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Research Article
Open Access Peer-reviewed

Understanding Gender Differences on Motivations and Literary and Linguistic Devices in Graffiti

Christopher Allen S. Marquez , Haydee D. James, Mabel D. Mamaoag
World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. 2018, 4(3), 177-188. DOI: 10.12691/wjssh-4-3-6
Received August 27, 2018; Revised October 12, 2018; Accepted November 09, 2018

Abstract

This study determined the use of graffiti in the restrooms, also called as latrinalia, in higher educational institutions. Further, this study determined the motives (Mass and Reflexive Communication, and Categorical and Individual Communication) behind the use of graffiti and the literary and linguistic styles between males and females. It utilized the gendered and motivational approaches to determine the motives between men and women in producing graffiti as well as the linguistic approach to determine the literary and linguistic devices. Photo-documentation was utilized to obtain the needed data. In terms of mass and reflexive communication, results revealed that both male and female graffiti were about expressions of their existence as proof and pleasure in aesthetic, creative and physical acts and boredom, but female graffiti were more about expression of oneself and documentation of group membership than male graffiti. In terms of categorical and individual communication, expressions of criticism and protest were more observed in female than male graffiti. While female graffiti contained writings about rejection and agreement/disagreement, male graffiti contained writings about search for contacts. Women made use of more literary and linguistic devices than males.

1. Introduction

Graffiti played a role in the history of mankind. Its growth and development is so diverse that makes it ripe for research and analysis. In one perspective, graffiti can be political. The Romans used it to display its distinct stamp in such a way that they wrote on the walls of buildings of the towns they conquered. In modern times, graffiti is used by street gangs to express their political views. In one other perspective, it can be artistic. History describes how and why men painted on cave walls. Graffiti has grown from merely writings or drawings on walls to a means of personal expression 1.

Benefiel 2 noted that ancient graffiti has traditionally been studied as brief texts but maintained that such was only part of the information they communicated. He even proposed a more comprehensive approach that considered their content and form and that these have to be situated more firmly within their physical and social environment. This is so since being engaged more closely with the context of graffiti relays the (ancient) use of space and the human activity with it.

On the other hand, according to Mettler 3 even though “graffiti has long been a target of municipal legislation that aims to preserve property values, public safety, and aesthetic integrity in the community” and that “not only are graffitists at risk of criminal prosecution but property owners are subject to civil and criminal penalties for harboring graffiti on their land,” it has “risen in prominence as a legitimate art form, beginning in the 1960’s and most recently with the contributions of street artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey”.

In whatever perspective graffiti is seen, culturally or linguistically, art or crime, it is a manifestation of one’s/group’s identity and an embodiment of one’s/group’s ideology. This diversity, or perhaps uncertainty, in the purpose of graffiti makes the study of it more perplexing and mystifying. More than just a means of expression, graffiti has contributed to the development, destruction and redevelopment of public spaces. Thus, many are aghast and horrified about it that led them to describe it as undisciplined and a form of crime.

In the study of Noble 4, which focused on “tagging,” “throw-up,” and “piecing” graffiti in the practice and social context of Vancouver, it explored graffiti as a hegemonic practice, and the differences and similarities in graffiti’s connotations and denotations held by opposing groups. The study also analyzed the conflict in terms of strategy and tactics, expanding on the idea of graffiti as an idiolect and subculture by exploring the 'otherness' of graffiti writers and of their art form. It also discussed public space and the conflicts surrounding its understanding and construction by examining issues of control and containment, advertising and resistance.

Hutson 5, on one hand, argued the possibility that children’s involvement on the use of graffiti provided a rare opportunity in discussing the experience of childhood. The author added that graffiti and the inter-subjective context of its production revealed some processes of becoming. Moreover, graffiti allowed an account of children’s way of learning, for instance, is the legitimate participation in a certain community of people with different levels of experience. Also provided in this relational understanding of graffiti construction are the grounds in giving attention to innovation and transformation in the medium of expression. Lastly, the author further opined that the act of representation gave these children a form of mastery over the themes which they portrayed. This allowed them to accommodate whatever confusing or difficult relations there were in their lives and in order for them to harmonize with the world that may allow them as culturally intelligible subjects.

What contributes more in the uncertainty of graffiti is the venue of the act. Other than street walls, restroom walls are also used. Dundes 6 proposed the term “latrinalia” to refer to restroom graffiti. Many of these writings on restroom walls manifested differences in terms of gender and on language use. As cited by Vosgerchian 7, Green found out, in the survey of a pair of restrooms in a library at the University of Otago, “that men were more likely to write opinions, insults and racist comments, and keep to the topics of politics and homosexuality. Women more often wrote about relationships and sex, religion and philosophy, and maintained a more positive, supportive tone with attempts to cool down heated exchanges”.

As cited by Gadsby 8, Bruner and Kelso 9 described this gender-based difference:

“An inspection of the surface text reveals that male and female restroom graffiti differ in two major respects. The first is that women's graffiti are more interactive and interpersonal; one woman will raise a question and others will provide a string of responses and serious replies. Men write about sexual conquests, sexual prowess and frequency of performance. Women's graffiti are more conversational and deal with relationships; men's are more individualistic and deal with isolated sex acts and organs.”

This kind of difference runs contrary with the study of Bates and Martin 10, who stated that it was women who wrote more graffiti than men. In addition, women are more likely to use graffiti in expressing hostile or sexual and other issue-related content. Hence, such incapability of several psychosexual assumptions to justify differences in the content of graffiti, and the problems that are intrinsic in the use of graffiti as nonreactive measures in social-psychological research were also discussed. The study included graffiti written by men and women from the public restrooms of a large eastern University.

But in the study of Wilson 11 regarding power relationships and gender in Australian prison graffiti, it was figured out that “male graffitists were preoccupied chiefly with personal identity, power and vengeance and women graffitists used graffiti to build networks and alliances in order to cope with life inside. As expressed in graffiti, their social structure is unusual in that, unlike men, virtually all women inmates expected to be sent to one prison upon conviction; they thus treated the jail as a staging-ground for their arrival and continued survival in the main prison”.

In Leong’s study 12, it was found that communication patterns used in graffiti tend to be supportive and relationship-focused in women’s bathrooms, while graffiti in men’s bathroom walls are replete with sexual content and insults, in the course of the construction of hegemonic masculinity. In the analysis of the response-and-reply chains, hierarchies of power are established and reinforced even in anonymous, unmoderated spaced, and even though humans are not physically present.

These studies reveal different results on how men and women used graffiti. Whatever differences on how it was used, it is apparent that motivations and the structure behind its use call for a gender-based analysis of graffiti.

As Gadsby 8 noted, there are differences on the language used and the way the writer employed that language. One linguistic study in the area of graffiti is that of Grider 13 who described the use of initials around their tags and public graffiti. These initials allowed them to place protection on their wall writings. Another study on the language use of graffiti is that of Oganda & Mogambi 14. The study showed the results of the linguistic study in graffiti on Public Service Vehicles in Kenya using a Lexical Pragmatics framework. The study revealed that Lexical Pragmatics Theory adequately accounted for the successful interpretation of graffiti on PSVs in Kenya. The study also revealed further that the context for effective interpretation affected effective communication in graffiti. Lastly, the study revealed that graffiti can be analyzed in any multilingual set up-English, Kiswahili, and Sheng. Moreover, Bowen 15 made recommendations with regards to revisiting teaching practices in the visual arts to include discussions about (graffiti) public audiences and contexts.

In the Philippines, there are some names that have been involved in graffiti. Hepe, a pseudonym, for instance, said that “All the small time people who cannot afford to consume the so called art found in galleries and museums and those who are psychologically abused by gigantic billboards polluting EDSA” motivated him to do graffiti 16. In addition to this, Lee Salvador, a graffiti artist, as cited by Art Radar 17, was attracted to street art due to his belief in equality: bringing art to the people who cannot afford to go to an art gallery.

Anchoring on gender and development, graffiti can be a means of decoding and untangling the inner world of individuals as they keep to themselves their feelings and emotions which are then disclosed only through writings on the walls, chairs, tables and other surfaces. Expression of and about themselves, whether it be their emotions or ideologies, although not verbally, is made possible by the use of graffiti. Insomuch as the contents of graffiti are different, they are still indicators of the interpersonal and intrapersonal self of individuals who are involved in the use of it. The study of latrinalia therefore, will elucidate gender differences on the use of graffiti.

With all these aforementioned studies and literature, this current study described the use of graffiti in functional restrooms in Saint Mary’s University (SMU), Nueva Vizcaya State University (NVSU) and Purisimo L. Tiam College, Inc (PLTC). Further, it determined the motives behind the use of graffiti among males and females, as well as the literary and linguistic styles that emanated from such were described. Specifically, this study compared the motives of males and females in terms of mass and reflexive communication, and categorical and individual communication, and the literary and linguistic devices employed by males and females in producing latrinalia.

2. Methodology

The qualitative approach was employed in this research. Specifically, the gendered and motivational approaches were used to determine and compare the motives of men and women in producing graffiti. Also, the linguistic approach was used to determine the differences and similarities between men and women with regards to the literary and linguistic devices used in graffiti. Specifically, photo-documentation was utilized to obtain the necessary data for the study. The main sources of data were the writings and drawings in the functional restrooms in SMU, NVSU Bayombong Campus and PLTC, Inc. Readable writings and drawings on the restroom walls for men were taken and compiled separately from the readable writings and drawings on the restroom walls for women. Data obtained on the differences in the motivations among males and females regarding the use of graffiti were analysed topically based on the motives of producing graffiti. Data obtained were further classified according to the different communication strategies. Textual analysis was used to analyse the data regarding the literary and linguistic devices employed in graffiti. This meant that texts were categorized under a particular or specific communication strategy.

3. Comparison of the Motives of Males and Females in Producing Latrinalia

3.1. Mass and Reflexive Communication

This section presents graffiti that refers to existence of proof, need to express oneself, documentation of group membership, pleasure in aesthetic, creative and physical acts and boredom.


3.1.1. Existence of Proof

Existence of proof refers to writing of names of restroom users that may indicate their presence. The following graffiti found in male CRs for instance, show that Drex, JB, Taeza and Randy signified their presence by means of writing on the wall of the restroom they used.

These examples of graffiti can also be seen in female CRs. The names of Jovs, Audrey, Jamina Seyd and a girl named Fleur clearly stated in writing their presence.

Names of girls are also written in the restroom of males indicating the presence of the girl in a person’s life. The following graffiti show the name of Joy and an initialled RMJT Joy in male CR.

The same can be seen also in the female CR where names of males are written. The names of Jaypee, Michael and an initialled Marvin_24, for instance, are written.

Based on these graffiti writings, it can be inferred that names, whether it be the graffitist’s own name or others, are written on the walls of CRs. Fischer’s (2004) study can put account on this finding when it mentioned that graffiti among men included “tagging” that potentially indicate territoriality or self-proclamation. However, the findings of this study reveal that indications of territoriality or self-proclamation by means of writing one’s name are not only observed in male CR but also in female CR. This finding may further imply that men and women both manifest territoriality and/or self-proclamation through graffiti writing.


3.1.2. Need to Express Oneself

This is more apparent in female CRs. Expression of affection towards a person and even hatred or guilt is seen. Graffiti like “I love you”, “I LUV U”, “I love you mahal ko” (I love you my love), and “mahal ko siya at wala kang pake” (I love him and can do nothing with it) are written.

But a more expressive way is to mention even the name of the person they are referring to like “I ♥ U Sir Domz!”, “I Love You KVS”, “Ken I love you”, and “I love you sir Mamuric or the best guard tsup tsup tsup”.

Other images that include such affection toward a person include “crush kita Kuya Lexus” (I have a crush on you Lexus), “mahal kita Mr. Saturday” and “Mariya I ♥ U”

There are even graffiti that indicate their love and adoration to a person like “I love you sir Toledo. Sir ang galing mong kumanta” (I love you sir Toledo. You are good in singing) and also even what they really want to happen like “break na tayo. Ayoko na” (I want a break up).

The findings reveal that women express their affection to a person, and these women could not express it verbally to the person involved so much so that they communicated their emotions through graffiti. It can also be observed from the findings that men do not ventilate same affection through graffiti as much as nothing about it is documented. This finding corroborates with the finding of Fischer (2004) that the graffiti in women’s CR are more focused on love and relationships. This finding also reveals similarity that women convey messages that are more relationship-oriented and confide their feelings. Hence, these findings suggest that women’s graffiti are more into a disclosure of their affective emotional state that involves a person they hold dear.


3.1.3. Pleasure in Aesthetic, Creative, Physical Acts and Boredom

Although the real intention behind the writing of the following graffiti is implicit, these graffiti can also be categorized according to pleasure in aesthetic, creative, physical acts and boredom that include numbers, figures, images and other symbols. In male CR, the following images are classified in this category.

Initials and numbers are also seen in many male CRs. These initials and numbers are however ambiguous because it may mean a name or a person who would not rather reveal his name or it can be associated to any other person, object or even event.

The use of initials and numbers like SM and RGMMER, 12, 88, 13, 037 and 26 and 21 are much more observable in female CRs. There are also graffiti where numbers were attached with the name like “BEADEL =) 14”, “FRB<3”, “KRISTEL 25” and “anne 7”.

It can be observed from the images that the use of numbers and names with numbers are manifestations of graffitists’ creative way of indicating their presence or referral to any person, object or event. These findings can be corroborated by the argument of Hutson 5 that relational understanding of graffiti production can also provide grounds for considering innovation and transformation in the medium of expression. Although the use of numbers, names with numbers or initials can be vaguely understood as means of expression, these can be considered as alternative or innovative means of expression.

In another stance, images of the male genitalia and sexual intercourse are observed in male CRs. The following images make manifest this observance in male CRs but not in female CRs. Sexual desire or sexual involvement with a person is also observed in male CR: “Naimas ni Raeven” (Raeven is delicious).

On the other hand, smiles and other image that could be product of creative imagination are found in female CRs. Also, even though no genitalia and sexual intercourse are seen in female CRs, such are stated in the form of writing like “Sex is good”. These are shown in the following images.

With regards to reference to sexual acts, male and female genitalia as shown in the above findings indicate that men are involved into writing these than females. This can be substantiated by the studies of Yogan and John 18 and Leong 12 when these mentioned that the two sexes differ in content and form and that male graffiti is often overtly sexual. These findings therefore imply that males are more sexually explicit in their writing drawing of graffiti particularly those with sexual overtones than females.


3.1.4. Documentation of Group Membership

In this category, only one image is documented. The following image that states CAS inside a circle shows such. CAS is a college in a university. This is found in a female CR.

Although only one image is documented that pertains to group membership, and found only in the female CR, it can be supported by the findings of Wilson (2008) that female graffiti is more about building networks and alliances than male graffiti.

3.2. Categorical and Individual Communication

This section presents graffiti that refers to expression of criticism, protest, rejection or agreement, marking out of territories and search for contacts


3.2.1. Expression of Criticism and Protest

Expressions of criticism, protest, rejection or agreement refer to expressions that denote disapproval, dismissal, condemnation as well as consensus. This category refers to dejection towards a person or a thing. Many of this are found in female CRs which include “I HATE U”, “tanga” (stupid), “letche” (letche is a Filipino expression of annoyance), “shitness!” and “Fuck U!!”. The following documented graffiti show these.

In the male CR, the words “FUCK” and “Shut up ass hole” are written.

Another example of expression of criticism and protest can be manifested in the following graffiti which states “mga desperado ever heard of AIDS? STD? TSK” (Desperate people! Have you ever hear of AIDS and STD) and “Hey! Vandalism is a crime Don’t write on me dickhead!” These are found in male CR.

In female CRs, criticism and protest are usually directed to a person like “Sinungaling ka Mac” (You are a liar Mac), “(name of a girl) laspag” (laspag is a Filipino term to an overly sexed person usually a female), “FUCK (surname of a male teacher)” and “kung dancer ka Puta ka!” (If you are a dancer, you are a whore) or toward a particular group like “EDUC MANDURURGAS” (Education students are cheaters) and “puno ng plastic (name of University)” (There are many fake people in (name of a University)). These are seen in the images presented below.

Only one image that contains a criticism/protest against a person is seen in a male CR. It states “Gago ka (name of a male person) ampanget panget mo (with an unclear initial of the graffitist)” (You are stupid name of a male person. You are so ugly).

Other criticisms and protest but do not anymore include the names are “PUTA EH DI WOW STOP MAKING STUPID PEOPLE FAMOUS” and “foolish people”. These are found in male CRs.

In female CRs, there are a lot of graffiti that show comments and protests but are not directed to a person, thing or group which include “Tanga Gaga” (Dumb stupid), “Putang ina mo” (Your mother is a whore), “Putang ina nyo” and “U GOT NO BIG TITS”. The following graffiti show these.

The above images reveal that women are more expressive of their angst and hatred given that more explicit terms are found in female CRs than in male CRs. This runs contrary to the findings of Green 19 that graffiti from the female toilets are more polite, but it corroborates with the findings of the study when Green 19 mentioned that men are more argumentative. This study and the study of Green 19 indicate that women can express their hatred and angst towards a person, object or group through latrinalia.


3.2.2. Rejection and Agreement/Disagreement

Other than criticism and protests, rejection and agreement are also observed. The statements like “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME I HATE YOU DI BALE MADAMI AQNG SUITORS” (How could you do this to me? I hate you! Anyway, I have a lot of suitors) and “lagi na lang siyang ganun! “Never Ending Trouble” BWIST! TALAGA ang life natin!” (That person has always been like that. Our life has always been like this. Never ending trouble) imply both rejection and some sort of disagreement. These are seen in female CRs.

The images above show that women are more expressive of their feelings so much so that none like these are found in male CRs. This finding confirms with the study of Leong 12 that women conveyed messages that are more relationship oriented, and they confide private thoughts and feelings and that of Fischer 20 when it mentioned that graffiti in women’s CRs are more about love and relationships.


3.2.3. Search for contact

Search for contacts are observed in male CRs but not in female CRs. Mobile numbers and search for pleasure are clearly stated: “09202016209”, “blow job? Insert # here”, “I’ll wait for your text”, “09752174237”, “09359585355” “blowjob please? Titi” and “sexm8 plz w/ big cock txt me 09359904588”.

The images presented above show the CP numbers of graffitists and their desire. It can be inferred from these images that these graffitists are searching for contacts as well as their sexual motives. These writing of contacts and their sexual desire corroborate the findings of Leong 12 that male graffiti are more sexual with reference to sexual acts than female graffiti that is less sexually explicit but does not confirm with the finding that homophobia is frequent in male CRs. These therefore imply that men are more expressive of their sexual desire, and in some instances, their homophobic sexual desires.

4. Literary Devices Employed in the Use of Latrinalia

This section presents the literary devices that are employed in the use of graffiti of males and females in comfort rooms.

The following image shows a notice to users of the comfort room. But a graffiti writer creatively writes punishments for offenders.

Notice: GAMITIN PO ANG TIMBA SA PAGBUHOS NG INYONG IHI. PANATILIHING MALINIS PO ANG ATING PALIKURAN. SALAMAT PO. (Kindly flush using the pale. Let’s keep our restroom clean. Thank you)

Graffiti Writer: Fines: 1,500 – 1st offense

3,000 – 2nd offense

3rd offense – death squad

Two other graffiti writings that poke fun to a notice are the following images. The first image states “(NOT POTABLE) FOR WASHING ONLY”. Graffitists modified it by erasing some letters and replacing O with U creating a new word which is PUTA. This illustrates the use of pun, specifically, homonymic pun where a word is used in place of another which has the same spelling but different meaning supposedly to evoke humor. In the graffiti below, the changing of the vowel “o” in potable results to two possible words. If the suffix –ble is erased as was done, the first word is “puta”, a Filipino slang word referring to a whore. This is an example of punning in the re-division of words which Sheivandi, Taghinezhad, Alishavandi and Ranjbar 21 observed in graffiti in Iran. But if the suffix is retained, a newly coined word “putable” which can be roughly translated to English as “capacity” or “able to be a whore” is formed. As a form of word play, these are intended to evoke humor but in this case, it is black humor which seems to make fun of women.

In the same image, another graffitist added the word MACHINE to the word WASHING creating the words MACHINE WASHING referring to an appliance. A kind of word play is done by the graffitist when drawing on his repertoire of things he must have encountered daily, he formed a compound which is totally unrelated to the word in the announcement posted.

The second one refers to a notice that states “THIS CUBICALE IS FOR URINATION ONLY”. A graffitist responds to it by writing “But I wanna poo poo”. Poo poo is a slang word formed by reduplication of syllables. It must have been derived from the word “poop” which means feces. As a verb which means “to defecate” or as a noun which means “feces”, poo poo is normally used as a kind of baby talk intended for babies or when someone embodies a juvenile character purposefully or humorously as seen in the graffiti. Substantiating what Nilsen 22 observed, besides creating humor, this graffiti indexes the culture of the writer, one where slang such as poo poo is part of the folk language.

The following graffiti shows affection to a person but the response is presented with a face. It says: I ♥ U MAYOYA and an arrow points out to a drawing of a face

Graffiti serve as an avenue for airing feelings, thoughts, wishes or attitudes that are otherwise kept in secret for fear of rejection or negative reactions 23. This seems to be purpose of the graffiti above where the writer expresses his feelings towards a person. But to mitigate the possible impact of rejection to his declaration of love, he makes use of a visual image, that of a tongue sticking out smiley. Moreover, the use of a drawing in this graffito, a characteristic of graffiti in the transition stage 24 somewhat emphasizes the human dimension of the source giving the reader the impression of authentic communicating with someone.

A graffiti documented also shows affection to a person but the responses are annoyingly sarcastic. The image states: “H♥U POO” but a graffiti writer responds with “Yucks!!!” and another graffiti writer responds with “ASA KA PA!!! Kabayo” (Your wish! Horse!). Sarcasm is revealed in several ways.

First, a writer used the slang word “Yucks”, an onomatopoeic expression and one which is usually used by the young to express disgust. The emotional load of the word is emphasized by three exclamation points.

Second, in the last part of the dialogue, a writer uses capital letters and codeswitches to Filipino to express strong agreement to a negative comment made.

Third, name-calling, a kind of propaganda technique, is also evident in the use of the word “Kabayo” (Horse), a highly negatively connotative word that probably refers to a person’s physical attributes.

On the whole, the use of the slang word “yucks”, the emotional load of the exclamation points, the use of capital letters and the implications of the Filipino local slang expression “Kabayo” contribute to the sarcasm in the graffiti.

There are things about language use that can be extracted from the image. First is the use of dialogue among three persons who may remain totally strangers to each other but have found communion with one another through participating in graffiti conversation. Dialogue is in fact one of its distinctive language use 21.

An inspection of graphology also reveals that text- speak is used. This does not only show that the source is proficient in computer style of communicating or uses new modifications 25 but indexes his identity: he belongs to the young generation. Moreover, as a form of literal visual imagery, the figure of a heart denotes the lighthearted response of one graffiti writer.

Another graffiti that shows sarcastic remarks states “kinaganda mo na yan? Problema ba kay Sienna insecure ka lang!” referring to an unclear graffiti writing.

A more insulting response can be seen in the following image where a graffiti writer responds with “pakyu ka” (fuck you) to another graffiti writer who states “sinungaling ka Mac” (You’re a liar Mac).

Just like the use of the word “poo poo” or the expression “yucks”, the graffito above exemplifies use of slang – the swear word “pakyu ka”, an adaptation of the English profanity, “Fuck you” following Filipino phonology.

The following combines graffiti writings with an insulting remark and another with a writing of somehow funny and comical response.

The graffiti above contains an erasure of a previously written graffiti. The response to it states, “HEY MISS WALA KA RIGHT NA SABIHAN SIYA NG GANYAN! HINDI MO SIYA KILALA INSECURE KA LANG! BITTER!” (Hey Miss! You do not have the right to say that. You do not know that person! You are just insecure! Bitter) Another graffiti writer responds with “Tumigil ka sa kababandal at ipapagamod KITA!!! PILIIN MO KINAKALABAN MO!!!! (I’ll tell the sorcerer about you if do not stop from vandalizing. You should choose who you are fighting with!)

The graffiti shows primary use of words 24. Moreover, though not polite, it is interactive and somewhat argumentative 19 as it illustrates how writers respond by erasing or verbal exchange. Moreover, the emotions felt by the writers are expressed through graphology, i.e. using capital letters, and punctuation marks, i.e. exclamation points. A more interesting feature of this graffiti though is the use of code-mixing between Filipino and a local dialect, Ilocano. The word “gamod” is creatively incorporated into Filipino through following the morphological process of forming Filipino words, thus, resulting to “ipapagamod”.

The image below shows the previously identified features to express a negative tone.

The image above contains the following conversations.

Graffitist 1: magbibreyk din kayo (Both of you will break up)

Response 1: Bitter

Response 2: You’re so ugly bitch!

Response 3: Ugly bitter!!! WTF!!!

Response 4: Ano ba kayo walang forever hahaha! (There is no forever)

Response 5: Kayo a mga panget at bitch:P wahahaha!!! (You are all ugly and bitch! waaaa)

Again, this graffiti shows the interaction among participants as they express feelings and emotions which could not have been done easily in face-to-face communication 19, 23, 24. The strong negative emotions are accentuated through the use of colloquial expressions (i.e. bitter, walang forever), slang (i.e. bitch), punctuation marks (i.e. exclamation points repeated), text-speak profanity (i.e. WTF); name-calling (i.e. panget); smiley (:P), and onomatopoeic expression (i.e. wahahaha) used to reveal emotions on of which is bitterness.

Moreover, the graffiti exemplifies use of Filipinized spelling (i.e. magbibreyk from break) and code switching (i.e. Kayo a mga panget at bitch).

Meanwhile, the image illustrates two things: the use of dialogue and the use of local swear words (Puta ka!, Ulol)

Gach 23 suggested that graffiti give users the freedom to air their feelings without fear of rebuttal. As the images that follow show, this does not seem to be the case as other graffitists also freely expressed their opinions to the point of using a condescending attitude towards the source of messages.

In the image below, one graffitist writes “break na tayo ayoko na!” (Let’s end our relationship), another graffitist responds with “ayaw ka niya” (That person does not like you), and one other graffitist responds with “took you so long to realize that”.

This dialogue between the writers show code-mixing between Filipino and English; it is a feature seen in the other graffiti which somehow explains the local linguistic ecology where the writers belong. In contrast, the image below shows use of the local language as two graffitists respond to each other.

Here, one says “Bakit niyo papakasalanin ang taong wala naman talagang kinuha?” (Why would you put the blame on the person who did not even get it?) A graffitist responds to this by writing “Iyak ka na lang” (Just Cry).

This interactive nature of graffiti is further illustrated in the image below where a graffiti which states affection to a person is given a response of what the graffitist may not know about the person she holds dear. The image below states “I ♥ U SIR (name of male teacher)!” but another graffitist responds with “Tanga bakla siya” (He is gay)!

In terms of devices, the exchange of thoughts between the graffitists reveals the use of text-speak (.i.e. I ♥ U), identifying target of the message and slang (i.e. tanga). Furthermore, the graffiti is about love and relationship which 20) discovered to be among the common themes in female latrinalia.

The above described graffiti images are seen in female CRs. A few conversations are seen in Male CRs.

Clearly, what is written on the walls in male CRs are not about emotions of affections that are apparent in female CR.

The above writing which states “Hey! Vandalism is a crime Don’t Write on me dickhead” receives a response which says “Shut up ass hole!”

In the graffiti above, the writer used hailing (e.g. Hey!) probably to call the attention of the readers. Secondly, it exhibits the use of a vulgar British slang (i.e. dickhead). More importantly, the whole graffiti is an example of irony. The writer tells the reader not to commit vandalism as it is a crime but he himself committed it, most probably intentionally, by writing the graffiti. Additionally, it bears a tag (i.e. by Kirby Maddela) which attests to what Fischer 20 found that men graffitist usually do more tagging.

An explicit conversation is seen in the male CR. The following images show such.

The above images show the following conversations.

Graffitist 1: Blow Job and sexm8t anyone and kung sino ang libog jan txt me (an erased CP number is written) (Blowjob and sexmate anyone and those who are horny, text me).

Graffitist 2: Malaki ba titi mo? Gay ka ba or lalaki (Do you have big dick? Are you gay or straight man?)

Graffitist 3: Gay ako bakit?? (I am gay! Why?)

Another explicit conversation is also seen in a male CR. The conversation runs:

Graffitist 1: Sexm8 plz For Boys Only w/ Big Cocks give me ur CP #

Graffitist 2: 09359904588

Graffitist 3: gwapo ka ba at malake ba titi mo? (Are you handsome and is tour dick big?)

Graffitist 4: masarap talaga ako sanay pa. (I am really delicious and experienced)

Graffitist 5: Di ka naman ma reach sumasagot at magtetext gaano kalaki titi mo??? Gwapo ka ba? (I could not reach your number. How big is your dick?)

Graffitist 6: Mga desperado ever heard of AIDS? STD? TSK (You are all desperate! Have you ever heard of AIDS? STD?)

The conversation can be seen in the following images.

Just like many graffiti which are utilized as venue for exchange, the above conversations show how graffitists involve themselves in the topic. As seen, more than three persons are exchanging their thoughts about unsurprisingly some of the usual themes: sex and genitalia. Devices used are text-speak as a form of jargon (i.e. sexm8t), borrowed slang (i.e. cocks), common abbreviations (i.e. CP #) and code-switching. Interestingly, the graffiti shows intertextuality as the writer imitated the format of an ad (i.e. Sexm8 plz For Boys Only w/ Big Cocks give me ur CP #) so that anyone reading it will read it an one. As expected, like in advertisements for products, there are queries made. This is evident in the graffiti as other writers contribute something to it.

Given the above findings, it can be observed that men and women display different ways or manner of communication both in content and form. Although Tannen’s 26 study was about differences between men and women in the workplace wherein women were said to be more humble and boys emphasize the qualities that make them look good, men and women show otherwise based on the document graffiti.

5. Conclusion

Motives of male and female adolescents can be understood through the produced latrinalia. Although the motives in the areas of mass and reflexive communication and categorical and individual communication show differences between males and females, graffiti served as an avenue for communication and expression of their inner selves. Females employ more linguistic devices than males. This means that motives of females are expressed through the use of varied linguistic and literary devices in comparison to the expression of motives by males.

Acknowledgements

The researchers greatly acknowledge Saint Mary’s University, Nueva Vizcaya State University and Purisimo L. Tiam, Inc. for allowing the researchers in conducting the study. Acknowledgements are also due to the Administration and the University Research Center for incentives awarded for this paper.

Ethics

This paper has been submitted only to the Journal of Social Sciences for publication and there is no conflict of interest with other journals or publications.

References

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In article      View Article
 
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Published with license by Science and Education Publishing, Copyright © 2018 Christopher Allen S. Marquez, Haydee D. James and Mabel D. Mamaoag

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Cite this article:

Normal Style
Christopher Allen S. Marquez, Haydee D. James, Mabel D. Mamaoag. Understanding Gender Differences on Motivations and Literary and Linguistic Devices in Graffiti. World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities. Vol. 4, No. 3, 2018, pp 177-188. http://pubs.sciepub.com/wjssh/4/3/6
MLA Style
Marquez, Christopher Allen S., Haydee D. James, and Mabel D. Mamaoag. "Understanding Gender Differences on Motivations and Literary and Linguistic Devices in Graffiti." World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 4.3 (2018): 177-188.
APA Style
Marquez, C. A. S. , James, H. D. , & Mamaoag, M. D. (2018). Understanding Gender Differences on Motivations and Literary and Linguistic Devices in Graffiti. World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 4(3), 177-188.
Chicago Style
Marquez, Christopher Allen S., Haydee D. James, and Mabel D. Mamaoag. "Understanding Gender Differences on Motivations and Literary and Linguistic Devices in Graffiti." World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 4, no. 3 (2018): 177-188.
Share
[1]  A Modern Perspective on Graffiti. (1995). Retrieved from https://www.graffiti.org/faq/cl.html.
In article      View Article
 
[2]  Benefiel, R.R. (2010). Dialogues of ancient graffiti in the house of Maius Castricius in Pompeii. American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 114, No. 1 (Jan., 2010), pp 59-101.
In article      View Article
 
[3]  Mettler, M.L. (2012). Graffiti museum: A first amendment argument for protecting uncommissioned art on private property. Michigan Law Review, Vol. 111, No. 2 (November 2012), pp. 249-281.
In article      
 
[4]  Noble, C. (2004). City space: A semiotic and visual exploration of graffiti and public space in Vancouver. Retrieved from https://www.graffiti.org/faq/noble_semiotic_warfare2004.html.
In article      View Article
 
[5]  Hutson, S.R. (2011). The art of becoming: the graffiti of Tikal, Guatemala. Latin American Antiquity, Vol. 22, No. 4 (December 2011), pp. 403-426.
In article      View Article
 
[6]  Dundes, A. (1996). Here I sit--A study of American latrinalia. Kroeber Anthropological Society Papers 34: 91-105.
In article      
 
[7]  Vosgerchian, J. (2009). Boys, girls and bathroom graffiti. The Michigan Daily. December 8, 2009.
In article      
 
[8]  Gadsby, J. (1995). Looking at the Writing on the Wall: A Critical Review and Taxonomy of Graffiti Texts. Retrieved from https://www.graffiti.org/faq/critical.review.html.
In article      
 
[9]  Bruner, E. M. & Kelso, J. P. (1980). Gender Differences in Graffiti: A Semiotic Perspective. Women's Studies International Quarterly 3.2/3: 239-252.
In article      View Article
 
[10]  Bates, J.A. & Martin, M. (1980). The thematic content of graffiti as a nonreactive indicator of male and female attitudes. The Journal of Sex Research, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Nov., 1980), pp. 300-315.
In article      View Article
 
[11]  Wilson, J.Z. (2008). Pecking orders: Power relationships and gender in Australian prison graffiti. Ethnography, Vol. 9, No. 1 (March, 2008), pp. 99-121.
In article      View Article
 
[12]  Leong, B. ((2010). American graffiti: deconstructing gendered communication patterns in bathroom stalls. Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography. Volume 23, Issue 3, 2016.
In article      
 
[13]  Grider, S. A. (1975). Con Safos: Mexican-Americans, Names and Graffiti. Journal of American Folklore 88.347: 132-142.
In article      View Article
 
[14]  Oganda, O.H & Mogambi, H. (2015). The language of graffiti on public transport vehicles in Kenya: Issues and perspectives. International Journal of Education and Research Vol. 3 No. 6 June 2015.
In article      
 
[15]  Bowen, T.E. (1999). Graffiti art. A contemporary study of Toronto artists. Studies in Art Education: A Journal of Issues and Research, Volume 41, Issue 1, 1999.
In article      
 
[16]  Dela Paz, C.L. (2009). A modern graffiti artisti: Hepe. Artes de las Filipinas. Retrieved from http://www.artesdelasfilipinas.com/archives/71/modern-graffiti-artist-hepe.
In article      View Article
 
[17]  Art Radar. (2014). Manila’s mean streets: 7 Filipino street artists. Part 3. Retrieved from http://artradarjounal.com/2014/05/06manilas-mean-streets-7-filipino-street-artists-part-3/.
In article      View Article
 
[18]  Yogan, L., & Johnson, L. M. (2006). Gender differences in jail house art and graffiti. The South Shore Journal, 1, 31-52.
In article      
 
[19]  Green, J.A. (2003). Writing in the stall: Gender and graffiti. Journal of language and Social Psychology. vol. 22 no. 3 282-296.
In article      View Article
 
[20]  Fisher, M.L. (2014). Sex differences in the topics of bathroom graffiti. Human Ethology Bulletin – Proc. of the IV ISHE Summer Institute (2014): 68-81.
In article      
 
[21]  Sheivani, L., Taghinezhad, A., Alishavandi, A & Ranjbir S. (2015). Exploring linguistic aspects in Iranians’ graffiti. Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research Volume 2, issue 5, 2015, pp. 62-73.
In article      
 
[22]  Nilsen, D.L.F. (1980). The grammar of graffiti. American Speech, Vol. 55, No. 3 (Autumn, 1980), pp. 234-239.
In article      View Article
 
[23]  Gach, V. (1973). Graffiti. College English, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Dec., 1973), pp. 285-287.
In article      View Article
 
[24]  Gross, D.D. & Gross, T.D. (1993). Tagging: Changing visual patterns and the rhetorical implications of a new form of graffiti. ETC: A Review of General Semantics, Vol. 50, No. 3, Special Issue: More E-Prime Controversy: The Second Symposium (Fall 1993), pp. 251-264.
In article      
 
[25]  Gopnik, B. (2011). Revolution in a can: Graffiti is as American as apple pie, but much easier to export. Foreign Policy, No. 189 (November 2011), pp.92-93.
In article      
 
[26]  Tannen, D. (1994). Talking from 9 to 5: Women and men in the workplace: Language, sex, and power. New York: Avon Books.
In article      PubMed