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There Is No Unmarked Woman

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Belinda Han

on 12 December 2014

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Transcript of There Is No Unmarked Woman

There Is No Unmarked Woman
Author Background
Second Shift:
Biology Portion
Historical Context
Published in 1993
Second wave feminism/gender revolution era ending, people becoming less interested in equality in the workplace
Tannen observes the undeniable inequalities through her writing
Women's choices when it comes to choosing to become working mothers or not marks them
Deborah Frances Tannen
Born June 7, 1945 in Brooklyn, NY
Professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington D.C
Studied Binghampton University, Wayne University, and University of California, Berkley
Has her Ph.D in linguistics
Tannen is the author of several books including You Just Don't Understand:Women and Men in Conversation, and many others
"World's most famous linguist"

Author: Ralph Fasold
Professor at Georgetown University -
Works with Deborah Tannen
author of
Sociolingusitics of Language
- 1990
Research is in syntax and sociolingustics
"A '
' and a '
are both unmarried, and one is a man and one is a woman. "
Sociolingustics of Language
, 113
Different connotations
Bachelor - Happy, free, unmarried by choice
Spinster - Old, lonely, sad
Fasold's work demonstrates by changing the suffix -- male to female-- drastically changes meaning
Third Shift
Master v. Mistress
As Tannen begins to shift from Biology argument, she switches to past tense
She is implying that society is at fault, but cannot necessarily be blamed since the "markedness" of women is inevitable
Here, Tannen is expressing her disagreement with what she has observed, but understanding that it simply cannot change
Being a woman and speaking about the relationship between men and women marks one as a feminist, ("Merely mentioning women and men marked me as a feminist for some')
Tannen shifts back to present tense to argue value and develops her pathos by showing sadness and defeat towards the situation ("I felt sad to think that we women didn't have the freedom to be unmarked")
Tannen's Strategy

Emma Watson's UN speech, delivered more than 10 years after Tannen's essay was published
Tannen and Watson share common idea that comparing men and women is too often seen as "man-hating"
The time gap between the two works but similarity of purpose works to strengthen Tannen's argument that "markedness" can't change, and women will most likely never possess the freedom of being unmarked
Develops her logos and ethos in this section.
Logical appeal: uses biology research
The scientific argument convinced more than emotional appeal
Separates herself from a "ranting feminist" with even tone, appeals to wider audience
Creates uniqueness in her argument.
Ethical appeal: presents sources to present herself as credible.
Biological - Linguistic
"Fasold points out that girls are born with fully female bodies, while boys are born with modified female bodies"
"Fasold ends his discussion of these matters by pointing out that if language reflected biology, grammar books would direct us to use 'she' to include males and females and 'he' only for specifically male referents."
XX v. XY
Tannen uses logical reasoning: makes it clear that it is illogical that women are the marked case; her argument simply makes sense
Reader Asks Why?
Transition into Shift 3
"Writing this article may mark me not as a writer, not as a linguist, not as an analyst of human behavior, but as a feminist, - which will have positive or negative, but in any case powerful, connotations for readers. Yet I doubt that anyone reading Ralph Fasold's book would put that label on him"
The Great Gatsby
Gender Roles
Tom, Myrtle, Daisy
"All right...I'm glad it's a girl. And I hope she'll be a fool -- that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool" (Fitzgerald 17)
Trophy wives
Women used to flaunt husbands social status
First Shift
Marked vs. Unmarked
examining the fact that women are subject to harsher judgement for every action taken or choice made
Early 90s
Linguistics as a comparison to women in society
Not technically feminist or anti-feminist
Passage on page 3
Frivolous, doctorette
Is there a truth behind her words?
Passage on page 3
Chronological order of cause and effect events
Passage on page 3 (again)
Thorough descriptors
The differences in men's and women's marked styles
Page 46 of Zeitoun
9/11 created marks
situational/general = marking still occurs
What are other occasions either in Zeitoun or your life where marking was evident?
Tannen uses present tense to develop her pathos at the conclusion of her essay
Admitting to her own emotions after spending a large part of her essay making herself credible ("I felt sad to think..."
Tannen says that women don't have the freedom to be unmarked, this is effective because her audience of mostly America citizens highly value freedom, something that our country boasts of, and showing the lack of freedom that women have to be unmarked inflicts emotion
Governor v. Governess
To make people more aware of how deeply gendered stereotypes affect the way society perceives women
Deborah Frances Tannen - linguist, author of multiple books about gender and communication
published in the New York Times
general public
some parts are aimed more towards a female audience, other parts towards a male audience
written for society as a whole
Rhetorical Situation
Women's Brains
Demonstrates society judged women based on appearance/size
"Women, like it or not, had smaller brains than men and therefore, could not equal them in intelligence."
uses physical descriptions as well as personality traits (for women)
Strengthens the idea that everyone looks through a "marked" lens
Descriptions of men less detailed; no mention of personality
Pre-determined mindsets --> predicate personality
Repetition instills idea into readers' minds
Elections Today
portrayal of women very important
Coverage of a woman's appearance has a
effect on her candidacy
Name It. Change It. is working to discourage media's focus on appearance
Full transcript