language links, ling-anth links

Language links 7/24: comic books and new words from 1983

Every Monday, I share some of what I’ve been reading in the past week.


German just got a new character.

Britain’s regulatory bodies will develop rules to do away with gender stereotyping in ads.

The President is better at branding his opponents than his policies.

I adore Merriam-Webster’s new Time Traveler widget. My birth year has two big clusters of new words: health (AIDS virus, body mass index, ciprofloxacin, seasonal affective disorder, sertraline, T4 cell, etc.) and technology (beta test, CD-ROM, cell phone, defragment, information superhighway, metadata etc.)

I, for one, am excited about the new female Doctor — and along comes a timely piece on gender representation in superhero comics. (I’m quietly hoping this will be a series that gets around to race, sexual orientation, etc.) Some neat findings:

  • Male superheroes tend to have physical powers and powerful objects; female superheroes tend to have mental powers.
  • A disproportionate number of female superheroes are on all-female teams, which tend to have names that refer explicitly to their gender.
  • Naming conventions infantilize women: “Men will be men; women will be girls.”

And on the same general thread: on the binary in superhero comics, and on race.

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