“Brown Sugar”: the textual construction of femininity in two “tiny texts”

Sunderland, Jane (2012) “Brown Sugar”: the textual construction of femininity in two “tiny texts”. Gender and Language, 6 (1). 105–129. ISSN 1747-6321

Full text not available from this repository.


Advertisements are a key site for gender and language study, many ads constructing relationships between femininity and consumption, and gender relations of a (hetero)sexual nature. In this paper I look in a qualitative way at how two ads in the form of 'tiny texts' indirectly index gender inflected with both ethnicity and sexuality. Printed on sugar tubes found in a cafe in modern urban Botswana, one of these ads shows a Black woman, the other a white woman. I adopt a feminist discourse analytic approach to argue that the many lexical and other intertextual associations of 'sugar' and ‘sweetness’ in relation to women and sex function to sexualise the Black woman (in particular), and that these in turn intertextually sexualise the white woman, in ways which index women's ‘availability’ within an overall discourse of multiculturalism and social liberalisation.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Gender and Language
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
28 May 2012 08:13
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 22:20