Constituting Gender Roles through the Transitivity Choice in Commodity Advertising - A Critical Discourse Approach

  •  Guiyu Dai    


Based on Fairclough’s three-dimensional model of Critical Discourse Analysis and guided by gender theories and focusing on an advertisement of Motorola’s cellular phone as a case study, this study explores the construction of gender roles through Transitivity choice in commodity advertising. After a detailed description, interpretation and explanation of the gender roles encoded in the advertising text, this study gets the following findings: 1) Ideological conceptions and social consciousness can be expressed in a text through verbal presentation and also revealed through the arrangement of linguistic devices or resources like Transitivity processes. 2) Influenced by current gender ideology, commodity advertisements tend to represent women with strong desires for self-fulfilment. 3) The advertising of a magic product which can help fulfil a woman’s self can stimulate women’s desire for its purchase and thus promote its sale. 5) The construction of gender roles through linguistic choice in commodity advertising can infuse or indoctrinates new concepts of gender roles into people’s mind. Hopefully, this essay can improve people’s awareness of how ideology is encoded in linguistic devices and how ideology controls the choice of linguistic resources.

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