Muted Group Theory and the Little Mermaid

Topics: Gender, Male, Female Pages: 3 (822 words) Published: April 12, 2010
Muted Group Theory

This topic is to basically analyze the theory of Muted Group and to see how it correlates with Walt Disney’s The Litter Mermaid. What is Muted Group Theory? Muted Group Theory was first proposed by Edwin Ardner and the theory is an attempt to explain why certain groups in society are muted which means they are either silent or just not heard. Edwin Ardener was an anthropologist who discovered that a group becomes mute due to the lack of power that is experienced of a group with a low status. Ardener then realized that this particular theory might form more of a gender perspective. Females are seen as being constructed differently and it is these specific differences that cause females to act in a different way as opposed to males. It is these reasons that women and minorities are to be considered muted groups because they are considered to be of a lower status than the dominant groups. Ardener called the theory the muted group because these muted groups are liken to black holes since they are muffled, overlooked and invisible (Griffin. 2003: Prentice. 2005: Rogers 1978). It is not necessarily always seen that women are automatically muted or feel like a muted group but women believe that have no choice in order to “fit in” other than to change the way they act and talk. Women still live in a world that is dominated by men and women have taken the backseat to a man for centuries and depending on some cultures, the status of women and how they are viewed is not likely to change any time soon. There is quite a bit of power play being executed in environments where a specific group because of gender, race, or cultural background cannot be heard for who they are, but rather only by acting in ways they are reflective of who is “listening”, the dominant group. It would not be until Cheris Kramarae offered a different perspective to the Muted Group Theory. According to Cheris Kramarae, language is something that was constructed by...

References: Griffin, E. M. (1991). A first look at communication theory (3rd Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
ISU Communication Studies. (n.d.). Context of communication. Muted Group Theory Information Page. (1998, April 8).
Kramarae, C. (1996). Classified information: Race, class, and (always) gender. In J. Wood (Ed.), Gendered relationships (pp. 20-38). Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.
Kramarae, C. (1981). Women and men speaking: Frameworks for analysis. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
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