoring. Terms must be selected cautiously. Oftentimes revealing a single idea or sentiment requires extensive illustration, narratives and/or examples because that idea or sentiment does not have a label in the present lexicon. For example, this was a crucial obstacle in the establishment of what we now know to be sexual harassment. Women had to paint the entire situation and how it made them feel, whereas now we can say there was an incident of sexual harassment and there is general understanding. If a woman ignores the translation process and instead changes her vocabulary, grammar and style, men will simply not listen or reject her message. Again, using the development of the concept of sexual harassment, had a woman used the word unaccompanied by illustration, men would not have assigned the problem validity (or even considered it a problem) because it would have been too foreign to their experiences and understanding. She has arrived at a double bind, either way she loses. She conforms to man's world in which she is depreciated or she invents her own path and is ignored and/or ridiculed. There is a great deal of danger in conforming. It is difficult, if not impossible to some extent, to buy into a language and not buy into its corresponding worldview. Griffin
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