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A discourse community and cosmetology Essay

To some people a cosmetologist may not have the perfect job. However they have been around for centuries. Cosmetologists didn’t have the name they have today, but they date back to Ancient Egypt, China, Rome, and Greece. Every culture has incorporated beauty into their everyday lifestyle. The field of cosmetology is somewhat of a more broader field than others. Cosmetologists can decide to style hair or he/she can chose to incorporate hair, skin, and nails all together. Whatever he/she decides they could most likely get a job anywhere in the world whether it be a celebrity stylist or a small town hairdresser.

While a student in a Comp 1 class we had an assignment to read John Swales’ Six Characteristics of a Discourse Community, and after reading it, I realized that in the field of cosmetology we have a few of the main characteristics of a discourse community. We have clear goals, a particular lexis, intercommunication, and certain genres that are used daily in the hair industry. Methodology As a cosmetologist at Supercuts # 80201 I needed to find out if we were in fact a discourse community. So in between our busy hours I was able to get a copy of the textual ways of communication.

A few of the things I got were color cards, waxing cards, price list, permission slip, schedule, and a business card. I was able to get an interview with Michele Yancey the manager of Supercuts # 80201. I asked her a series of about fifteen questions. I concluded that she was a more experienced cosmetologist and she would be able to take on any challenging task that occurred in the salon. I was also able to observe a fellow co-worker Brandie Fenelon to be a witness of someone practicing great customer service. Results

After observing the salon atmosphere I saw that Supercuts # 80201 has all six characteristics of a discourse community. However my research will only cover four of the six characteristics. First, Supercuts # 80201 has a broadly agreed upon set of goals that are also the goals of Peak Management, the franchise owner of Supercuts # 80201. Some of the goals that I found are keeping the clients happy at all time with a minimal wait time. Meaning that the manager is to schedule enough stylist for every shift. Another shared goal is to make sure every client gets to experience the 360* cut.

Which includes offering a shampoo after the cut and recommend products to take home and “Rock the Cut”. Another shared goal would be great customer service. Upon observing Brandie Fenelon, my co-worker at Supercuts # 80201, she demonstrated the way one should show great customer service. As the client walked thru the door she greeted him with a smile, asked for his name, added him into the computer, introduced herself, showed him to his seat, and discussed what service she was going to perform that day. When the client left he was pleased with the 360* service he received. Another shared goal is a fulfilling clientele.

Without a large clientele we wouldn’t have the funds to run an efficient salon/business, and pay for the supplies that are needed to color someone’s hair or wax someone’s lip or brows. Second, Supercuts # 80201 has certain textual genres. Besides verbally communicating with each other the cosmetologists at Supercuts # 80201 have a few things that have to be done before a color or a waxing service. Before either service the client has to fill out a questionnaire, then the cosmetologist reads over the information to make sure that it is safe to perform the service requested.

These cards are kept in case the client doesn’t sue for malpractice. They are also kept as a record of their history, what the exact color was/is or what they got waxed, and the outcome of the service. Instead of the client getting frustrated we can pull the card and they can initial every time they get a service that requires a signature. The cards also act as a quote for the client making sure the service fits their budget. A second way of textual communication is the price list. It is set to make sure the clients are treated fairly and the cosmetologist can make a living.

If we didn’t have a price list the customer would get confused and wonder why they pay a different price every time they came to the salon. A third way of textual communication is through e-mail. When corporate decides to have a special they send a detailed e-mail as well as a facsimile of everything that is on sale. They also send mass e-mails to every salon to warn them about theft and manipulation of sales tickets and the consequences of the crime. They also send e-mails of encouragement with contests to reward every stylist that gives a 360* experience to every client that walks thru the door.

Third, Supercuts # 80201 has a certain intercommunication. When a stylist calls Peak Management for help he or she has to decide what person is going to be able to best address their needs. After calling the corporate location the person needing help is to record their name, as well as the store name, number, and location. As a larger company we send out invitations to come into out salon and get a percentage or certain dollar amount off of a product, a haircut, or sometimes a color. We also have a schedule that is posted two weeks in advance.

If there is a day that we need off there is a calendar close by so that we can jot down when and why we can not work that day. Finally, the cosmetologists at Supercuts # 80201 have a specific lexis that we use in our discourse community. There are two different types of lexis used in our discourse community. The first one is a spoken lexis that most people wouldn’t understand. For example we say things like 1. 5 ounces of 6rv with 10 volume or he wants a fade with finger length on top. Then there is a written lexis, for example, 1/3 7nb, 1/3 7nn, & 1/3 6rb w/ 20 vol. or h/c w/Chelsey.

All of the examples are those used everyday in our community. Analysis After analyzing everything that I had collected, I saw that I have everything that makes the field of cosmetology a discourse community. After reading Ann M. Johns article I answered one of her questions. Are there layers of community? (500) As a member of a discourse community I had an assignment to collect certain things for this paper and I did find that there are layers to the community. In our discourse community we have three layer the first being Regis Corporation, the second being Peak Management, and the third being the individual salons where the stylists work.

The Regis Corporation is there for the merchandise we receive and sell. They are also the ones that send the supplies that we order when we are out. Peak Management is the owner of the individual salons. They are the ones who pay for the supplies that are used on a daily basis. Then there are the stylists that work in the salon and keep it going. The goals, textual genres, intercommunication are the same through out the layers of the community, however the lexis is different. A cosmetologist has to go to school to learn hair, but to own a salon you don’t have to have the education.

Therefore the people of the corporate office are not able to understand the lexis used in the salon. Regis Corporation is there to provide the supplies that are needed for everyday use. They only own the name Supercuts. Peak Management is who is responsible for marketing and the advertisements that are out there. They offer the highest hourly rate as oppose to booth rent or commission. They also set the pay rate and sign the stylists pay check. As well as providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere for their stylists to work in.

They also provide the funds for the contests and bonuses that are available to us. The stylists that work for Supercuts also have to supply their own equipment such as clippers, razors, and shears for their clients. We have to provide a little more than Regis Corporation and Peak Management because we are on a level of contact with each person that walk thru the salon door. So if I am not up to my highest potential to perform my job as a stylist I may loose a client. Therefore I have to make sure I give a 360* experience to each client I have in order to insure the security of my job.

In my opinion people that join certain communities are joining because they are around people with the same likes and dislikes. The reason I joined the Supercuts # 80201 is because I get to have the interaction with people that I enjoy. It gives me the satisfaction of seeing clients walking out with a smile. Conclusion Within this paper you will find four of the six characteristics of a discourse community as defined by John Swales. They consist of clear goals, a particular lexis, intercommunication, and certain genres that make the community I am in a discourse community.

I hope I have helped you to understand how a cosmetologist could be classified as a discourse community. As a cosmetologist I have set goals that I have to go by in order to have my clientele leave happy and come back. Works Cited Swales, John. “The Concept of Discourse Community. ” Writing about Writing: A College Reader. By Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 468-79. Print. Johns, Ann M. “Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice: Membership, Conflict, and Diversity. ” Text, Role, and Context: Developing Academic Literacies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. 500-01. Print.

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