The identity construction of women/maids in domestic help for hire discourse in selected Malaysian newspapers

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Abstract

This paper will discuss the practice of linguistic sexism and gender bias in a corpus of domestic help for hire Malaysian classified advertisements working from an assumption that such practice is a form of ideology and social practice that is discursively presented. Through linguistic analysis of the language used in these newspaper advertisements, this paper aims to show how linguistic sexism and gender biasness may negatively effect the image of domestic helpers/maids. Specifically, the following questions will be addressed: Does language used in these advertisements objectify women (domestic helpers/maids)? How does language used in these advertisements objectify and demean women and how does it devalue the work that they do? Does language threaten the personal security of women (domestic helpers/maids)? Lexical, syntactical and discursive use of language in the corpus of data are linguistically analysed with the application of critical discourse analysis to highlight the abuse of language with regard to women. This paper hopes to argue for greater sensitivity as to how language is used in classified advertisements so that language used would be neutral and gender fair. "It was hard work for them because there was not enough food. I got food once a day. If I made a mistake.. (my employer) wouldn't give me food for two days. I often got treatment like that. Sometimes for one, two, three days. Because I was starving, I would steal food from the house. Because of that, the employer beat me badly". -Arianti Harikusomo, Indonesian domestic worker, age 27, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 25, 2004. "As a domestic worker, you have no control over your life. No one respects you. You have no rights. This is the lowest kind of work". -Hasana, Child domestic worker who began employment at 12, Yogyarkarta, Indonesia, December 4, 2004.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-180
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Sciences
Volume9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

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newspaper
discourse
language
helper
food
sexism
linguistics
worker
gender
employer
newspaper advertisement
discourse analysis
Indonesia
Malaysia
abuse
ideology
trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

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title = "The identity construction of women/maids in domestic help for hire discourse in selected Malaysian newspapers",
abstract = "This paper will discuss the practice of linguistic sexism and gender bias in a corpus of domestic help for hire Malaysian classified advertisements working from an assumption that such practice is a form of ideology and social practice that is discursively presented. Through linguistic analysis of the language used in these newspaper advertisements, this paper aims to show how linguistic sexism and gender biasness may negatively effect the image of domestic helpers/maids. Specifically, the following questions will be addressed: Does language used in these advertisements objectify women (domestic helpers/maids)? How does language used in these advertisements objectify and demean women and how does it devalue the work that they do? Does language threaten the personal security of women (domestic helpers/maids)? Lexical, syntactical and discursive use of language in the corpus of data are linguistically analysed with the application of critical discourse analysis to highlight the abuse of language with regard to women. This paper hopes to argue for greater sensitivity as to how language is used in classified advertisements so that language used would be neutral and gender fair. {"}It was hard work for them because there was not enough food. I got food once a day. If I made a mistake.. (my employer) wouldn't give me food for two days. I often got treatment like that. Sometimes for one, two, three days. Because I was starving, I would steal food from the house. Because of that, the employer beat me badly{"}. -Arianti Harikusomo, Indonesian domestic worker, age 27, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 25, 2004. {"}As a domestic worker, you have no control over your life. No one respects you. You have no rights. This is the lowest kind of work{"}. -Hasana, Child domestic worker who began employment at 12, Yogyarkarta, Indonesia, December 4, 2004.",
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