The Appalachian

Social speech norms continue to silence women

The+Appalachian+Online
Back to Article
Back to Article

Social speech norms continue to silence women

The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian Online

Lauren Burrows

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Sexism is entrenched in much more of America’s social cues than most of us realize. The roots of America’s “woman problem” not only extend deep into our institutions, but as far into our human systems as to permeate our means of communication with one another.

Verbal speech, the most common system of communication humans have with one another, has left half of the human population unaccounted for.

Women have once again been silenced by the patriarchal hand that our speech systems originated under.

Girls, at a young age, are expected to hold a more subservient attitude in speech, whereas their male counterparts are expected to be more assertive and humorous. These expectations have left lingering effects on women and how they are heard.

American society teaches girls at a young age that what they speak about is unimportant. Even in the home setting, parents are twice as likely to speak over daughters than sons, and when they do talk to their daughters, they are twice as likely to talk about chores, according to BBC.

In a study by Cambridge University, up to two thirds of classroom time was given to engagement with male students. Male students are also typically viewed as being penalized by having to sit still and stay quiet in school, where this same point is rarely made toward girls, who are assumed to be naturally quiet and well-behaved.

These sexist assumptions are carried into adulthood, where in a social mixed-gender setting, women are viewed as “dominating the conversation” if they speak only 30 percent of the time, according to a study at the University of Texas.

Based on the same idea shown to boys at a young age – that women’s speech is of little importance – men are more likely to interrupt and speak over women than the opposite. Many times, a woman will make a statement and gain no response, only to have a man repeat it afterward, bringing about conversation and debate.

In this way, the male gender is viewed as holding superior status to the female, which greatly influences women’s status and stance in society. As a result, women, especially those in professional roles, are hindered because of speech cues regardless of how qualified she may be to excel in their positions.

The confusion of “women’s speech” with “unimportant dialogue” is dangerous, and both women and men would benefit from language being held by more gender-neutral guidelines.

Holding socialized male speech dominance to a higher standard and being more aware of sexist speech can help women’s voices to regain their volume.

Burrows, a freshman journalism major from Mint Hill, is an opinion writer.

COLUMN: Lauren Burrows, Opinion Writer

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Social speech norms continue to silence women”

  1. Reconquistador on April 15th, 2015 8:06 pm

    “Even in the home setting, parents are twice as likely to speak over daughters than sons, and when they do talk to their daughters, …”

    Women speak twice as much or even more than men so that’s hardly surprising. After a while it becomes white noise. Men speak less so, when we do speak, people tend to listen. Doesn’t take a WGS course to recognize the obvious.

  2. Anonymous on April 16th, 2015 9:07 am

    Also doesn’t take a WGS course to realize your invalid data endorsing your sexist remark

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Opinion

    Mass layoff of journalists will hurt quality of news in future

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Columns

    Q’s Corner: Pre-existing conditions

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Opinion

    App State’s relationship with Google raises concerns over data privacy

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Opinion

    OPINION: Record labels should drop abusive performers

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Columns

    Q’s Corner: Pabst Blue Ribbon sales

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Boone Appetit

    OPINION: Food inspection in the US is not as effective as previously thought

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Columns

    Q’s Corner: Reopening the government

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Opinion

    OPINION: Covington Catholic High School’s history proves racism in capitol standoff

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Columns

    Q’s Corner: Separation of Church and State

  • Social speech norms continue to silence women

    Opinion

    OPINION: Purdue Pharma and the Opioid Epidemic

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Appalachian State University
Social speech norms continue to silence women