Gender and Politeness: A Case Study on Advertising Discourse

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Title: Gender and Politeness: A Case Study on Advertising Discourse
Author: Vazquez-Hermosilla, Sandra
Abstract: The wide variety of beauty and body care products available in the market for industrialized societies clearly suggests that materialism and the beauty mystique move the world in which we live. Trying to conform to social rules that govern the various specific communities of practice in which we interact is a social behaviour that is common to all human beings. However, we wonder how those social rules are created, perpetuated and assimilated by society. It is a matter of fact that the world has long been divided by a gender-line leaving many times men and women playing in different parts of the same field of social life. Two important fields that have been gender-divided have been those of language and consumerism. Superimposing these two realities (language and consumerism) we come across what we call advertising discourse. My objective in this paper is to analyse different instances of advertising discourse to understand the relationship between language, looking through the lens of politeness theory, and the social dimension of gender. This analysis will show how advertising discourse is produced within a context which is constrained to the particular objective of moving H to buy a particular product. To do so, S must pay attention to both the positive and the negative face of H by means of using positive, negative and off-record politeness strategies. It is precisely in S attention to H´s face that gender identities may come into play. This study will show how advertisements adapt to new postmodern views of consumption and try to adapt to postfeminist gender ideas but, at the same time, rely on traditional dualistic gender stereotypes which perpetuate, in a more subtle way, a dichotomous and dangerous vision of the world.
Citation: Vazquez-Hermosilla, Sandra. (2012). "Gender and Politeness: A Case Study on Advertising Discourse."
Date: 2012-05-21

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