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Fighting Against Women Discrimination: Comparing Robin Lakoff’s “You Are What You Say” and Adrienne Rich’s “Taking Women Students Seriously”

  • Date Submitted: 11/30/2011 09:12 AM
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Fighting Against Women Discrimination: Comparing Robin Lakoff’s “You Are What You Say” and Adrienne Rich’s “Taking Women Students Seriously”

In 1848, the Seneca Fills Convention adopted the Declaration of Sentiments based on the US Declaration of Independence. This document demands women’s right to vote, to own property, and to education”(Stanton, 70). It is one of the first women’s right movements that succeeded in capturing public attention and raising women’s awareness of the gender inequality in the American society. However, more than one hundred years later, in both Robin Lakoff’s “You Are What You Say” and Adrienne Rich’s “Taking Women Students Seriously,” Lakoff and Rich claim that sexism against women exists, because historically and linguistically women are perceived and treated as inferior to men. These two articles both illustrate the negative effects of the gender inequality biased against women and also encourage women to seek equal rights and opportunities; however, they are different in structure and tone of voice. Moreover, I believe they overemphasize the disadvantage of women’s roles and images and overlook the existence of male discrimination. Furthermore, fortunately some gender inequality issues mentioned in the articles are outdated and widely considered as unacceptable in our current society.
One similarity between these two articles is that both Lakoff and Robin are aimed at female audience. “You Are What You Say” is published in Ms. Magazine, which pertains to women’s concerns of how women’s language makes women seem to be inferior to men. For instance, according to the article, the word woman implies submission and tentativeness. Comparably, “Taking Women Students Seriously,” is an article based on a speech that was made at a women teachers meeting in 1948; it shows how women are mistreated in society. For example, male students tend to have more privileges in class than do female students. The sexism in language and in environment,...

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