Women are bitchy but men are sarcastic?

Investigating gender and sarcasm


  • Charlotte Taylor University of Sussex




mock politeness, sarcasm, gender, corpus pragmatics


In this paper I investigate one aspect of the relationship between gender and mock politeness, focussing in particular on sarcastic behaviours. Previous research into sarcasm as an academic concept has suggested that it is more likely to be performed by males. In the data analysed here, there was no correlation between mock politeness and gender. However, there was a preference for labelling male mock polite behaviour as sarcastic, suggesting that the correlation is not between the academic concept of sarcasm and the male behaviour, but the way that mock polite behaviour is evaluated and labelled. The analysis draws on both corpus linguistics and survey data to further describe the relationship between the metapragmatic labels sarcastic and bitchy and gender of the performer.

Author Biography

Charlotte Taylor, University of Sussex

Charlotte Taylor is senior lecturer in English language and linguistics at the University of Sussex. Her main area of research interest is verbal aggression, with particular reference to the two areas of linguistic impoliteness and migration discourses. She is author of Mock Politeness in English and Italian: A Corpus-Assisted Metalanguage Analysis (Benjamins, 2016) and co-author of Patterns and Meanings in Discourse: Theory and Practice in Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies (Benjamins, 2013). She has published in Journal of Pragmatics Intercultural Pragmatics, Corpora, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics and CADAAD Journal. 


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How to Cite

Taylor, C. (2017). Women are bitchy but men are sarcastic? Investigating gender and sarcasm. Gender and Language, 11(3), 415–445. https://doi.org/10.1558/genl.27906