Gender and Communication

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Gender and Communication

By | July 2002
Page 1 of 6
Gender and Communications

Communication is an ongoing, transactional process in which individuals exchange messages whose meanings are influenced by the history of the relationship and the experiences of the participants. (Adler, p.384) Communication depends on relationships between the people who are communicating, and on common basics between them. Problems in communications between people may arise due to differences in cultures, perceptions, values, and expectations from life.

As in many other gender differences, miscommunications between males and females can be explained by either the biological aspect or the cultural/environmental aspect. Deborah Tannen, a University professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and an Author, suggests the biological explanation to the problem: "Sometimes when you are talking to someone from other gender, it is like you are talking to someone from another world" said Prof. Tannen when she was talking about communications between opposite genders. That is the main reason why girls and boys prefer to play with their own sex. A research, made by her, shows the differences in friendships between two best-friends girls, and two best-friends boys in ages five, ten and fifteen. The girls were facing each other while talking in the three cases; most of the talk was about friendship. However, the boys in the three cases where sitting in angle to each other or side-by-side, they were looking around, through the whole conversation, and never looked at each other. The fact that these differences are displayed in an early age, support the biological explanation.

Alternatively, others suggest that opposite genders face miscommunication problems due to cultural and environmental factors. Although our society shifts to a more egalitarian one, there are still significant stereotypes of masculine and feminine behaviors. Traditionally, attributes such as assertiveness, individualism, rationalism, technical capability, and...
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