Feminist Stylistics (Interface) by Sara Mills

By Sara Mills

During this well timed, provocative and full of life publication, Sara generators opens up the examine of fashion to feminist inquiry. Combining insights from literary and linguistic concept, she offers a intent for the interrogation of texts from a feminist standpoint. via an exam of either literary and non -literary texts; newspapers, pop songs and ads, she examines such concerns as sexism, political correctness, reader positioning, agency,and that means. Feminist Stylistics presumes no earlier wisdom of both feminist or stylistic idea. every one bankruptcy encompasses a brief expositiory part which exhibits how the problem has been mentioned through literary and linguistic theorists, after which is going directly to supply a feminist theoretical framework or critique. it is usually an intensive bibliography and offers readers with a tool-kit' with which to reveal the gender bias of either classic' and popular' texts.

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The gaze of the model also directly addresses the reader in a way which, in the context of this type of representation, is interpreted as sexually inviting. This look could be interpreted in a wide range of ways (for example, as forceful, as assertive) but because of the context, it will probably be assumed to be sexual. The feminist stylistician, drawing on this model of text, would also look outside the text itself to the context in which this text is consumed. She would examine the way that the text is used as a form of male bonding amongst certain sectors of the male population, so that the representation is not generally read by isolated individuals, but often forms part of male leisure talk, being the focus of comments about the merits of this particular model in relation to other Page Three ‘girls’.

The standard which Woolf suggests women should be aiming for could be interpreted as that of the stereotypical male sentence: ‘She will write in a rage where she should write calmly. She will write foolishly where she should write wisely. She will write of herself where she should write of her characters. 36 FEMINIST STYLISTICS She is at war with her lot’ (Woolf 1977:99). That is, the supposedly neutral but in fact male sentence is implicitly described as calm, wise and apparently objective and impersonal.

If analysed in detail, the meanings of particular items become less self-evident. The text’s primary purpose is entertainment of male readers, rather than information-transfer, and its referential meaning is ambiguous or obscure (for further analysis of page three, see, for example, Davies et al. 1987 and Gamman and Marshment 1988). Standard stylistic procedure would involve identifying and quantifying the language elements contained within the text. As theorists, it is more interesting to explore how the meaning of the text depends on the knowledge of certain catch-phrases, the assumption that sex and warfare can be somehow connected, and the readers’ ability to slot themselves into or resist the various forms of address.

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