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I am asked to write on "the significance of gender differences in communication" but I...

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abdulghani | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:24 PM via web

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I am asked to write on "the significance of gender differences in communication" but I do not understand what am I supposed to write.

i have several information about how men and women differ in their communication but i don't know how to connect those informations with the question asked.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 24, 2012 at 4:37 PM (Answer #2)

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Your assignment is probably to look at how recent communication theorists have studied gender and communication. You should probably consider two different approaches to the issue, a theoretical one and an empirical one.

A purely theoretical approach to gender in communication theory often branches out of feminist theory and looks at how language shapes ideology and acts as a tool of gender oppression and discrimination.

An empirical approach studies how men and women actually communicate, often by recording communication in a laboratory setting as part of controlled experiments or by examining, for example, mass media as a data set.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 24, 2012 at 10:58 PM (Answer #3)

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I encourage you to read some of Deborah Tannen's work on this topic. She has written extensively on the differences between men and women in both personal and workplace communications.Tannen is a Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown.

At her official website, you can access many of her articles and a full list of her titles, including You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in Conversation and Talking 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work.

Here is just one example of the insight Tannen offers regarding communication between the sexes: “Many of us dismiss talk that does not convey important information as worthless - meaningless small talk if it's a social setting or "empty rhetoric" if it's public. Such admonitions as "Skip the small talk, " "Get to the point," or "Why don't you say what you mean?" may seem to be reasonable. But they are reasonable only if information is all that counts. This attitude toward talk ignores the fact that people are emotionally involved with each other and that talking is the major way be establish, maintain, monitor and adjust our relationships.”


 

 

 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM (Answer #4)

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I think that you need to talk to your instructor.  We do not know what class you are taking or what the exact wording of the question is.  We don't know what works you have read.  Therefore, we can only guess about what your instructor expects from this assignment.

I would assume that you are supposed to focus on the importance of the differences, not on the differences themselves.  How do these differences affect society?  Do they make relationships more difficult?  Do they make it so that women have a harder time getting ahead in business careers?  Do they affect the way that children are raised? (I don't know what country you live in so I can't be more specific about possible effects.)

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM (Answer #5)

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I suggest you choose a theory and explore it.  You can use examples from your real life, and your boyfriend or girlfriend, or parents.  Once you choose the theory, use real or hypothetical scenarios to show its application to the theory.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM (Answer #6)

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One general difference between the communication between men and women is women tend to hear things that they think they heard. Men, on the other hand, listen to exactly what is being asked (they do not read into things--they take them at face value). Therefore, you could examine the differences between what women hear and men hear when asked specific questions.

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litlady33 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:26 AM (Answer #7)

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It seems that you need to explore why communication differences between men and woman are important. Yes, women may communicate differently from men in certain situations, but what does it mean? You could explore what affect these differences in communication have on different levels. How do they impact romantic relationships between a man and a woman? How do they impact business relatioships? How do they impact friendships? How do they impact families or society on a larger scale? It is important to incorporate valid research as well as, possibly, personal experience or study you may do/have done of real situations.

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 25, 2012 at 2:30 AM (Answer #8)

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It seems that the question you are being asked has to do with importance of gender difference in communication.

In what ways do the male/female differences in modes and styles of communication become important? Do the ways people communicate determine job opportunities, perception of competence, etc.?

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:11 AM (Answer #9)

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To echo previous posts, it appears that the first thing you need to do is to talk with your instructor and clarify exactly what your assignment is.

Research is starting to come out showing the different ways in which men and women use social media - men are more likely to make postings on Facebook or Twitter that they later regret; women are more frequent users; and so on. If your assignment is asking you to examine some aspect of how communication styles differ between the sexes, I would think this could be a fascinating topic.

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vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 25, 2012 at 3:34 AM (Answer #10)

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Checking with your teacher is always a good thing to do before proceeding.  Nevertheless, the suggestions above are all very valuable.  It sounds to me as if your teacher is interested in having you explore the standard claim that men and women tend to communicate differently. There is a popular book on this subject (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus), but I suspect that your teacher wants more scholarly sources, such as the ones mentioned above.

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pacorz | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 25, 2012 at 9:17 PM (Answer #11)

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You say that you have examples of how men and women differ in communication style; I think that what you should do is look over your list, and ask yourself why those things matter in day to day life.

One obvious reason is that most people expect others to think and communicate the way that they themselves do. Consequently, if a man is expressing himself in a "male" way and a woman listening to him is interpreting it in a "female" way, the communication between the two is not going to be effective.

The fact that men and women do communicate differently is becoming increasingly important in the world as gender roles change. More and more women are taking on leadership roles in business and in politics, and it is very important that both genders learn to communicate clearly and accurately to one another.

Another change in gender roles is the fact that more couples are getting divorced. As divorce becomes more common and socially acceptable, will people be more apt to give up on trying to communicate to their spouse and just walk away from the relationship? If so, what impact do you think that has on their children, and on society as a whole?

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