chapter  7
18 Pages

The Suppressed Voice Hypothesis in Women's Writing: Effects of Revision on Gender-Typical Style

Strong conceptual foundations undergird the supposition-like that expressed by Charles Dickens in the opening epigraph--that women and men write with distinct, gender-typical styles. Rubin and Greene 0992; see also Annas, 1987; chapters 6 and 8 of this volume) reviewed three bodies of literature that support the notion of gender-typical style in written language: (a) research on women's speech, (b) analyses of women's literature, and (c) theories of women's epistemologies. Extrapolating from work on gender differences in oral language, some analysts have postulated, for example, that women's writing is marked by especially frequent use of hedges (sort of, almost) that blunt the force of assertions (e.g., Lynch & Strauss-Noll, 1987; Taylor, 1978). Some examinations of literary language conclude that women's writing style-at least in fiction writing-is marked by grammatical parallelism and balance and also by some features of emotional expression (e.g., Hiatt, 1977). Inspired by theories of women's "ways of knowing," yet other scholars conclude that women's writing manifests a rhetorical style characterized by indirectness, narrative, and interpersonal connectiveness rather than confrontative argumentation (e.g., Cooper, 1989; Flynn, 1988).