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Sexualities, desire and ‘lifestyle’: masculinity constructs in three Greek - page 5 / 17

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The typical generic structure of advice of advice texts includes first presenting/setting up a problem or question, possibly followed by elaboration on how it is a problem, or legitimation of why this should be considered a problem. Towards the end of the text we have the presentation of the solution to the problem/issue, again possibly elaborated or legitimated (Polyzou, forthcoming 2008). Some advice texts also present a similarity to journalistic news reporting, namely, they include a lead-in first paragraph (in capitals), which summarises the ‘main points’ of the whole text, before moving on to elaborate on the details (cf. van Dijk, 1985: 82). Here the ‘problem’ is mentioned briefly in the text (‘how to satisfy a woman sexually’), but the ‘main points’ in the lead are the solution and its legitimation. The elaboration of the solution, in the main body of the text, includes a step-by-step guide on how to give the massage.

The lead paragraph includes the following:

(1) ΧΑΡΙΣΕ ΤΗΣ ΕΝΑ ΣΠΕΣΙΑΛ ΕΡΩΤΙΚΟ ΜΑΣΑΖ ΜΕ ΤΟ ΟΠΟΙΟ ΘΑ ΣΟΥ ΠΑΡΑΔΟΘΕΙ ΑΝΕΥ ΟΡΩΝ

OFFER HER A SPECIAL EROTIC MASSAGE WITH WHICH SHE WILL SURRENDER HERSELF TO YOU UNCONDITIONALLY

Already from the beginning of the text, we have reference to a ‘her’. This pronoun does not refer anaphorically to a person previously mentioned in the text – rather, it evokes shared knowledge about the conventions of the discourse in lifestyle magazines, namely, that partners or prospective partners are referred to as ‘he’ (in women’s magazines) and ‘she’ (in men’s magazines), without further explanations. It also presupposes that the targeted male reader is heterosexual and has, or should have, a female sexual partner (cf. Rich, 1980 on presupposed ‘compulsory heterosexuality’ for women).

The words ‘offer’, ‘surrender’ and ‘unconditionally’ trigger the related metaphorical frames of TRANSACTION and WAR (see Lakoff and Johnson, 1981; Lakoff, G., 1987 on conceptual metaphors). The semantic frame of ‘offering’ by itself does not necessarily include a transaction, but here the legitimation of offering the partner a massage includes receiving something in return – namely, the woman herself. This is objectifying the woman and also, in conjunction with the expressions from the ‘war’ domain (‘surrender’, ‘unconditionally’) preserves sexist beliefs about ‘the battle of the sexes’, according to which men and women belong to different camps and only one can win (cf. Polyzou, 2004; Sunderland, 2004).

Throughout the text runs the underlying (presupposed/given) belief that the reader is male, heterosexual and sexually active, which is never explicitly asserted or discussed. We also have two other, related beliefs: that male sexuality is ‘beastly’, unsophisticated and rough (cf. Hollway’s discussion of perceptions of the ‘male sexual drive’, 1984), and that it is diametrically opposed to women’s, evoking stereotypes about ‘femininity’ linked to sensitivity, delicacy etc. (cf. discussions about stereotypical beliefs about ‘gender differences’, e.g. Sunderland, 2004). Such beliefs are parts of broader essentialist stereotypes about the ‘nature’ of men and women as being fundamentally different and feeling heterosexual attraction exactly because of their differences (cf. Eckert, 1989: 253-254).

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