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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton July 27, 2005

Gender and impoliteness

Sara Mills
From the journal


This article analyzes the complex relationship between gender and impoliteness. Rather than assuming that gender and impoliteness are concrete entities which can be traced in conversation, I argue that gender and impoliteness are elements which are worked out within the course of interaction. They are elements which are closely inter-related as stereotypically feminine gender identity is largely constructed around notions of “nice”, supportive, co-operative behaviour, either affirming or resisting those stereotypes of femininity. Challenging the notion that women as a whole are “nicer” than men in interaction, since much current research seems to highlight women’s interactional competitiveness, I argue that nevertheless supportiveness may play a role in other interactants’ judgments of women’s linguistic behaviour and may result in assertiveness being categorized as impoliteness.

Published Online: 2005-07-27
Published in Print: 2005-07-20

© Walter de Gruyter