In society. This could be seen in the European

In
the previous centuries, the socio-economics status of women was weaker than
men. They didn’t have authority to work in high position, vote, and they even
modified as sexual objects. From the book Ways
of Seeing (1972), written by John Berge, he mentioned that the social
presence of women has developed as a result that they have to concern about
themselves being looked in the society. This could be seen in the European oil
painting. Women have usually treated as the sexual object in the paintings, “because
the ‘ideal’ spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman
is designed to flatter him (Berge 64).” The unequal relationship between men
and women is implanted to our culture and from our way of linguistic use.

            Robin Lakoff, a famous linguist who
was born in 1942, wrote a book Language
and Woman’s Place(1975), which discovers that women in the society were led
to use different aspects and ways in their speech than men, and they treated
differently in the communication in the world. Lakoff mentions “Language uses
us as much as we use language (Lakoff 45),” The quote indicates that the
society standardized the unspoken rule of “language use,” which wordings are
modified by gender, races, socio-economic status and social context. People in
the next generation learn the standardized linguistic use from the teachers. Then,
they are imperceptibly influenced by the language while they are using the
language. “Women language” is the product of the unspoken rule that creates gender
inequality between men and women. And yet it could be separated into two parts:
the language that women were taught to use and the language that to describe
women (Lakoff 46). The linguistic use is affected by the society and the
culture that women have become a controversial issue in the use of language. I
totally agree with Robin Lake on the gender inequality in the linguistic use.
She mentioned how the women and girl be affected about the ways of language use
in home, school and society.

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            Our language follows the standard language
ideology that Lippi-Green mentioned language could be the tool to rank people
who have differences compared to the majorities who had powers. “A bias toward
an abstracted, idealized, homogenous spoken language…which is drawn from spoken
language of the upper middle class (Lippi 67).” The book indicates the language
subordination process that people are forced to give up their native tongue and
use the same language that the majority is using. That is similar to the point
that women as the weaker part of the society have to subordinate the language
in the way they want to speak, and have to follow the social instruction.
Language is maintained by the people who have powers and the social values.

            People are taught to learn the
specific linguistic use to determined their gender from their speech, which
gender is performative functioning as same as the linguistic construction. They
are modified by the social reality that there is no stance or meaning by
itself, besides, it follows by how the society maintain the values of sexuality
which women were assumed to have special lexicon and less certainty in their
words. In the book Performative Acts and
Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory, “Gender
is a performance with clearly punitive consequences…those who fail to do their
gender right are regularly punished. (Butler 522)” It refers to the point that
our performance in different ways such as talk, walk and that amalgamate the
impression of being a man or a woman. Lakoff strengthens the point by focusing
on discrimination of color and adjectives, the use of different particles in
man and woman’s speech will be considered as the essential factor of the
impression from the listener. Women who used the masculinity wordings could be
ostracized by the society as they may be interpreted as homosexual or interior
decorator. Lakoff also brings out that this kind of stereotyping will only
happen to women instead of man. For instance, a man who described some special
color names such as crimson, papayawhip or thistle will not be stereotyped
because “Men tend to relegate to women things that are not of concern to them,
or do not involve their egos (Lakoff 49).” There are different attitudes
towards the men and women using the language.

            The
language of men and women have different social connotations that would be used
in the conversation in the community. Although the feminism is much more common
now, people are still afraid of how their social image will be affected by the
way they speak. Lakoff lists out several ideas about how the women are led to
use some features of speech such as hedges, tag questions and empty adjectives.
Compared to men’s speech, women’s language
is more polite than the men, as they were not allowed to be overpowered and
using aggressive language in the past. Women learn to use “women language” to present
their ideas, so that the way they speak won’t be stereotyped and categorized as
the aberration of the society. They could be easier and generally accepted by
the majorities as they are the weaker position compared the male. “This constitutes one way
in which a performance is in a sense, ‘socialized,’ moulded and modified to fit
into the understanding and expectations of the society… (Goffman 22).” Goffman suggested in his book Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life (1956) that when an
individual started to present himself, his performance would usually follow the
social norm. When the performance is different to how the society modified as a
suitable act, performer will cover their true opinion and follow the
expectations of the society. Women, as socialized as the weaker position, don’t
want to be judged by the society because of their opinions. Therefore, women
choose to change their question intonation or use a tag question like “He looks
so tired, doesn’t he?” That creates the uncertainty of their sentence which
avoid creating conflicts with the addressees.

            On the other hand, language
reinforced the image on how women should be like. It stereotypes the cultural
implication about the social role of women. Lakoff mentions about the
euphemistic use of the word “lady” in describing women. She provides convincing
evidence in working titles and differences between the euphemism of “Gentleman”
and “lady”. For instance, there is “cleaning lady”, but there is no “cleaning
gentleman”, “doctor lady” or “garbage gentleman”. The word “lady” in career
field is mostly come with the low-paid jobs, which the term “lady” symbolizes
the women are helpless, less-skilled, as “lady” influenced the reputation of
the women. The language creates image of the powerlessness of the women by
using the euphemistic terms. This is similar to the blacks that they are
created image by the European and whites: “to make him talk pidgin is to fasten
him to the effigy of him… the eternal victim of an essence, of an appearance
for which he is not responsible (Fannon 22).” 
The only way the image can be changed is through the acquisition of the
language use, which to gain more power and social acceptance to change the
inequality in language.

            Education of language use to the new
generation would to help for them to indicate the way to speak in the society. Teachers
have their responsibility to be aware and determine the kind of language they
are speaking with the students. “Language learning thus goes beyond phonology,
syntax, and semantics: but it takes a perceptive teacher to notice the pitfalls
and identify them correctly for students (Lakoff 76).” After the students have
a better understanding in language, it helps to change the unspoken rules as
they will know their way to speak in the society. They could express more their
opinions and accommodate themselves in the society.

            As the language in the past is
developed under the male chauvinism until the women’s liberation movement in
1960, it creates the gender inequality in the development of the language use.
The promotion of feminism is more common right now and we change see the changes
of language becoming gender neutral. For example, we don’t mention policeman
anymore, but we use the terms of police instead. However, the essence of the
language is hard to change because of our traditional culture and information
we received. The language is controlled by society while we are using language
to work in the society.