While walking through a random office the individual would see a multitude of women suggesting many things through their appearance, while all the men in the office will have the same style of slacks, dress shirt, and shined shoes. There may be slight variations in the men’s looks, but none of those variations compares to the variations evident in women.
Deborah Tannen uses her essay “There is no Unmarked Woman”, published in 1994 within the book Talking From 9 to 5, to bring forth the idea that in the professional, working world all men are unmarked basic molds of each other while women mark themselves through the use of particle in linguistics, way they look, fill out a form, and change their surname after marriage. Tannen starts her essay by analyzing the people in her small business conference: Four women and eight men. She notices how each women presents something different through her clothes, makeup, hairstyle, and shoes. While the women separated themselves through their looks the males were the unmarked of the group with no special separate styles.
Tannen uses her knowledge of linguistics to try to explain this fact. She uses the linguistics term marked. Marked refers to the particle that has no meaning of its own such as es and s (Tannen, 141). These particles only make sense when attached to the root word like wishes and misses. The root word or unmarked words are connected to the “male”; while the marked particles such as ess represent the female for example the word actress. Sadly the female endings also bring forth an idea of silliness.
Tannen also brings forth the point that women cannot even fill out forms without giving forth information about themselves. When men are asked to fill out forms they chose the title Mr. which indicates nothing; while women are faced to choose between Mrs., Ms., and Miss. A woman who chooses Mrs. is traditional and conservative, Ms. is open-minded or unruly (143). Tannen uses biology to further support her issue with Ralph Fasold’s idea of the X-chromosomes and Y-chromosomes, along the studies of lizards and bees.
Although Deborah Tannen does an effective job of pulling her readers in with creative ideas, she ultimately loses her audience through a weak use of logos within the essay. The broad idea Tannen presents on marked women is easily accepted and has effective support throughout her writing: looks, titles, and particle endings. A portion of her logic distracts from her main point and confuses the reader: use of biology, lack of specifying the environment of her observation, and the use of an irrelevant personal experience.
Tannen’s basic idea of the marked and unmarked sex is easily seen on television shows as well as real life offices. The business world is full of men in suits and ties, with the standard short hair and trimmed beard. Males in an office are like worker bees in a hive: impeccably similar with minor variations so that an experienced eye can tell them...