Gender, a Speakeasy Topic

Topic: Gender and Communication

Source: Doing communication qualitative research using observational methods to determine the different reactions to common communication scripts, between genders.

Relation: Gender plays a huge role in the way we communication. Women and men are both socialized to communicate in different ways. As anthropologist we need to take gender into consideration when we evaluate communication styles.

Description: A man is talking to a confederate (a person who is trained to go ‘under cover’ and act like a participant in the research, when really they are a member of the administration doing the research) using common communication scripts about current news around the world. This consist of politics, sports, war etc.. The same confederate then issues the same communication scripts to a woman. The point of the research was to observe and note the different communication scripts utilized by different genders. The research observed hundreds of both men and women using the same, or similar communication scripts.

Commentary/Analysis: In the research we found that women responded more ambiguously then men did. Also women were more likely to respond to emotionally appealing news, were as men were more likely to respond to physically appealing news then women were.  When it comes to the ambiguity, it was founded that when asked a question, masculine communication styles answered in a direct answer such as “yes,” or “no.” Feminine communication styles answered more ambiguously with responses such as, “sure,” or “maybe.” As Robbins states, "basis ambiguity [is] found in all languages…” (100). This implies that this feministic ambiguity can be carried across all cultures; although there is little to no research to verify that claim. The same rules apply to the direct and indirect (or ambiguous) answers.

The way we socialize our genders as a culture/society determines the way communication is held. Feminine communication is when the communicator is more soft-spoken, vulnerable, dependent, ambiguous, and uses a lot of emotion. This is generally associated with women. Masculine communication is generally more direct, violent, stable, and independent. This is associated with men. This does not mean that every man uses masculine communication style, and vise versa. These are just common traits in the communication, which are generally used by each gender.  We are all socialized into gender constructs, and the ways we communicate are part of these constructs. Our gender makes up the way we communicate because we are taught to communicate in specific ways, which work with our “gender.” It makes one wonder if we naturally communicate in different ways based on gender, or if it truly is the basis of how we are socialized. I believe it has to do with socialization and research has proven that how we are socialized by gender, impacts our communication. Regardless, it is still an interesting topic to analyze. What communication style do you use? Does is coincide with your gender construct?

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