Linguistic sexism : A study of sexist language in a British online newspaper

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för språk (SPR)

Abstract: The aim of this study is to investigate the occurrence of sexist language-use in the British online newspaper The Daily Mail. The material consists of 162 articles that were analysed by using feminist stylistics. The scope of the study was limited to selected features from feminist stylistics at word- and discourse-level. The features of linguistic sexism analysed were the use of gendered generic words, naming of females and males and how female and male characters are described. The gender of the journalists was also analysed to examine if it affected the language-use in terms of sexism. The results show that linguistic sexism is expressed to some extent at both word-level and discourse-level. At word-level linguistic sexism is expressed inthe generic use of some masculine words, the difference of how first name and surname are used to refer to women and men and in the use of titles. At the level of discourse linguistic sexism is expressed in the difference of how women and men are referred to in terms of their relationship to others and in terms of appearance. The gender of the journalist did not show any significance for the language-use in terms of sexism. Considering the limited material of the study, the results might not be suitable for generalisations. The results are nonetheless interesting and it can be concluded that the toolkit of feminist stylistic is relevant to this day and that linguistic sexism exists to some extent in the online version of The Daily Mail.

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