Latest Issue: Vol 13, No 3 (2019) RSS2 logo

Gender and Language

Rodrigo Borba, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Kira K. Hall, University of Colorado at Boulder, United States

Mie Hiramoto, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Book Review Editor
Federica Formato, University of Brighton, United Kingdom

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Open Access Virtual Issue Now Available!

We are very pleased to announce that our first FREE TO DOWNLOAD Virtual Special Issue, “Corpus Approaches to Gender and Language”(V1, 2013), edited by Paul Baker, is now available to access here.

About the Journal

There are many journals focused on gender and many devoted to language. Most of these sometimes publish articles on language and gender. There is, however, currently no single scholarly journal to which those interested in gender and language can turn as contributors looking for an audience sharing their focus or as readers seeking a reliable source for on-going discussions in the field. Gender and Language fills the gap by offering an international forum for research on and debates about feminist research on gender and language.Gender and Language showcases research on femininities and masculinities, on heterosexual and queer identities, on gender at the level of individual performance or perception and on gender at the level of institutions and ideologies.

As a point of departure, Gender and Language defines gender along two key dimensions. First, gender is a key element of social relationships often loosely linked to perceived differences between the sexes. Gender relations are encoded in linguistic and symbolic representations, normative concepts, social practices, institutions and social identities. Second, gender is a primary arena for articulating power, intersecting in complex ways with other axes of inequality, like class, race, and sexuality. Gender is understood as multi-faceted, always changing, and often contested: the editors welcome discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of competing definitions of gender and of new analytical perspectives.

The journal encourages discussion and debate about the implications of different definitions of gender and different approaches to analyzing the production and interpretation of texts and speech. It welcomes research employing a range of linguistic approaches (e.g. conversation analysis, discourse and text analysis, ethnography of communication, pragmatics, variationist sociolinguistics, interactional sociolinguistics, stylistics) and from a variety of disciplines, including linguistics, anthropology, women and gender studies, education, philosophy, psychology, folklore, sociology, communication studies, queer studies, literary and cultural studies, as it aims to foster interdisciplinary discussion and dialogue among these disciplines.

Publication Frequency
four issues a year from 2017
ISSN: 1747-6321 (print)
ISSN: 1747-633X (online)

Abstracting & Indexing
The journal is covered by:

  • Social Sciences Citation Index      
  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index
  • Journal Citation Reports/Social Sciences Edition
  • Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Current Contents/Arts & Humanities
  • Scopus Abstract and Citation Database  
  • Linguistics Abstracts
  • Educational Research Abstracts Online
  • MLA Bibliography
  • Bibliography of Linguistic Literature (BIBL)
  • SocIndex with FullTEXT
  • Linguistics and Language Behaviour Abstracts
  • Feminist Periodicals: A Current Listing of Contents
  • European Reference Index (ERIH Plus)

  • Metrics

    Journal Impact Factor 2018: 0.286 (Clarivate Analytics, 2017 data)

    CiteScore 2018: 0.45

    SNIP 2018: 0.547

    SJR 2018: 0.253

    For general inquires, please contact:General Inquiries

    Most Viewed Articles


    Do bodies matter? Travestis' embodiment of (trans)gender identity through the manipulation of the Brazilian Portuguese grammatical gender system

    This study investigates Southern Brazilian travestis’ manipulation of gender identity through the manipulation of the Portuguese grammatical gender system. We argue that
    the embodiment of feminine features onto biologically male bodies enables travestis to wander through various ideologies about masculinity and femininity and incorporate these ideologies in their linguistic construction of identity. Travestis use masculine forms to refer to themselves or other travestis when: (1) producing narratives about the time before their body transformations took place; (2) reporting speech produced by others when talking about travestis; (3) talking about themselves within their family relationships; and, perhaps the most unveiling category, (4) distinguishing
    themselves from ‘other’ travestis they do not identify with – a face-saving strategy. Thus, the study shows how southern Brazilian travestis use the grammatical gender
    system in Portuguese as a linguistic resource to manipulate their identity/ies and the identity/ies of the community they belong to.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Social constructionism, postmodernism and feminist sociolinguistics

    This article argues that it is time to put women back at the centre of language and gender research. Following a discussion of some issues with social constructionist
    and postmodernist approaches to the analysis of gendered social interaction, a case is made for identifying general (often repressive or constricting) patterns based on
    analyses using a detailed ethnographic approach. More specifically, the paper outlines the advantages of using a community of practice approach to analysing workplace discourse, providing evidence of the ‘gender order’, the repressive ideology which ensures that deviations from gender norms (by women or men) entail penalties. It is argued
    that such an approach provides a means of identifying discursive behaviours which penalise women in many workplace contexts on the one hand, while documenting a
    range of active discursive ways of resisting sexist behaviours on the other.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Can the term "genderlect" be saved? A postmodernist re-definition.

    This article is an attempt to reclaim the term "genderlect" as a valuable sociolinguistic concept. It shows that "genderlect" in its traditional sense as a variety according to speaker sex is just as much a myth as are early sociolinguistic theorisations of "women's/men's language". From a postmodernist perspective, genderlects must be seen as stereotypical resources for gendered stylisation practices that are not to be equalled with how women and men actually speak. This is illustrated by using material from a comprehensive study on linguistic gender stylisation in advertising discourse. Moreover, it is suggested that the strictly binary genderlect concept is abandoned and replaced by another one that sees genderlects as heavily context-dependent, community-based and therefore infinite in number. A postmodernist genderlect concept should be able to deal with hegemonic as well as subversive gender styles and at the same time acknowledge that what is generally judged to be hegemonic in one context might be subversive in another (or vice versa).
    Posted: 2007-07-14More...

    Zuiqian 'deficient mouth': Discourse, gender and domestic violence

    This article examines the relationship between language, gender and domestic violence.
    Contextualizing the study of domestic violence in China, this article focuses
    its analysis on a metapragmatic discourse on domestic violence – zuiqian ‘deficient
    mouth’ in a working-class community in Beijing. It argues that the discourse of zuiqian,
    by blaming women’s mouths and their ‘deviant’ speaking styles, individualizes
    the serious social problem of domestic violence and downplays the structural force
    that causes male violence. By fragmenting women and regulating their mouths, the
    discourse of zuiqian serves as an anatomic mode of power (anatomo-politics) for the
    state to discipline women and safeguard society. Also, this discourse constitutes a repudiating site (i.e. a site at which subjects are condemned or criticized in order for them to emerge) to construct the kind of subject identified with China’s neoliberal agenda. This study shows that both language and gender can be engaged as either anatomic modes of power or repudiating sites for subjectivity formation in the broader political and economic transformations of the process of globalization. In the context of neoliberalism, the private, the individual and the body have become the bases for
    political legitimacy.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Putting communities of practice in their place

    The study of language, gender, and sexuality has enthusiastically embraced the concept community of practice. Now the field needs to take the concept further in two directions: (1) The comparative direction examines different but similar kinds of communities of practice to explore generalizations about how practice contributes
    to the linguistic construction of gender and sexuality; (2) The relational direction locates communities of practice in relation to a world beyond – to other communities of practice, to social networks, to institutions (e.g. schools, churches, prisons), and to more global imagined communities (e.g. nations, women). For each direction, we mention
    exemplary studies, emphasizing that the construct community of practice does not offer new analytic units or replace other concepts, but provides fresh perspectives
    on familiar social units and enriches analyses drawing on other analytic concepts. Only an interdisciplinary research community where researchers connect their work
    can put communities of practice in their proper place.
    Posted: 2007-01-18More...

    Recent Articles


    Exceptionalising intersectionality: a corpus study of implied readership in guidance for survivors of domestic abuse

    Groups who experience multiple marginalisation are more likely to experience domestic abuse, but appear to be the least represented in materials designed to support survivors. This paper uses corpus methods and feminist discourse analysis to examine a guidance text produced by a British organisation that supports women survivors of domestic abuse. The analysis examines the discursive practices used to construct solidarity between the implied reader, implied author and broader imagined community. While many of the practices employed in these texts to construct solidarity are exemplary – such as centring survivors’ experiences and addressing survivors directly by using first- and second-person pronouns – the texts also construct multiply marginalised survivors as distal by using third-person pronouns in discourses which represent multiple marginalisation as ‘exceptional’. The paper concludes by suggesting ways to improve guidance for survivors of domestic abuse.
    Posted: 2019-05-14More...

    Sexual abuse in proceedings of gender-based violence in the Brazilian judicial system

    Based on a feminist approach to law, we analyse dimensions of the performance of the Brazilian judiciary in three judgements of domestic and family violence against women that encompass sexual abuse. We show how gender-based violence is constructed in agreed decisions, on lawsuits under the Maria da Penha law, which is considered a landmark in Brazilian legislation on gender. Using a narrative approach and the concept of entextualisation, the analysis focuses firstly on the judicial acts as legal trajectories and the presentation of the episode of sexual violence that led to the judicial process. A second focus is on constructions of these same episodes in different instances of the judicial acts. We found that agents of the penal system, in applying the Maria da Penha law, reaffirm dominant structures of subjectivity, allowing a pre-established set of values against which the law sought precisely to break. Different judges provide divergent understandings in a single trial and may reveal more or less involvement with the political perspectives of the law. The findings have implications for discussions of women’s rights through criminal law.

    Posted: 2019-03-25More...

    Disclosing violence in calls for help

    Violence against women is a pervasive problem, both in New Zealand society and around the world. Yet assessing the scale and effects of violence is difficult, as many women face barriers to disclosure. This paper examines women’s disclosures of violence in calls for help to a victim support agency. We use conversation analysis and focus on membership categorisation to describe the different ways disclosures are built and understood in situ. It was only in a minority of cases (around 20%), that callers made direct reference to violence, or categorised themselves explicitly as victims, albeit with indications of problems in speaking. However, for the majority, women did not mention the words ‘victim’ or ‘violence’ at all. Instead, culturally shared knowledge associated with categories of people (e.g. ex-partners) and places (e.g. home and jail) were used to build and interpret a description as a disclosure of violence. Our work contributes to an understanding of women’s disclosures of violence by examining them directly in the setting where they occur. We discuss some of the insights gained from examining interactions in situ, and the practical applications of our work for improving services for women who have experienced violence.

    Posted: 2019-03-25More...

    ‘The Nirbhaya who lived’: conflicting discourses and shifting ideologies in Femina’s linguistic representations of rape victims and their perpetrators

    This article examines representations of sexual violence in Femina, an Englishlanguage women’s lifestyle magazine aimed at middle-class Indian women. A story of rape, written from the perspective of the victim, a lower-caste Indian woman is analysed using feminist critical discourse analysis. The analytical interest here rests on tensions within the magazine, vis-à-vis Femina purportedly aims to empower all women, yet in its mediation of rape, this is achieved through a process of othering. The voices of the magazine’s text producers and the rape victim storyteller are compared to reveal conflicting differences and shifting ideologies in their framing of events. Through intertextual reference, the magazine distinguishes between endemic or ‘simple’ and ‘real’ rape cases in terms of caste-based inequalities claiming that endemic rape cases do not attract media attention because of the victim’s low social and economic status. This presents an issue since Femina appeals to high income, independent middle- class women to come to the rescue of lower-caste women, thus reinforcing a power dynamic between them.

    Posted: 2019-01-11More...

    Covering rape: how the media determine how we understand sexualised violence

    The focus of this paper is a corpus study of the representation of rape in the mainstream quality press in the UK and a discussion of the broader social implications of such representation. This paper uses corpus analysis tools to study the discourse that surrounds the terms ‘rape’ and ‘raped’ and their collocates in a corpus of four British quality newspapers and compares the findings of the corpus analysis with corpus-external data (e.g. statistics on rape crimes, government reports, rape myths) to determine whether (and to what extent) the images foregrounded by the press in the corpus echo such contextual information. On the basis of this comparison, I argue that the representation of rape in the corpus reflects and reinforces dominant stereotypical understandings of rape rooted in patriarchal conceptualisations of gender roles and sexualities and perpetuated by established professional practices in mainstream journalism.

    Posted: 2018-07-17More...


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