Archive for the ‘Language and gender’ Category

Women’s jobs, men’s jobs, feminine language, masculine language

March 2, 2017

Another item from my blog backlog, this time a 2/17 piece by Claire Cain Miller in the NYT,  (in print) “Job Disconnect: Male Applicants, Feminine Language”, (on-line) “Job Listings That Are Too ‘Feminine’ for Men”. On the one hand, we have jobs that are widely considered to be the province of one sex rather than the other (and so are dominated by that sex). On the other hand, we have lexical items that have associations with one gender rather than the other. Meanwhile, there’s a need to attract more men into what have traditionally been “women’s jobs” — because that’s where the action is.

The article reports on research about how things might be jiggled in a positive direction via the way job ads are phrased. This can be only a small piece of a solution, but it’s a possible piece.


Language Sunday in the comics

December 12, 2016

Four in my comics feed Sunday morning: a One Big Happy with the derived adjective quotatious; a Zippy on pangrams; a Mother Goose and Grimm with an ambiguity in marine biologist; and a Doonesbury nominally about pronoun choices, but about much more.


Color-coordinating college

November 30, 2016

Yesterday’s Zits:

Some other orange schools: Florida, Princeton, Univ. of Miami, Oregon State, Idaho State, Oklahoma State. There’s also a bunch of schools with gold — but that’s yellow-orange, not straightforwardly orange. As for teal: Eckerd College, UNC-Wilmington, Coastal Carolina. Scripps has sea-foam green, which is very close to teal. (In any case, teal isn’t a basic color word in English, while orange is, so there’s a big imbalance here.)

There’s a suggestion in the strip that choosing a college on the basis of the school colors is silly, frivolous, inconsequential — the sort of thing an air-headed girl would do. I don’t see that it’s any more frivolous than choosing a college on the basis of the current fortunes of the football and basketball teams. (Please don’t just baldly assert that sports are important, serious, and fashion isn’t.)


November 11th, 2014

August 25, 2016

… was a banner day for cartoons in the New Yorker. Waiting a few minutes to get called in for routine blood tests at the Palo Alo Medical Foundation this morning, I chanced upon this particular issue of the magazine and found five cartoons of interest for this blog (plus some others I enjoyed but had no special interest here); all five were from artists already familiar on this blog.


xkcd mansplaining

August 6, 2016

Yesterday‘s xkcd, “Time Travel Thesis”:

A man’s gotta explain what a man’s gotta explain.


Pleasures of patriotic penetration

June 17, 2016

(Well, dildos and vibrators, so not for everybody.)

Passed on by Jeff Shaumeyer on Facebook, a startling sex toy, from the BlogRebellen website yesterday:


Fühl den Nationalstolz tief in dir mit dem Deutschland-Dildo ‘Feel national pride deep within you with the Deutschland Dildo’

Black, red, and gold (the colors of the German national flag, in order, here from the black Eichel, or dickhead,  to the gold Hoden, or balls), in silicone, with natural-looking veining and a suction-cup base. Be a penis patriot: fuck yourself the bold Teutonic way!


Anti-spam architect (plus a mathemagician)

May 21, 2016

The anti-spam architect would be Elizabeth Zwicky in a “Yahoo Women in Technology Profile” by Michael McGovern (Talent Community Manager at Yahoo!) on the 18th. The piece is in the form of an interview, but with questions submitted in writing by McGovern and answers written out by EDZ, so you get the full flavor of her writing — lucid, pointed, often wry. There are photos: one of EDZ with her team, one an unposed head shot of her which catches her nicely. It’s a bit too light, a consequence of the fact that the photographer (Opal Eleanor Armstrong Zwicky, then age 6) was a novice at the camera, though she already had a good eye):



Bad bro days

April 28, 2016

The story of the address term bro in relatively recent years begins with its use by black men to black men, roughly (but not exactly) like the widely used American buddy — a term of male affiliation. It then spread into the wider culture, serving as a mark of male solidarity. This is what I called in a 4/12/16 posting “good”, positive, bro. But male solidarity tends to come with a dark side: rejection of anything perceived as feminine, played out as sturdy misogyny and homo-hatred in general; and the elevation of boys’ clubs (formed for whatever reasons) to boys-only clubs, aggressively hostile to women and to men perceived as inferior. When these guys use bro to address (or refer to) one another, then we’ve got what I called “bad”, negative, bro.

Regular use of bad bro between men in groups, for instance by fraternity boys and so-called brogrammers, has led to a steady pejoration of the term for people outside those male groups; bro is now a tainted term for many people, calling up unpleasant images of aggressive masculinity.

A brief review of these matters on this blog, then two recent entries in the conversation. And a cartoon too!


Loving couples

February 16, 2016

Two things that came to my attention over this holiday (Valentine’s and Presidents Day) weekend, both involving same-sex couples: a piece on two men who are a couple (an engaged couple, in fact), Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black, in the February issue (the “love” issue) of OUT magazine; and a review (in the NYT Book Review on the 14th) of a children’s picture book about two hermaphroditic worms in love.

In both cases, the question is how these couples will present themselves and how they will be portrayed in images (photographs or illustrations) — in particular, how they will treat the conventions of coupledom for other-sex pairs, in which the sexes are often sharply distinguished. There are three possibilities: (a) to embrace these conventions; (b) to abandon them, by appearing as equals; and (c) to fragment them, by assigning each partner a mixture of them. Daley & Black present themselves / are presented sometimes via (b), sometimes (c), and the worms go for (c). I’ll get to (a) — which is well represented in male-male couples in gay porn, and sometimes in real life — after some discussion of Daley & Black.


Morning names: wiles, Wiles

February 9, 2016

Sunday’s morning name was the common noun wiles, but that led me to the adjective wily, the proper name Wile E. Coyote, and to people with the family name Wiles, in particular the mathematician Andrew Wiles and the gay pornstar Kevin Wiles. Actually, being who I am, I thought of Kevin first and then got to Andrew, but I’m going to take them in the other order here, because until I get to Kevin Wiles, there’s nothing especially racy here, but once I get to KW, we go deep into the world of men’s bodies and man-man sexual acts, and the posting turns into things that are definitely not for kids or the sexually modest. When I get to that point, I’ll raise a flag, and you can decide whether you want to bail out. That last section is certainly verbally X-rated, but though there are photos, the ones here aren’t visually X-rated; I posted the X-rated KW images (8 of them) on AZBlogX yesterday.