GENDERED COMMUNICATION PRACTICES “Communication between men and women can be like cross cultural communication, prey to a clash of conversational styles” Deborah Tannen (1990)
Caveats • “Gender” and “Sex” are not the same. • Gender is not a yes/no question. • Issues of the “margins”
Freudian Identification Theory • Identification with same-sex parent model • Male development stems from defensive identification (fear of retaliation from a powerful figure • Female development stems from the anaclitic (Fear of Loss) • Freud’s theories are fraught with sexist, shoddy methodology
Social Interaction Theories • Gender is shaped through our interactions with others. • Focus on a mechanism by which individuals acquire gender identity • Socialization – the process by which children acquire the values and behaviors seen as appropriate for their gender. (More in labs) • Examples of S.I.T. include Social Learning Theory and Cognitive Development Theories
Social Learning Theory Same-sex (Mother and daughter) models at home and in the media provide reinforcement for gender-appropriate behaviors.
Cognitive Development Theory • A child’s concept of gender develops in stages until five or six years of age. • Gender constancy is attained at a specific point during developments, when this occurs, the child’s role shifts from one of passive receiver of gender to one of active seeker of reinforcement. • Identification with their same sex parent
Social Role Theories • Social Role Theory – a set of behavior patterns that define the expected behavior for individuals in a given position or status. • Symbolic interaction – individuals develop their view of self from their perception of the expectations of significant others. • Expectations of appropriate behavior are communicated by feedback.
Summation of Social Interaction Theories of Gender • Social Learning Theory • Cognitive Developmental Theory • Social Role Theory
Moral Voices Theory • Early social environment is experienced differently by male and female children. • Female identity formations takes place in the context of an ongoing relationship with their mothers • Males must separate psychologically from their mothers in order to define themselves as masculine.
Moral Voices Theory • Male gender identity is threatened by intimacy while female gender identity is threatened through separation. • Men have problems with relationships, women have troubles with differentiation. • Gilligan has been critiqued for advocating a polarized approach to gender: males follow an ethic of justice and women follow an ethic of care. Gilligan argues that they are not mutually exclusive.
Woman’s Speech • For Most Women Communication is: • to establish and maintain relationships • conversation is for sharing and learning about others • Talk is the essence of relationships
Characteristics of Women’s Speech • Equality • Showing Support • Relationship • Conversational Maintenance • Inclusivity • Tentativeness
General Tendencies • Goal of talk is exerting control, preserving independence and enhancing status. • Conversation is the arena for proving oneself and negotiating prestige
Characteristics of Male Speech • Show Knowledge, Skill, and Ability • Advice • Instrumentality • Conversational Dominance • Absolute, Assertive Talk • Abstract Talk • Less Responsive
Talking about Troubles • Woman disappointed in not getting job • Man says, “You shouldn’t feel bad. Lots of people don’t get jobs they want” • She thinks, he belittles her experience • He thinks, he is showing respect by bolstering her independence • Man disappointed is not getting job • Woman says, “Are you okay” What’s bothering you?” • He thinks this points out his vulnerability • She probes to show she cares
WOMEN It’s going fine if there is talk Talk is a process to sustain relationship Talk is a way to show closeness “We need to talk,” to affirm our caring MEN It’s going fine if there is no need to talk Talk is to solve problems Talk indicate a problem Duck when she says, “we need to talk” RELATIONSHIP TALK
THE END Based on Julia Wood’s book Gendered Lives