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COM 225 (34)

Gender & Culture

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COM 225
Bonnie Mc Cracken

Gender & Culture Monday, February 24, 2014 3:33 PM Sex, Gender, and Communication • What is the difference between sex and gender? o Sex- a person's biology. Your physiological and genotypic characteristics o Gender- how a person learns to perform based on their sex • We are socialized to believe that men and women communicate differently o Research has reported conflicting findings o 6 main theories… 1. Male Dominance: • Men have historically held more social power than women • As a result, men may (either consciously or subconsciously) dominate women in conversation • Ex. Men may interrupt women more than the reverse, control conversational topics, etc. • Women as a result, adapt coping strategies to avoid punishment • Women may allow men to interrupt them, offer topics for conversation, or follow men's choice, etc. • "Men need to be more aware of their domineering positions toward women" • Study flawed: research in a café, male student and female TA where the male kept interrupting to learn and ask questions 2. Difference Cultures: • Builds off the tendencies of little boys and girls to play in sex- segregated groups • Argues that within these groups, boys and girls develop different communication rules and norms • Little boys learn to value hierarchy, power, and competitiveness • Little girls learn to value sharing, cooperation, and relational harmony • "Women and men need to understand and appreciate each other's communication styles" 3. Difference Skills: • Men and women do not differ in values, as suggested by difference culture theory • Instead, men and women place equal amounts of value on a variety of communicative norms/abilities • (e.g. being emotionally supportive, being a good listener, effective management of conflict, etc.) • However, when measured on these variables some research suggests that men are not as good as women at many of these skills • "Men need to better develop their skills (and may need assistance in doing so)" • Some people are better than others (Ex. Females listening and caring, Males wanting to fix things, give advice) 4. Social Roles Theory: • Men and women inhabit different social roles and division of labor, as a result gender roles developed concerning expectations about the characteristics and behaviors of women and men • Thus, men are expected to fulfill the masculine gender role and women are expected to fulfill the feminine gender role • In general, both sexes know the rules and how they apply differently depending on your sex • Social roles • Shrinking/expanding roles and norms • Fatherhood • Working mother vs. working father 5. Biological Factors • Considers how neuro-cognitive differences in brain structure or function may translate into behavioral differences between the sexes • Testosterone and estrogen shown to correlate differently with specific expressions of mood, aggression, sensation seeking, etc. • Different levels of these hormones in a person may exert effec
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