Gendered Variety in Comic Strips and Movies

There is the discovery of the rapid spread of linguistics all over the world through the media. The media not only spreads a local linguistics language but also helps in the importing of worldly varieties. For example, in Scotland, there has been the spreading of L-VOCALIZATION in words such as milk and people and TH-FRONTING in words such as think in the work-class youngsters due to the interest from the media. The representation of media of linguistic variety has been due to many changes such as the diffusion of languages. The nature of changes has been dependent on many aspects such as locality and age. The exposure of people within a region or period to media has had an effect on language in a great way. There are speculations of the change of language resulting from the press through geological diffusion processes. The transmission of the language variety through the community can be through social practices and language ideologies.


Language mediating through writing and printing has high impact and leads to changes in spoken language and language variation regarding ideologies and structural change. It is clear that language has undergone changes over time and similarly, broadcasting media and language representation in the press have gone through changes. In the early twentieth century, the media image was audio alone such as radio and stereo. However, currently, there has been the development of audio-visual media such as television and medium of film. There are many media representation as there are many linguistic varieties. The research will study the use of comic strips as the media representation of a language variety, which is gendered or sexualized type of English and precisely the word “Dude”. 

Understanding Comic Strip and Gender Concept

A comic strip is describable as a series and sequence of drawings in an arrangement of interrelated panels that display a narrative or brief humor. There has been the publication of comic strips in magazines and newspapers. The most common form of comic strips publication is the horizontal strips that are black-and-white or colored comic strips on daily newspapers. Because of the development of the internet, there has been the emergence of webcomics. Each day in the United States, there is over two hundred different comic strips in newspapers. Also, there are over 7.3 million episodes of comic strips.

The emergence of the understanding of gender and sex was in the transitional period in the eighteenth century. There was the conditioning of the categories of sex and later in the nineteenth century; there was the development of beliefs about behaviors. In the early understanding, gender differences were taken to opposites; men and women were taken to be opposites. Women were considered to be indifferent and passive while men were aggressive. The development of phrases such as “boys will be boys” began then. However, recent studies have been useful in dismantling such fallacies. Williams (n.d.) defines gender as the attitudes and behaviors that make one male or female-taught socially. 

The Gendered Use of Dude

With an understanding of gender, the research takes a look at comic strips representation of gendered English and specifically the use of the word “Dude”. The use of the word has been common among the young people. It is a representation of the new forms of language that has been emerging from the youth culture. There are those that are not in support of the emergence of the new language, but the main reason for resistance is the misunderstanding of the meaning and function of the linguistic forms. The use of the word "dude" has been wide among the young men whereby young men are addressing other young men. It is in accordance to the early understanding of gender whereby males and females were opposites. Nevertheless, there has been the dismantling of the cliché but not only but scholars but the practical use of the word "dude". The use of the word "dude" has undergone expansion and is useful as a general address of same or mixed gender. Currently, the word is not helpful in the identification of the addressee(s). 

The origin of the name dates back to the 1930s or 1940s in the United States by a group of men. Its start was an in-group term and became a term meant to address men. It is until the 1980s that the use of the word became rampant. There was the development of a female version of the word that did not spread to such a large magnitude.

It is some tokens versus gender of addressee graph. The bars indicate the speaker’s gender, which shows that male to male address is the come while female to female ranks second. 

Movie and Comic Representation of Dude

In the University of Pittsburgh, there was the investigation of the connection of "dude" and men and the findings strengthen the graph above. Primarily, the use of the word was in man to man conversation although it was exclusive between these types of discussions. There was the use of the word in male to female conversations. Also, there was the finding that the word "dude" indexes indefinite combination of equality, camaraderie, casualness and distance. The most interesting finding was that all those made use of the word were well aware of the association of the word with masculinity. There is the representation of these finding in some films such as “Dude, Where’s My Car?” The film is a comedy about two young men who are not able to remember where they had parked their vehicle after a night of drinking ad recklessness. The production of the movie was in 2000, but its success led to the development of phrases including its title “Dude, where’s my car?” there was the characterization of the film with the use of word dude. 

There has been the use of the "dude" in comic strips and the most common “Zits”. The main characters in the comic strip are teenagers that are of American origin. In the episode of Zits, the characters are undertaking a solidarity act, which is the acceptance and chewing of gum despite the activity having limited enthusiasm. The use of "dude" in the interaction in helping the audience understands the use of the word in the interaction of men. There are other comic strips such as “Doonesbury” that are dialogues between two people are roommates, and the halt of the use of the word in the discussion is an indication of the change of the conversation from a comfortable one to a more serious one. 

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Interpretation of the Utilization of the Word Dude in Movies and Comic Scripts

There are five main interactional functional of "dude" in comic strips including exclamation, affiliation, confrontational stance mitigation, signaling agreement and discourse structure. The illustration of discourse structure marking is through the falling of tone that indicates a new solidarity stance. Mostly, there is the marking of disclosure’s new segment. As an exclamation, there is the use of the word of "dude" as a positive or negative reaction. In comic strips, as an exclamation, there is no single use of the word, and there must be the accompanying of "dude" with terms such as whoa. The fall on the pitch in a fine way helps indicate the exclamation. In agreement, when taking a stance, "dude" can mean a sympathy of what the addressee said or general agreement of the talk content. The show of solidarity helps retain the measure of tranquility of the word. The use of the word helps create a feeling of valid address through the indication of connection or affiliation stance. Confrontational attitude brings the theory of politeness into play in the use of the word.

The Theory of Politeness

When the speaker takes a confrontational stance, the term can be useful in the illustration of a confrontational attitude. The confrontational attitude of the word helps in the introduction of the politeness theory. The use of the word in situations such as woman-to-woman situation indicates a politeness strategy in an environment of negative face threat. The theory states that politeness can be useful in areas of rudeness and impoliteness especially in the mitigation of rudeness.

Social Stereotypes and Language Ideologies

According to Crissey, there are stereotypes even when there is the use of gendered words in comic strips. There is the quoting of Kiesling who states that there is the baffling of older adults resulting from the development of the new forms of language among the youths. There are those that consider the new language forms as “vague.” Most individuals who are stereotypes cite the use of the word "dude" among young men as an inarticulateness. The use of the word in comic strips is an exhibition of inexpressiveness, whereby there is the use of one word for many or even all responses. Kiesling states that dude is an indication of laziness as its origin is from “druggie” and “surfer” subcultures that value stance of laziness. The use of the word to show solidarity by young men is not a good thing according to the stereotypes. The use of the attitude, especially to the young men in their navigation of cultural discourses, demands non-conformity, strict heterosexuality, and masculine solidarity. 

Negative or Positive Representation

The stereotypes indicate that the use of "dude" in movies and comic strips are an adverse representation. However, the creation of self-identity and unity because of the utilization of this English variety makes the stereotypes too hard on the use of the word. As an exclamation, it can be either a positive or negative explanation. Discourse structure marking is an active representation of the variety as it is a show of solidarity. A confrontational stance attenuator representation is positive as it helps indicate the competitive and hierarchical component of the discussion is not a big deal. In the indication of connection is an active representation while an agreement description shows coolness, which is positive. The use of the word in both movies and comic strips and movies can either be a positive or negative image dependent on the intention and scenario. However, it is clear that in most instances, it is a positive image. 

In the movie, it was an indication of connection and the coolness of the situation as the two could not remember the location of their car. In the comic strips Doonesbury, a roommate stops making use of the word to indicate the shift from a relaxed conversation to a more serious conversation


The representation of gendered or sexualized variety of English in movies and comic strips is an indication of connection and solidarity. The use of the word is an effective way to show relaxation nature of the conversation and is useful in the creation of a respectful environment by mitigating rudeness by the politeness theory. However, there are those that feel the use of such words indicate laziness and the inability to address an individual expressly in a personalized manner. Despite all this, one thing is important in the study. There is the dismantling of myths leading to phrases as “boys will be boys” as the use of gendered English is not differentiated by gender.

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