Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-3770
  • E-ISSN: 2211-3789
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This article analyses interview data to explore how participants negotiated discourses of (hetero)sexism in relation to the controversial pop song Our previous work, based on questionnaire data, interrogated interpretations of (Handforth, Paterson, Coffey-Glover & Mills 2017) and showed how participants drew on discourses of sexism in their responses. Several participants experienced significant conflict in their interpretations, and here we focus on these more complex interpretations, considering the “small stories” (Bamberg & Georgakopoulou 2008) identified in follow-up interviews with participants. Individual narratives acted as mechanisms through which participants linked to wider issues such as rape culture, drawing parallels between these and their own lives. Following research in queer linguistics (King 2014Leap 2014Motschenbacher 2010) our use of thematic analysis, corpus linguistic tools and narrative analysis highlights the various subject positions that participants negotiated in their storytelling, and how these positions both echoed and challenged normative understandings of gender and sexuality.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Baker, Paul
    2006Using Corpora in Discourse Analysis. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. 2014Using Corpora to Analyze Gender. London: Bloomsbury.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Baker, Paul, Gabrielatos, Costas, KhosraviNik, Majid, Krzyżanowski, Michał, McEnery, Tony & Wodak, Ruth
    2008 A useful methodological synergy? Combining critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics to examine discourses of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK press. Discourse & Society19(3): 273–306. 10.1177/0957926508088962
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926508088962 [Google Scholar]
  4. Baker, Paul & Levon, Erez
    2016 “That’s what I call a man”: Representations of racialized and classed masculinities in the UK print media. Gender and Language10(1): 106–139. 10.1558/genl.v10i1.25401
    https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v10i1.25401 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bamberg, Michael
    2009 Identity and narration. InHandbook of Narratology, Peter Hühn, John Pier, Wolf Schmid & Jorg Schönert (eds), 132–143. New York: Walter de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bamberg, Michael & Georgakopoulou, Alexandra
    2008 Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk28(1): 377–396.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bauman, Richard
    2004A World of Others’ Words: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Intertextuality. Oxford: Blackwell. 10.1002/9780470773895
    https://doi.org/10.1002/9780470773895 [Google Scholar]
  8. Baxter, Judith A.
    2010 Discourse-analytic approaches to text and talk. InResearch Methods in Linguistics, Lia Litosseliti (ed), 117–137. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Beal, Joan C.
    2009 “You’re not from New York City, you’re from Rotherham”: Dialect and identity in British indie music. Journal of English Linguistics37(3): 223–240. 10.1177/0075424209340014
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0075424209340014 [Google Scholar]
  10. Braun, Virginia & Clarke, Victoria
    2006 Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology3(2): 77–101. 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa
    https://doi.org/10.1191/1478088706qp063oa [Google Scholar]
  11. Brinkley, Elly
    2013 Is Blurred Lines a ‘rapey’ song?The Wall Street Journal. blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/08/08/is-blurred-lines-a-rapey-song/ (September25 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Bucholtz, Mary & Hall, Kira
    2004 Theorizing identity in language and sexuality research. Language in Society33(1): 469–515.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Burgess, Melinda C. R. & Burpo, Sandra
    2012 The effect of music videos on college students’ perceptions of rape. College Student Journal46(4): 748–763.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Butler, Judith
    1990Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. 1993Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Cameron, Deborah
    1992Feminism and Linguistic Theory. Basingstoke: Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑1‑349‑22334‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-22334-3 [Google Scholar]
  17. Cameron, Deborah & Kulick, Don
    2003Language and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511791178
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791178 [Google Scholar]
  18. Cobb, Michael D. & Boettcher, William A.
    2007 Ambivalent sexism and misogynistic rap music: Does exposure to Eminem increase sexism?Journal of Applied Social Psychology37(12): 3025–3042. 10.1111/j.1559‑1816.2007.00292.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2007.00292.x [Google Scholar]
  19. Coffey-Glover, Laura
    2015 Ideologies of masculinity in women’s magazines: A critical stylistic approach. Gender and Language9(3): 337–363. 10.1558/genl.v9i3.17360
    https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.v9i3.17360 [Google Scholar]
  20. Eckert, Penelope & McConnell-Ginet, Sally
    1992 Communities of practice: Where language, gender and power all live. InLocating Power: Proceedings of the Second Berkeley Women and Language Conference, Kira Hall, Mary Bucholtz & Birch Moonwoman (eds), 89–99. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley University.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Edley, Nigel & Wetherell, Margaret
    2008 Discursive psychology and the study of gender: A contested space. InGender and Language Research Methodologies, Kate Harrington, Lia Litosseliti, Helen Sauntson & Jane Sunderland (eds), 161–173. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Edwards, Derek & Middleton, David
    1986 Joint remembering: Constructing an account of shared experience through conversational discourse. Discourse Processes9(1): 423–459. 10.1080/01638538609544651
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638538609544651 [Google Scholar]
  23. Edwards, Derek & Potter, Jonathan
    1992Discursive Psychology. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Findlay, Jamie Y.
    2017 Unnatural acts lead to unconsummated marriages: Discourses of homosexuality within the House of Lords debate on same-sex marriage. Journal of Language and Sexuality6(1): 30–60. 10.1075/jls.6.1.02fin
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jls.6.1.02fin [Google Scholar]
  25. Foucault, Michel
    1972The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Tavistock.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Goffman, Erving
    1974Frame Analysis. New York: Harper.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Handforth, Rachel, Paterson, Laura, Coffey-Glover, Laura & Mills, Sara
    2017 Reading between Blurred Lines: The complexity of interpretation. Discourse, Context & Media20: 103–115. 10.1016/j.dcm.2017.09.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcm.2017.09.001 [Google Scholar]
  28. Jansen, Lisa & Westphal, Michael
    2017 Rihanna works her multivocal pop persona: A morpho-syntactic and accent analysis of Rihanna’s singing style. English Today33(2): 46–55. 10.1017/S0266078416000651
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0266078416000651 [Google Scholar]
  29. Juzwik, Mary
    2014 Spoken narrative. InThe Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis, James Paul Gee & Michael Handford (eds), 326–341. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Kalof, Linda
    1999 The effects of gender and music video imagery on sexual attitudes. The Journal of Social Psychology139(3): 378–385. 10.1080/00224549909598393
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00224549909598393 [Google Scholar]
  31. Kilgarriff, Aadam, Baisa, Vít, Bušta, Jan, Jakubíček, Miloš, Kovář, Vojtěch, Michelfeit, Jan, Rychlý, Pavel & Suchomel, Vit
    2014 The Sketch Engine: Ten years on. Lexicography1(1): 7–36. 10.1007/s40607‑014‑0009‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s40607-014-0009-9 [Google Scholar]
  32. King, Brian W.
    2014 Reclaiming masculinity in an account of lived intersex experience: Language, desire and embodied knowledge. InLanguage and Masculinities: Performances, Intersections, Dislocations, Tommaso Milani (ed), 220–242. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Koehler, Sezin
    2013 From the mouths of rapists: The lyrics of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. The Society Pages. thesocietypages.org/socimages/2013/09/17/from-the-mouths-of-rapists-the-lyrics-of-robin-thickes-blurred-lines-and-real-life-rape/ (September9 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Kreyer, Rolf
    2015 “Funky fresh dressed to impress”: A corpus-linguistic view on gender roles in pop songs. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics20(2): 174–204. 10.1075/ijcl.20.2.02kre
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.20.2.02kre [Google Scholar]
  35. Labov, William
    1972Language in the Inner City. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Labov, William & Waletzky, Joshua
    1967 Narrative analysis: Oral versions of personal experience. InEssays on the Verbal and Visual Arts: Proceedings of the 1966 Annual Spring Meeting of the American Ethnological Society, June Helm (ed), 12–44. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Lai, Jennifer
    2013 “Blurred Lines” is cocky, yes. But rapey?No. Slate. www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/06/27/robin_thicke_s_blurred_lines_is_cocky_yes_but_rapey_and_misogynistic_no.html (November19 2016)
  38. Leap, William L.
    2014 Queer linguistics, sexuality, and discourse analysis. InThe Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis, James Paul Gee & Michael Handford (eds), 558–571. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Love, Robbie & Baker, Paul
    2015 The hate that dare not speak its name?Journal of Language, Aggression and Conflict3(1): 57–86. 10.1075/jlac.3.1.03lov
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jlac.3.1.03lov [Google Scholar]
  40. Lynskey, Dorian
    2013Blurred Lines: The most controversial song of the decade. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/nov/13/blurred-lines-most-controversial-song-decade (September25 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Mabry, Linda
    2008 Case study in social research. InThe Sage Handbook of Social Research Methods, Pertti Alasuutari, Leonard Bickman & Julia Brannen (eds), 214–228. London: Sage. 10.4135/9781446212165.n13
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446212165.n13 [Google Scholar]
  42. Makarechi, Kia
    2013Blurred Lines’ director Diane Martel defends music video against claims of misogyny. Huffington Post. www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/27/blurred-lines-director-diane-martel_n_3509359.html (November19 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Mautner, Gerlinde
    2009 Checks and balances: How corpus linguistics can contribute to CDA. InMethods of Critical Discourse Analysis, Michael Meyer & Ruth Wodak (eds), 122–143. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. McEnery, Tony & Hardie, Andrew
    2012Corpus Linguistics: Method, Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. McRobbie, Angela
    2007 Post-feminism and popular culture. Feminist Media Studies4(3): 255–264. 10.1080/1468077042000309937
    https://doi.org/10.1080/1468077042000309937 [Google Scholar]
  46. Mills, Sara
    2008Language and Sexism. London: Routledge. 10.1017/CBO9780511755033
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511755033 [Google Scholar]
  47. Motschenbacher, Heiko
    2010Language, Gender and Sexual Identity: Poststructuralist Perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/impact.29
    https://doi.org/10.1075/impact.29 [Google Scholar]
  48. 2013 “Now everybody can wear a skirt”: Linguistic constructions of non-heteronormativity at Eurovision Song Contest press conferences. Discourse & Society24(5): 590–614. 10.1177/0957926513486167
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0957926513486167 [Google Scholar]
  49. 2016Language, Normativity and Europeanisation: Discursive Evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/978‑1‑137‑56301‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-56301-9 [Google Scholar]
  50. (ed) 2018Corpus Linguistics in Language and Sexuality Studies: Developments and Prospects (special issue: Journal of Language and Sexuality 7.2). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Mulvey, Laura
    1975 Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. Screen16(3): 6–18. 10.1093/screen/16.3.6
    https://doi.org/10.1093/screen/16.3.6 [Google Scholar]
  52. Murphy, Meghan
    2014 ‘No, “female appreciation” is not the same thing as feminism. Feminist Current. www.feministcurrent.com/2014/02/27/no-pharrell-williams-female-appreciation-is-not-the-same-thing-as-feminism/ (September25 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Potter, Jonathan & Wetherell, Margaret
    1987Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour. London: Sage.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Riessman, Catherine
    2005 Narrative analysis. InNarrative, Memory and Everyday Life, Christine Horrocks, Nancy Kelly, Kate Milnes, Brian Roberts & David Robinson (eds), 1–7. Huddersfield: University of Huddersfield Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Romano, Tricia
    2013 “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke’s summer anthem, is kind of rapey. The Daily Beast. www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/17/blurred-lines-robin-thicke-s-summer-anthem-is-kind-of-rapey.html (September9 2016)
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Scott, Mike
    2012WordSmith Tools version 6. Stroud: Lexical Analysis Software.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Sunderland, Jane
    2004Gendered Discourses. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9780230505582
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230505582 [Google Scholar]
  58. Taylor, Charlotte
    2016 Mock politeness and culture: Perceptions and practice in UK and Italian data. Intercultural Pragmatics13(4): 463–498.
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Thornborrow, Joanna
    2014 Narrative analysis. InThe Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis, James Paul Gee & Michael Handford (eds), 51–65. London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Wallis, Cara
    2011 Performing gender: A content analysis of gender display in music videos. Sex Roles64 (3–4): 160–172. 10.1007/s11199‑010‑9814‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-010-9814-2 [Google Scholar]
  61. Werner, Valentin
    2012 Love is all around: A corpus-based study of pop lyrics. Corpora (7)1: 19–50. 10.3366/cor.2012.0016
    https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2012.0016 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error