Working paper title
Agents of Socialisation: Do American sitcoms perpetuate gender stereotypes through their use of the speech act of interrupting?
According to Cultivation theory, watching television is a socialising process that affects our beliefs regarding the gender roles that men and women should play in society. It posits that through the language used to speak about women and also by the language they are depicted as using, television not only reflects gender stereotyping in society, but also creates and maintains it. This study uses Critical Discourse Analysis to analyse the use of the stereotypically gendered speech act of interrupting by both male and female scriptwriters of American sitcoms with either a male or female protagonist. The data was taken from episodes of four American sitcoms, two with female protagonists and two with male protagonists, which were selected based on their nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series between 2010 and 2015. Of note is the finding that each gender appears to hold the stereotype that the opposite gender interrupts their own gender more often than their gender interrupts the opposite gender, and that this stereotype seems to be more strongly held by female writers than male writers. These findings dispel the existence of a single gender stereotype for the speech act of interrupting, and suggest that each gender holds its own stereotype that is in direct opposition to that held by the opposite gender. The results indicate that relationships do appear to exist between the gender of the writer, the gender of the protagonist and the appearance of gendered speech, which has implications for the perpetuation of gender roles in society, however these relationships are not so clear and require further investigation.
- Agents of Socialisation: Do American sitcoms perpetuate gender stereotypes through their use of the speech act of interrupting? (PDF 756k)