A Critical Discourse Analysis of Sexist Ideology of Pakistani Politicians
Author(s) : Rabieah Tahir
Abstract:A language is a tool of expression that can be biasedly exploited explicitly or implicitly by different ideological groups to exercise power relations. Critical discourse analysis serves to analyze opaque as well as transparent structural relationships concerning dominance, discrimination, power, and control exhibited in the language (Fairclough, 1993). This paper aims to critically analyze the sexist remarks passed by 12 different Pakistani politicians belonging to three political parties (Pakistan Tehrik e Insaaf, Pakistan Muslim League N, Pakistan People’s Party). The data comprise of sexist remarks passed on women of opposing political parties by political leaders published on e-news sites including Express Tribune, Dawn News, Pakistan Today, Geo TV site, NayaDaur, and other social media including Twitter and YouTube. A mixed model of Van Dijk's (2004) socio-cognitive approach and Mill's (2008) overt and covert sexism theory is applied to analyze the excerpts taken from different sources. The results reveal that Pakistani politicians see sexism as their primary tool to hit their opponent using humor, collocations, semantic derogation, presupposition, metaphor usage, entitlement, negative evaluation, severe judgments, personal attacks, and public harassment, public defaming as major techniques. However, it is also found that not all women oppose sexist attitudes. This research is of great significance for now-active-feminists in Pakistan to get a realistic estimate of prevalent sexist attitudes among Pakistani politicians which helps them to get shaped up for the range of challenges regarding present and future time. This would also help them to know how far they have succeeded, and what is still left to cover as their goals in Pakistani society.
Keywords: Sexist discourse, Pakistani political leaders, Socio-Cognitive model, Overt and Covert Sexism Theory