Gender Roles and Expectations Any Changes Online?
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One consequence of the advent of cyber communication is that increasing numbers of people go online to ask for, obtain, and presumably act upon advice dispensed by unknown peers. Just as advice seekers may not have access to information about the identities, ideologies, and other personal characteristics of advice givers, advice givers are equally ignorant about their interlocutors except for the bits of demographic information that the latter may offer freely. In the present study, that information concerns sex. As the sex of the advice seeker may be the only, or the predominant, contextual variable at hand, it is expected that that identifier will guide advice givers in formulating their advice. The aim of this project is to investigate whether and how the sex of advice givers and receivers affects the type of advice, through the empirical analysis of a corpus of web-based Spanish language forums on personal relationship difficulties. The data revealed that, in the absence of individuating information beyond that implicit in the advice request, internalized gender expectations along the lines of agency and communality are the sources from which advice givers draw to guide their counsel. This is despite the trend in discursive practices used in formulating advice, suggesting greater language convergence across sexes.
© The Author(s) 2013. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)