Research on Male/Female Politeness

Topics: Politeness theory, Politeness, Politeness maxims Pages: 4 (1572 words) Published: December 5, 2012
Jesus Duran
Anthropology 149S

In our society we have many expectations for both genders in terms of the way they speak and act. Not all individuals of their respective gender (male or female) tend always perform the way they are expected, many times consciously and on purpose and others unconsciously and unintentionally. This expected gender roles that are performed through language and actions reveal a lot of the gender asymmetries in our society. Many of these asymmetries are revealed in the ways in which levels of certainty and uncertainty are expressed in people’s speech. Moreover, face threatening acts and strategic ways to use politeness are means in which people some times displayed the expected genders and is also ways in which they break those societal expectations as well. In the second presidential debate we witness many ways in which the candidates and the moderator display and some times break this gender expectations. This is also where we can see many different communicative strategies that all parties use. Regardless of all the pressure that Crowley had over being a firmer mediator than Jim Lehrer, some of her and the candidates’ language strategies support a lot of the societal gender expectations, but some of it does not.

In the first clip we see Candy Crowley using negative politeness in her speech when she says, “Governor, I gotta, I gotta”. She is supporting his negative face because she is yielding (deference) to Romney by calling him by his title as “Governor”. In our society, I think it is safe to say that this type of speech is expected of Crowley because of her gender but also due to the formality of the debate. In this specific part she is using negative politeness and it is evident from the way she was supporting his negative face by calling him “Governor”. However, Romney completely diminishes her authority as moderator when he choses to ignore her and continue to talk. Crowley later uses positive politeness when...
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