Gender and Language, Vol 1, No 2 (2007)

Contradictions in Gendered Discourses: Feminist Readings of Sexist Jokes?

Jane Sunderland
Issued Date: 19 Oct 2007

Abstract


In this largely theoretical paper, I look at contradictions as these may be experienced by feminist readers of sexist jokes, and at ways active readers may deal with these. Drawing on the notions of interpellation (e.g. Althusser, 1998) and focalisation (Genette, 1972; Montgomery, 2000), I start with ways of reading the text in question – a set of sexist jokes. Then, drawing on the rather diverse theoretical notions of reader response(s), discourse(s), irony, double voicing and post-feminism, I look at ways of articulating feminist readings of the set of jokes. I propose four ‘alternative reading positions’ for feminists; in this way, the paper also contributes, modestly, to a theory of reading. I conclude by examining the implications of the study for everyday practice and for feminism itself.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v1i2.207

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