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The Role of Expletives in the Construction of Masculinity

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Angela Panzero

on 7 December 2015

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Transcript of The Role of Expletives in the Construction of Masculinity

"Sex Role Theory" (Connell, 1995, pp. 21 - 27)

Self-attribute and self perception



Role Model
"I aim to show how attitudes towards gender-related use of expletives appear to be in transition, and that this, in turn, can be interpreted as a reflection of changing power relations between the sexes." (de Klerk, 1997, 145)
The Study
Expletives and Masculinity
Power and Speech Styles
Powerful Speech Style portrayed by men
Men are expected to be more assertive
Are expletives regarded as a way to display power and masculinity?

The Role of Expletives in the Construction of Masculinity
Weaknesses in the Study
Socioeconomic status
Numerical values assigned to swear words
Questionnaire bias
Social desirability bias
Variables examined
Numerical values assigned to swear words
Significance of findings
Expletives as Symbols of Masculinity and Power
Western Cultures
"To break norms, to shock, show disrespect for authority, or be witty or humorous" (p. 147)
Group membership and shared interests
Daring and defiant
Burgoon et al. (1983)
Condoned for men
Situation changing
Pressure on Males to Conform
Adolescent males
Status indicators
Social Success and usage of expletives
Pressure on men
Not appealing to some men
Many throughout background
Oliver et al. (1975), Bailey and Timm (1976), and Staley (1978)
Smith-Hefner (1988)
Each factor is important and relates to power: age, sex, and school-type

All male schools showed less expletive use
Less need to reinforce gender identity

Coed schools have increase pressure on male students

Ranking system: annoyance, shock, pain, horror, indignation, mild inconvenience, and delight.

Positive to negative: Friend of same sex, opposite sex friend, stranger (adult), father, mother, teacher.

Consistent results

Scored 1-5 (negative-positive)
Attitudes give indication of current stereotypes
Age and gender linked positively to expletive usage
“Nice girls don’t swear but nice boys can (and ought to?).” (p. 154)

De Klerk's Thoughts
stereotype confirmed (somewhat)

expected outcomes

bandwagon use

Not enough to support "Sex Role Theory"

Females break taboos

New methods to be masculine
Discussion Questions
De Klerk cites Connell, 1995, that masculinity is "in crisis". Before recent changes in society e.i. feminism, masculinity was well defined and understood.

Based on de Klerk's work, do you believe that masculinity is "in crisis" with regards to speech? If so explain. If not explain.

Discussion Questions
De Klerk reported that the boys were more likely to use expletives in coed settings in order to exert masculinity. What other motives could there be for males to use expletives?
Discussion Questions
What speech acts, other than expletives, might construct masculinity?
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