Muted Group Theory Addresses the Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks. Girls play hopscotch and boys play football. Girls cry and boys do not. These essential shaping experiences create divisions between the genders, and proscribe gendered behaviors. In order to conform, both men and women buy into the gendered and stratified society. This gendered society is hierarchically organized so that men enjoy positions of political power with far greater proportions than women. Men, who are referred to as "founding fathers," have set the rules. If women want a modicum of political, social, or economic status they must also play by the same rules. A woman becomes successful only by acting "like a man" and using male vocabulary and discourse including that of power over others and oppression. Alternatively a woman becomes successful by acting in the extreme feminized version of herself, by sexualizing herself. This is because men understand women as sexualized objects and as tools or playthings for men. When women conform to this ideal, they are speaking the dominant male language and thus may become successful. Women rarely have the opportunity to develop their own rules by which to define success. Without the creation of subcultures or countercultures, the role of women in society is subservient and secondary.

The labor of women is denigrated, as strict gender roles and norms segregate the sexes in the public and private spheres. Muting occurs by lambasting women who protest their subordinate position in society. Women are labeled as nags or bitches when they speak out. This effectively mutes women. Moreover, Muted Group Theory also suggests that the patriarchal control of communication presents real and measurable frustrations that can become neuroses or psychological problems. As men establish the prevailing paradigms, discourse, and vocabulary, women become frustrated when they are misunderstood.

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