Sunday, November 13, 2005

Tube tips for women

Hot on the heels of Hull City Council's problem with "ladies", comes another issue that concerns language and the representation of women. The government has recently produced a document (reproduced below in images) giving women tube travellers advice on a range of personal safety issues, like, umm, always carry a cereal bar with you and don't use your party shoes to wedge a carriage door open.

Zoe Williams, writing in yesterday's Guardian Weekend, takes issue with not only the graphology of the leaflet but its patronising lexical choices, arguing that the whole leaflet is demeaning and outrageous.

A storm in a teacup, or a reasonable cause to complain? You can decide...


Useful for:
ENA1 - Language & Representation

1 comment:

*Chrissyfloss*- ex SFXian said...

In continuation of the broad theme of gender and linguistics- if literary review ever needs to be expanded, French psychologist Lacan can be used to support Dale Spender's theory of Man-Made Lang'

Lacan argues that the symbolic order (the world as we understand it through the labeling of signs) is not neutral and that it is ideologically embedded with patriarchy. This helped feminists see Lacan as on their side. Spender supports him with the evidence of lexical asymmetry.

Plato is also often used by feminists to back up a long tradition of women being seen as unequal (or so my lecturer informs me) as he professes only two types of love, the greatest of which being that between men.

More interestingly for me however with Lacan, is the expansion of the theory i briefly tried to summarise earlier- Lacan argues that when we (women) say “I am” (apparently reserved for the masculine gender), we are conforming to the masculine. This suggests women are ventriloquists- we have to become the male in order to speak in an almost schizophrenic manner.

If you want to be really posh, you can add (as quoted by Dr Fernihough-) This can be referred to as the Freudian phase of linguistic theory- the supposition of the self from the mother; the child sees itself as a separate entity in a similar way to women seeing themselves as separate.

In relation to the original post (yes i did actually have a point), perhaps with this whole "designed by women for women" statement if we take it as true, is a result of the skitzophrenic language needed to be used by women in order to be understood in a male-dominated world..?

[Either that or I have been paying too much attention to lang' in lectures.. really must stop doing this..]

happy studying!