Recommended reading about gender and language, gender generally
January 28, 2015 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I was reading this comment by KathrynT about men's perceptions of women in groups being equal in number when the no. of women is 17%, women having to comprise over 80% of group members to get equal speaking time with men. I'd really like to know where this came from, about gender and language more widely, gender and misperceptions generally. I'm looking for book recommendations but am also interested in anything else you think is a good resource - blogs, articles etc.

TYIA for any tips you have!
posted by everydayanewday to Society & Culture (7 answers total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
I totally recommend Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett. They have done a lot of writing on bias, stereotypes and misperceptions of women, and how that affects women's work lives and personal lives. Their newest book is The New Soft War on Women, a response to Lean In-type rhetoric and aaaaaallllllll about this kind of thing you're asking about. Their site has lots of links to articles based on the book so you can get a preview.

Alternet's list of links to Caryl Rivers' previous articles about gender bias.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:27 PM on January 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

It's from research commissioned by Geena Davis for her Institute on Gender in Media. Here's where I found a good citation: "While watching children’s entertainment with her young daughter, Geena Davis was astounded by the dearth of female characters. Fueled to take action, she commissioned the largest research project on gender in film and television ever undertaken, conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. The research confirmed the disparity she observed: in family films, there is only one female character for every three male characters. In group scenes, only 17% of the characters are female."

And here are links to all of their research, since you'll probably be interested in that, too.
posted by Andrhia at 6:31 PM on January 28, 2015 [3 favorites]

I am reading a terrific book called Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine which basically pushes back on some of that well-known and well-publicized EvoBio stuff that says "Oh hey men's and women's brains really ARE different" Looks at the science. Looks at other science that brings questions to the original science. Talks about social roles and a lot of stuff. A little funny/snarky, but really digs at the "What do we know about gender differences and how much of this is just scientists sort of finding what they want to find...?" Really worthwhile.
posted by jessamyn at 6:39 PM on January 28, 2015 [6 favorites]

That particular set of stats came from Dale Spender, an Australian academic working in education.
posted by geek anachronism at 8:47 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Jackson Katz is an educator who talks about this kind of stuff, though a large amount of his focus is on violence against women, not just gender in general. His website is absolutely terrible, but try and look past that.
He did a Ted Talk not too long ago (transcript here).

Also, this book touches on how the "differences" between men and women are most likely just social reinforcements that are subconsciously inflicted at a very early age:
"The disciplining of children’s voices is gendered. I found that girls were told to be quiet or to repeat a request in a quieter, ‘nicer’ voice about three times more often than were boys (see Table 3). This finding is particularly interesting because boys’ play was frequently much noisier. However, when boys were noisy, they were also often doing other behaviors the teacher did not allow, and perhaps the teachers focused less on voice because they were more concerned with stopping behaviors like throwing or running.
Additionally, when boys were told to ‘quiet down’ they were told in large groups, rarely as individuals. […] Girls as individuals and in groups were frequently told to lower their voices… The girls learn that their bodies are supposed to be quiet, small, and physically constrained.
-Karin A Martin, from Becoming a Gendered Body (1998)" Which is available online for free from jstor
posted by FirstMateKate at 9:00 PM on January 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

Deborah Tannen's done a lot of work on communication styles, often with gender as a lens. I'd particularly recommend You Just Don't Understand and Talking from 9 to 5.
posted by xenization at 6:09 AM on January 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

Less science, more history: "The Public Voice of Women"
posted by glass origami robot at 10:40 PM on January 29, 2015

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