The tone; a group of guys drinking beer while

The discussion of gender has been a controversial topic for a long time. Many people believe that gender differences between men and women are a result of the biological makeup of the sexes and hence people are only recognized as either masculine or feminine. Such an assumption is deemed problematic since not everyone in society fits neatly into what is traditionally defined as being a man or woman. And while society has become dependant on categorizing people into one of the two genders in order to be able to interact and identify with them, those individuals that don’t fit in are ethnocentrically judged as deviant and therefore, rejected. On the other hand, there are others that argue that while there does exist some differences between men and women, the idea that there are only two genders is unreasonable and almost ignorant. Judith Butler, a philosopher, argues that gender is not inherited but it is rather performed. In other words, gender is socially constructed and every society/culture defines a dominant way that men and women should conform to, known as hegemonic masculinity or femininity. This idea of hegemonic masculinity or femininity is most excessively incorporated in advertisements and fraternities. Evidence to the theory that gender is learned can be seen through the work of anthropologist Margaret Mead who examined three different cultures in Papa New Guinea and found that between the different tribes she had visited, they all had variation in what was defined as being masculine and feminine while each still believing that the differences between men and women in their respective culture are due to the biological differences of the sexes. An important aspect to the theory that gender is performed is that the performance is brought into effect through the use of gender markers which are attitudes and behaviours that are attributed natural to one sex and unnatural to another by culture/society. One gender marker that is commonly manipulated to display gender identity is language. A recording between a group of guys was analyzed, and a sense of how the conversationalists portray male heterosexuality is studied.    The informants are gathered by a basketball game which immediately sets the stereotypical tone; a group of guys drinking beer while discussing impersonal topics such as sports, cars and business. In western culture, it is considered ‘masculine’ to discuss such topics and such topics only because it is believed that men should abstain from discussing personal topics since it requires the showing of an extent of emotion that men are ‘incapable’ of.  Another way through which male heterosexuality is displayed is through dominance. Men have always been stereotyped as being powerful and hierarchical. Men use interruption as one strategy to claim dominance. That is cause unlike women’s conversations, men’s conversations are competitive through which they try to remain claimant of the floor. This can be seen in a couple of incidents during the conversation between the students such as when Ed and Danny interrupt each other a couple of times in an attempt to gain custody of the floor. It is even shown that when Ed loses the floor he resorts to a couple of strategies to regain the floor which includes but are not limited to, using jokes and the “you know, like” strategy.  The informants also discuss their classmates whom they judge as homosexuals. When such a dichotomy between men and women exists, the minimum requirements for acting like a man becomes defined as not acting like a woman. This is not only constrained by sexual preferences but also the way someone dresses, talks, walks and their demeanour. This is seen when the conversationalists address four guys in their class as ‘homos’ because of their interest in a woman that they perceive as the ugliest woman in the world. Their judgement is based on the idea that for a man to be masculine he should be interested in women of a certain standard of attractiveness. The conversationalists also use aggressive and taboo language to describe their opinion of the people of interest such as the words ‘queer’, ‘bitch’ and ‘dykes’. The manipulation of these words emphasizes assertiveness and strength and is considered an act of power that men utilize to display masculinity. The informants also use sarcasm and insulting jokes when discussing the gay men such as when Ed questions who wears the boutonniere and who wears the corsage when a gay couple attends the gay ball. Such comments are used to gain status from the other members of the group as well as a strategy to gain the floor. As mentioned above there are multiple ways through which people manipulate gender markers to perform in a way that conforms with the gender norm’s of their culture, one of which is language. Even without deeply analyzing the form of language the group is using, a sense of male heterosexuality is performed through language by the choice of topics. The sports talk illustrates the lack of interest in an emotional and personal talk that we often find women engaging in, and the topic about homosexuals can be seen as a way for the group to affirm their heterosexuality by highlighting the differences between the way they act in contrast to the homosexuals.