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Communicating across genders - Essay Example

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The communicative differences between men and women is an issue which has been discussed for a long time – we can easily trace the gender disparity back to the beginning of Christianity in certain culture, if not further. That should not, however, indicate that an innate difference between genders is acceptable without analysis. …
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Download file to see previous pages However, I feel that even this is unnecessarily divisive. In my experience, Adler's findings that gender difference amounts to just 1% of the variance of speech (186) between any two people is more important. This paper will look at three conversations within and between two groups of people to show that shared experience and goals facilitate communication better than shared gender. It is necessarily difficult to give concrete examples of gender communication being more similar than different, because it is generally easier to disprove than prove something, but two personal conversations in which I took part are good examples of how shared experience facilitates communication better than shared gender – and that, equally, different experiences hinder communication. These two conversations involved separate groups of people, both composed of mixed genders but similar politics and ideology. Both conversations discussed the case of Representative Anthony Weiner, who recently resigned after revelations that he had been attempting to engage numerous female political admirers in (usually unwanted) sexual conversation. In the first conversation, both men and women condemned Weiner unanimously for the sexual harassment of sending explicit photographs of his anatomy to non-consenting women who had merely expressed their support of his policies. Men and women used the same sentence structures and argumentative styles, appealing to reason and emotion equally: most sentences used personal pronouns (I, you, he), for example. One interjection in the conversation was taken badly by the other members, as it was a joke that was highly inappropriate, which had been made by a woman – not something that Adler would expect (184). In fact, this conversation happened online with most people using gender-neutral pseudonyms, and the only way I could figure out who was of which gender was by specifically asking them. The second conversation happened after someone made the assertion that Weiner was simply guilty of sexual harassment, and his resignation neither inappropriate nor adequate punishment for his crime. The communication style was similar to the previous group's in that most people used 'I' statements and littered their messages with pronouns; however, in this group most people were more skeptical of the idea that Weiner's behaviour was criminal. In one unusual exchange, a woman made the statement that “Flashing someone virtually is the same as flashing someone in person”, and a man responded “I think you meant to say that you 'think/feel' they are the same.” In this example, a woman used concrete language (or rather, a male conversational style [185]) to express an opinion and was told by a man that she should revert to female conversational style. The same man then said “the decisions we make in our lives brand us”, arguing that when considering Weiner's sexual harassment of Ms Ginger Lee, one should bear her career choice (she is a former porn star) in mind. Clearly his usage of a male conversational style was acceptable. A different woman dismissed Lee's claims by saying “You know as well as I do that women are just as bad as men, when it comes to manipulation.” Her appeal to an emotional relationship is, Adler argues, typically feminine. It may be interesting to note that the first group do not believe that there is any material difference ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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