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Gendered Nonverbal Communication. Chapter 6. Gendered Nonverbal Communication. Nonverbal behaviors 65%+ of the total meaning of communication Nonverbal = all elements of communication other than words Learned through interaction with others. Gendered Nonverbal Communication.

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gendered nonverbal communication2
Gendered Nonverbal Communication
  • Nonverbal behaviors 65%+ of the total meaning of communication
  • Nonverbal = all elements of communication other than words
  • Learned through interaction with others
gendered nonverbal communication3
Gendered Nonverbal Communication
  • Nonverbal communication related to gender and culture:
    • Expresses cultural meanings of gender
    • Men and women use to present themselves as gendered people
to supplement verbal comm
To Supplement Verbal Comm.
  • Supplement verbal messages:
    • Repeat words
    • Contradict verbal message
    • Complement verbals
    • Replace verbal message
    • Accent verbal message
to regulate interaction
To Regulate Interaction
  • Regulate interaction
    • Women use to invite others into conversation
    • Men use to hold onto talk stage
to establish relationship level
To Establish Relationship Level
  • Establish relationship level of meaning
    • Responsiveness
      • Women more responsive than men
      • Cultivated in feminine speech communities
to establish relationship level7
To Establish Relationship Level
  • Females
    • Smile more
    • Maintain more eye contact
    • Maintain more direct body orientation
to establish relationship level8
To Establish Relationship Level
  • Males
    • Lean forward
    • Adopt postures congruent with speaker
functions of nonverbals
Functions of Nonverbals
  • Other aspects of identity interact with gender to influence responsiveness
    • Japanese women refrain from smiling
    • US – African American women don’t smile as much as Caucasian
  • Liking
    • Signal we like or dislike others
    • Females socialized to be nice
      • More nonverbal signals of friendliness than men
    • Also signal dislike
power or control
Power or Control
  • Power or control
    • Power = degree we act as equal, dominant, deferential
    • Control = who defines topics, directs conversation, defers
power or control12
Power or Control
  • Vocal qualities
  • Touch
  • Use of space
power or control13
Power or Control
  • Nonverbal behaviors assert or defer territoriality
  • Women more likely than men to surrender territory
forms of nonverbal communication
Forms of Nonverbal Communication
  • Cultural views of gender are evident in nonverbal messages directed at males and females
  • Communicate in ways that express gender identities
  • Personal objects that influence how see self and express identity
  • Parents send messages through toys give to sons and daughters
  • Boys given toys that invite competition, active play
  • Girls given toys that encourage nurturing, attention to appearance
  • Toy catalogs offer messages about cultural meanings
  • Girls are pretty, soft, nurturing
  • Boys are active, adventurous, aggressive
    • See an example at:
  • In adult life, continue to reflect cultural views of masculinity and femininity
    • Men’s clothes not as colorful, more functional
    • Women’s clothes call attention to body, less functional
  • Meaning depends on cultural context
  • Advertisements for food, homemaking, child rearing feature women
  • Products associated with work, cars, sports feature men (or women in seductive poses)
  • Cosmetics industry multimillion dollar business
  • Some use artifacts to challenge existing perceptions
    • Men wear earrings
    • Women wear military boots
proximity and personal space
Proximity and Personal Space
  • Proxemics refers to use of space
  • Different cultures have different norms
  • Offer insight into power and status accorded to groups in society
proximity and personal space21
Proximity and Personal Space
  • Men have private spaces
  • Few women with families have private spaces
  • Personal space we don’t want others to invade
  • Not equally respected
  • People with power more likely to enter space of those with less power
  • Men go into women’s spaces more than women enter men’s
  • How respond to invasion?
    • Women more likely to accept invasion and cede territory
    • Men more likely to challenge invasion
haptics touch
Haptics (Touch)
  • Touch from adults communicates differently
  • Parents touch daughters more often and more gently
  • Boys learn to associate touching with control and power
haptics touch25
Haptics (Touch)
  • Women initiate touches that express support
  • Men use touch to assert power and express sexual interest
  • Women may perceive men’s touch as harassing
  • Gay and lesbians may not feel can touch in public
haptics touch26
Haptics (Touch)
  • Men tend to have more physical confidence
  • More willing to use physical force
kinesics facial and body motion
Kinesics (Facial and Body Motion)
  • Women’s movements signal they are approachable, friendly, unassuming
  • Men’s movements indicate they are reserved, in control
kinesics facial and body motion28
Kinesics (Facial and Body Motion)
  • Men more likely to use movements aggressively
  • Women signal interest by sustaining eye contact
  • Men do not sustain eye contact during conversations
    • Except when challenge others
  • Vocal cues that accompany communication
  • Difference between average male and average female pitch exceeds physiological explanations
  • Women use higher pitch, softer volume, more inflection
  • Men use lower pitch, greater volume
  • Women perceived as feminine assumed to be pretty, immature
  • Men perceived as masculine assumed to be intelligent, mature
physical appearance
Physical Appearance
  • Men and women pressured to meet cultural ideals
  • Concern about appearance not as much of a problem for males
  • Men with concerns tend to focus on musculature
    • See how GI Joe has changed:
physical appearance33
Physical Appearance
  • Girls and women more dissatisfied with appearance
  • Dislike of bodies affects self-esteem
  • Find it impossible to resist pervasive pressure to be thin
physical appearance34
Physical Appearance
  • Concern about weight starts early
  • By 5, many girls have negative self-images based on weight
physical appearance35
Physical Appearance
  • Pressure to be thin contributes to epidemic of eating disorders
    • Learn more at:
physical appearance36
Physical Appearance
  • Ideals reflected in popular culture:
    • Mannequins
    • Borgata Babes
    • Kate Winslet
    • Miss America
    • Playboy centerfolds
physical appearance37
Physical Appearance
  • Women give less attention to more important aspects of identity
  • Women with internalized cultural view of femininity more susceptible to cultural ideals
physical appearance38
Physical Appearance
  • African American women more satisfied with bodies, less prone to eating disorders
  • More men working out and using steroids to develop muscularity
  • Physical appearance more closely linked to self-worth for gay men
interpreting nonverbal behavior
Interpreting Nonverbal Behavior
  • Women more skilled at interpreting nonverbals and identifying emotions
  • Females more adept at decoding emotions
  • Men faster at noticing angry faces
interpreting nonverbal behavior40
Interpreting Nonverbal Behavior
  • Females’ right brain specialization may make more adept at decoding emotions
  • Cognitive development and social learning females encouraged to be sensitive to others
interpreting nonverbal behavior41
Interpreting Nonverbal Behavior
  • Women’s standpoint as caregivers
  • Women outnumber men in caring professions
  • Decoding skill results from women's standpoint as subordinate members of society
cultural values
Cultural Values
  • Women emphasize communality
  • Men emphasize agency
  • Western society values agency more than communality
  • Masculine characteristics perceived as norm for healthy adults
cultural values43
Cultural Values
  • Cultural beliefs not etched in stone
  • Can resist unequal views of agency and communality
  • Recognize different styles
  • Can choose not to embody gendered nonverbal style
respecting gendered styles
Respecting Gendered Styles
  • Chapter empowers us to be more effective communicators
  • Greater accuracy in interpreting others results from understanding differences
  • Suspend judgment based on own perspectives
respecting gendered styles45
Respecting Gendered Styles
  • Consider what others mean more thoughtfully
  • Ask for clarification
  • Make an effort to appreciate others
  • Becomes easier with practice
respecting gendered styles46
Respecting Gendered Styles
  • Increases your range of options
  • Empower yourself to create style that reflects identity assign to self