Colors, fonts, widgits, graphic designs, pictures, etc., all ascribe gender to a blog, the modern day forum for online communal bloggers to give a Tilbury Speech of their own. "How do I want my reader to read this?" is a question which should be asked by any blogger and their visual design should reflect the desired tone. Here's a good example I came across just one hour ago. Online, I've been exploring different university graduate programs. I went to BYU for such information, saw the page, thought little of it, went to UTD's page, and suddenly thought a LOT of BYU's. Look at the difference. While UTD's page is flashy and caught my eye, I didn't get a "professional" feel from it and quite honestly thought the design was tacky for a page introducing their graduate school programs. It looked more like a page off of Amazon, trying to sell you on their product by making it look better than it really is. "Pick me pick me because I'm a pretty color" works when I'm shopping (to the demise of my banking account [author tugs at collar and begins to shift uncomfortably in seat] and graduate school as well) but not when I'm shopping for graduate programs.
Ok Becca, but what about gender? Here's an example of design reflecting tone/gender. Say you saw these two sentences and were asked to give your first thoughts about which sentence was written by a girl and which a boy:
I love Terry = D!Gut reaction? Now tell me, what gave you the impression?
I love Terry.
I love Terry.
Referring to the Texas A&M study in my last post, color will dictate gender and the attention of specific genders. It begins in the hospital, "It's a girl, get a pink blanket" or "Blue blanket for this baby boy" and ends with us deciding whether or not to paint our nails when we're in our coffin. Look at the "emoticon" of the first sentence. A study showed "traditional gender roles define the female role as communal, embodying emotional expressiveness and a focus on the needs of others" Did you pick up on that? The emoticon "= D" and "!" might have made you think the author is more emotionally expressive and thus there's a greater likelihood it's a girl. Why is that? Why, when for hundreds of years, men such as Milton, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Donne, etc., could write some of the world's most famous, beautiful poetry, expressing inner thoughts in poetically metaphoric terms, do we now say men can't express emotion? Why does masculinity=little feeling and if a man is seen as tender or openly emotional we classify him as "effeminate" if we're feeling generous and giving him the benefit of the doubt about which team he's swinging for? Tell me what you think: