1) As noted by Griffin, Kramarae contends that low-power groups are muted but not completely silent. Traditionally, these groups have found other outlets that afford at least some avenues for expression. By way of analogy, consider the mutedness and subsequent resourcefulness in terms of with modern televisions. The sound does not stop when a television channel is “muted,” we just can’t hear it. When the action continues without verbal dialogue, something is lost. Many modern televisions are programmed so that, by default, when the sound is muted, closed-captioning appears on the screen. If you have ever tried to watch a program with these subtitles, you quickly notice that at times it is out of synch or delayed, words are misspelled, portions are shortened or deleted, and other elements (such as musical interludes) are routinely ignored as nonessential to the action. This comparison is a great illustration of Kramarae’s arguments about the deficiencies of a muted experience.
Reactions to this chapter, as you can imagine, can have a wide – and often fiery – range. On some occasions, the male students will adamantly object to their portrayal as controlling, exclusionary, or ignorant while in other situations, men were reluctant to say anything for fear of attack or of being seen to promote the type of domination Kramarae describes. The responses of women are equally varied – ranging from animated endorsement to perturbed disagreement. Some women fiercely protest the characterization of women as powerless. Note, however, that Kramarae does not assert that women have no power, but instead she argues that they do not have equal standing with their male counterparts
Though we will discuss various aspects of this chapter further, what was your first response to the idea of Muted Group Theory? Is this something that you had ever thought about or considered before? What do you think are some important things to consider and/or remember while reading and discussing this chapter? Considering the television analogy at the beginning of this prompt as well – do you think something is ‘lost in translation’ because of muting?
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