Nov 8, 2017 in Analysis


The term “marked” harbors the same dictionary meaning on the social platform, yet its realization significantly differs in the social context especially as pertains the gender phenomenon. Focusing on the feminine gender, “markedness” reflects on those aspects that make the constituents noticeable, distinguishable, designated or conspicuous. Exploration on articles on the woman as a marked species precipitates multiples of approaches that ultimately assert the feminine gender as marked. In tandem to the conception of linguists who acknowledged that  markedness refers to the basic or unnatural form, women have long stuck this class, as portrayed in their dressing style, aesthetic consciousness or lack of it and also as propagated by the societal values. The superficial meaning of the word markedness which focuses on the notion of being singled out especially for a dire fate and women, to a certain extent can effectively be said to suit the recipe for such an understanding. In total awareness of the aforementioned concepts, an inspection on the definitions of markedness clearly outlined in the society through articles can be carefully investigated. The articles written by Tannen and Vivienne Walt are majorly capable of giving an in-depth analysis on the marked woman, yet it is arguable that this meaning is not achieved from equal dimensions.   

The general argument that women are marked proves to be a similarity in both writings. However, their difference is propagated by their viewpoints, which is explicated by an analysis of the culture within which the articles form their context. A detailed survey of an academic conference in which Tannen pits the feminine gender alongside their male counterparts provides her with a perfect base for her argument. In her own observation, all women in attendance stuck to clothing, hairstyles and accessories which sought to elaborate their personas. Her subjective study of her subjects shows a particularly distant sense of awareness for the same elements in her male counterparts partially because of the lack of attention from the subjects or due to the little the men pay to their styles. The similarity of their suits sums it all as case closed and an unmarked verdict passed. This show a difference between the men and women, a gender inspired coherence that only the women worked hard to achieve. By exploring the meaning of marked from a linguistic point of view, Deborah Tannen is able to impact greatly on her conclusions of the male gender as unmarked whereas to her the female gender is marked. This prompts her into an inquisition into the biological differences that genders endear and have subsequently been marked in language.

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