Verbal Communication & Percieved Cultural Views of Gender

| Jan 16, 2017
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Excerpted from Julia T Woods, Gendered Lives:  Communication, Gender and Culture (Thomson/Wadsworth, 2004)

Language defines gender differences. Women are often defined by their appearance or relationships. Men are defined by their accomplishments and achievements. Language names what exists in society by giving it a meaning or value such as: chairman, mailman, etc.

Language organizes perception of gender by encouraging stereotypes and thinking such as women are the ‘weaker sex’ and men and woman are divided into two sexes and two genders rather than a fluid gender and not put into a binary classification. People who don’t conform to the binary classification of society are often judged negatively. Language evaluates gender by trivializing women with such words as: “baby doll, sugar, chick, dog, bitch,” etc.

Society views of feminine speech include: establishing and maintaining relationships by sharing themselves  and to learn about others. They communicate to establish equality between people.  

Feminine speech shows support for others by expressing feelings of sympathy and understanding. Female talk focuses on feelings and on relationships between the communicators rather than the content of their message.They encourage others to participate in the conversation by non verbally inviting them by establishing eye contact, nodding or smiling.  

Masculine speech tend to regard talk as a way to exert control and enhance their status. Communication is often seen as a way of proving oneself and negotiating prestige.

Men speak to establish control and status by giving advice and proving themselves as the problem solver and offer solutions. Men will interrupt conversation to exert control of the conversation. Men are usually more direct and assertive. The language of men is often spoken with less emotionality than female speech patterns.

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Category: Transgender Body & Soul


About the Author ()

Marc Mitnick, MS, CCC-SLP, Board certified and licensed Speech, Language and Voice Pathologist, Director, Your Speech Therapist, Inc.

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