Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gender Stereotyping & Word Clouds: A Random Post

Just a quick one for today. Saw this post at The Achilles Effect, "Word Cloud: How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes" and found it to be quite intriguing for two completely unrelated reasons.

First, the most obvious one is the shocking choices of words that are used to appeal to boy children when it's laid out as plainly - and literally graphically - as Crystal has displayed here, according to her research. Even with what she has said is just a starting point, and not by any means an exhaustive record, it’s not hard to recognize that the generalities are basically true. Simply watch television on a Saturday morning or Cartoon Network pretty much any time of day and the contrasts in word choices for ads aimed at boys vs. girls are as obvious as the differences in typically gender-assigned colors. I'm more surprised by the top word for marketing at young females being "love." Just from my own experience I feel like I hear the word "girl" repeated more often than anything in the advertisements that are aimed at them. As if girls don't know they're girls or as if marketers trying to attract their attention, sort of like "Here girl! Look over here at the shiny things! Good girl!"

But I digress.

Second, how fun is Wordle? It makes me want to do my own little vocabulary- or language-related research project so I can make my own cloud of words in graphic form. Now for an idea on what to explore...

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