No Unmarked Woman Essay

322 WordsDec 17, 20142 Pages
Mrs. Horwath CP English III 11 February 2014 Marked like a Chalkboard According to Deborah Tannen, there is no such thing as an unmarked woman. She says that "a man can choose to wear a "marked" style but a woman has no choice" (Tannen 1). "The term "marked" is a staple of linguistic theory. It refers to the way language alters the meaning of a word by adding a linguistic particle that has no meaning on its own". Is there such a thing as an unmarked person? Or are we all marked in our own way? Everything we wear, or say or do is a marking. For example, wearing a Jewish star around my neck is a marking that I am Jewish. If that is the case then there is no such thing as an unmarked person. Everyone wears something that marks him or her, whether they realize it or not. One thing I did somewhat disagree with, was the idea that men are completely unmarked. I feel that both males and females look at each other every day and make their own discretions about one another. All the men at the table are dressed up in the same way with no fancy haircut, suits or shoes (Tannen 2). Although no man wore make-up, you couldn’t say the men didn’t wear make-up in the sense that you would say a women didn’t wear make-up. For men, no make-up is unmarked. The three women expressed their style through clothing. One woman was a “plain Jane”, the other was older and “full of dignity” and finally a “frosted blond avalanche falling over and beyond shoulders. Further on, Deborah also claims that every woman's style has an implied meaning. In paragraph 12 she says “Each of the women at the conference had to make decisions about hair, clothing, makeup and accessories, and each decision had a carried meaning” (Tannen

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