Voices Let's Talk About Gender, Baby Essay

Pages: 3 (1142 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality

Voices

Let's Talk about Gender, Baby": The Interplay of Dominant and Alternative Voices

The voice of Wendy Kaminer, author of the essay "Let's Talk Gender, Baby" is clearly dominant within this essay, since Kaminer's voice begins and ends the essay itself, and since the author is responsible for placement, and treatment (e.g., serious; ironical; satirical) of all other voices "heard" (more accurately, "quoted" or "referred to") in the essay. Still, other voices definitely take their turns as well. Some voices other than the author's sound as if they are being satirized or parodied by the author. For example, in the title itself, "Let's Talk about Gender, Baby," Kaminer's use of the word "baby" (an outdated synonym for "girl," or "woman") parodies sexist male speech. Clearly, then, the title does not represent Kaminer's own voice. Other voices, however, particularly those of real people, are used more earnestly, though, even when Kaminer sometimes disagrees with them. I will identify and analyze multiple voices used by the author in "Let's Talk About Gender, Baby": in terms of patterns in the way the author uses those voices; and in terms of how the author uses, and controls, the various voices (including her own) that are heard within this essay.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Essay on Voices Let's Talk About Gender, Baby: The Assignment

The first voice(s) besides the author's occur in the second sentence of Paragraph 1. The beginning of that sentence uses the author's own voice, but then two other voices are introduced. The sentence itself reads: "The results [of trying to purge sexism from language] have not always been pretty: 'He knows what's good for him' is a far more felicitous phrase than 'he/she knows what's good for him/her" (Kaminer, "Let's Talk about Gender, Baby," paragraph 1). The two other voices, each punctuated by quotation marks, are unidentified. One or the other (perhaps both) may even be the author's. The first might be described as a standard American "pre-feminist voice," perhaps from the time when the exclusive pronoun "he" was still widely and un-self-consciously used, and linguists, scholars, and others had just begun to object to its exclusive use. However, it is also true that even now, many people still use the exclusive "he" pronoun. This voice, then, could be contemporary as well. The second alternative voice in that sentence represents a feminist. By juxtaposing the two "voices" so closely, though, Kaminer (still the dominant voice) shows how clumsy the second voice sounds compared to the first. Kaminer trivializes the second voice. However, Kaminer's voice also soon re-emerges to partly mitigate its earlier trivialization of the feminist voice by adding, in the fourth sentence of this same paragraph: "Still, I'm grateful that common usage no longer completely ignores the existence of women with words like mankind" [emphasis original] (Kaminer). The implication is that Kaminer actually supports feminist speech, so long as it does not sound awkward or clumsy.

However, the author next criticizes (and parodies) the voices of "feminist language police" who use words like "woman" or "women" as adjectives (Kaminer, "Let's Talk about Gender, Baby," paragraph two). For example, adjective phrases like "woman doctor" or "women doctors" should not be used, Kaminer argues (in her voice) unless gender-equivalent phrases like "man doctor" and "men doctors" are also used.

Another alternative voice is that of a [presumably male] partner in the accounting firm Price Waterhouse, who, in the 1989 case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, allegedly told a female employee denied promotion… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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"Voices Let's Talk About Gender, Baby."  Essaytown.com.  March 11, 2005.  Accessed September 18, 2021.
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