Category: Reading Responses


Reading Response 10

Point 1) Work Constrains and Constructs Gender

There is some obvious gender inequality that occurs within the workplace.  Economic roles between men and women have become somewhat similar over the years, however, sex differences are still prevalent and tensions still exist in the workplace.  Women face different challenges and may require different skills to be successful in the work place than their male counterparts.  These differences vary depending on the size of the organization, level of management, and the certain job duties that are entailed.  According to Powell and Graves, “The proportion of women in the work place has increased five percent since 1980 whereas the number of women in management positions has increased 19 percent in the same period” (Powell & Graves, 2003).  These numbers are improving and encouraging; however, research still shows that there is a gap between men and women regarding compensation for producing similar work.  A statistic that I found most shocking within the text regarded women at the top corporate levels.  It showed that women earn eight percent to 25 percent less than their male counterparts.  It seems that in most categories, women lag behind men in advancement and pay.  As I stated before, sex differences are most prevalent in the work force.  Which factors play a role in most men becoming firefighters, doctors and police officers and women becoming nurses and teachers?

As I was researching information on women in the work force, I came across these two graphs…

Point 2) Men and Women:  It’s Not About Sex Difference

Stereotypes of men and women are shown in the work place.  As I learned previously, women tend to be more emotional than men.  However, in the work place, it’s the men that show more emotion than the women.  I would say that these “emotions” are not like women’s; they construct more of a masculine form of emotion.  Emotions aren’t the only stereotype that’s different in the work place.  According to the text, men engage in practices that are stereotypically attributed to women more than to men, such as wasting time talking to coworkers, pretending to like people they dislike, making decisions based on affect rather than objective evidence, and ignoring rules in favor of particularistic sentiments…When women coworkers socialize, they waste time; when men coworkers socialize, they advance their careers” (Martin, 2003).  I find this to be so true because you see so many women who take breaks to mingle and gossip.  Men construct “private meetings” to see how they can impact an organization so he can advance his career, meaning getting a better job and making more money.  In regards to emotions, are women allowed to show REAL signs of emotion more than men, or are neither supposed to exploit these in the work place?

Point 3) Sexual Harassment

In and out of the work force, sexual harassment is prevalent and seen in a lot of situations.  More so than not, men are typically the ones who initiate the sexual harassment.  In a 2004 study, 85 percent of women filed a sexual harassment complaint to the EPOC (Equal Opportunity Employment Commission).  I never thought sexual harassment was this bad in the work place until I came across this stat the text employed.  “Most studies indicate that 40 percent to 70 percent of women and 10 to 20 percent of men have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace” (DeFrancisco and Palcweski 211).  As much as 70 percent of women have been harassed?!  This is appalling and disgraceful and something needs to be done.  Action must take place within the EPOC to cut down on these percentages, or else, in my opinion, we will have nationwide news regarding this dilemma for years to come.  Within these statistics however, I do not believe that the women have been actually “sexually harassed”.  What I’m saying is that there could be different interpretations of being sexually harassed.  So, what are certain situations that could be referred to as sexually harassed?

Reading Response 9

Point 1) Teacher and Administrator Interactions

After reading the section on teach and administrator interactions, I’ve concluded that boys and girls are sex segregated in multiple ways.  They are segregated when walking in the hallways, in the lunch lines, and even for fire drills.  However, my concern is the timeline in which sex segregation occurs within education.  So, I will pose my question for discussion now and offer my opinion along with key points.  The question is to what age or to what grade does sex segregation occur?  The text does not specify this.  I believe that in elementary school, sex segregation definitely occurs.  The teachers separate the girls and the boys in different occasions depending on the situation.  They’re even separated in the classroom upon where they are sitting.  At lunch tables, you see rows of boys sitting together and rows of girls sitting together.  When students go on field trips, you see a boy and a boy sitting together on the bus and a girl and a girl sitting together.  According to the text, “Earlier classroom observation studies found that the female and male teachers studied tended to call on boys more frequently, to ask boys more thought-provoking questions, and to give boys more time to answer” (Sadker and Sadker, 1994).  I can’t recall on my own experiences, but I tend to disagree with that argument.  Boys are more disruptive and inattentive than girls so I feel that teachers would get annoyed, thus call on the girls more frequently.  I believe that sex segregation stops at the middle school level.  This is when boys and girls start to realize their crushes.  They start walking to school, walking in the hallways, sitting on the bus, sitting at lunch, etc.  The statement by Sadker & Sadker is not true after the elementary level.  I believe deeply that teachers are more biased and attentive toward girls.

Point 2) Sports

They are many gender differences regarding sports.  At an early age, boys use sports to be competitive and masculine, and girls use sports to have fun and be socially accepted.  Before the middle school level, playing activities during recess is used to interact with one another.  Many times boys and girls together can be playing a certain activity even though they might be sex segregated in other occurrences.  An example of gender difference is within the establishment of picking teams.  Usually boys are called upon as the “captains” for choosing teams for a certain activity.  You rarely find a boy who will call on a girl for his team in the first few picks.  This leaves girls feeling upset, not wanted, and not good enough to play and enjoy the activity.  This is why teachers and administrators incorporate the alternate picking style.  This means that when you are choosing players for your team, you must alternate between a boy and a girl so the girls don’t feel left out.  The boys sometimes get angry at this because they don’t think the girls are good enough to play sports and be on their teams.  When boys and girls get to the high school level, girls become very active in sports.  The boys remain the same as they tend to be perceived as masculine, strong, fit and powerful.  The girls who are great athletes tend to be the ones who want to look good while being active.  The better athletes are not “tomboys”; they still wear makeup and do their hair.  Girls still want to look feminine while doing an activity that is perceived as masculine.  Do sports define the conjunction of boys and girls relations as they get older?

Point 3) Educational Materials and Curricula

Teachers must be aware of the gender bias imbedded in many educational materials and texts and must fix this bias.  A gender-equitable must be made throughout all classrooms.  Gender-fair materials need to contain multiple amounts of variation.  “They need to be inclusive, accurate, affirmative, representative, and integrated, weaving together the experiences, needs, and interests of both males and females” (Bailey, 1992).  There are far more exceeding examples in which men are shown as bright, brave, inventive and powerful.  Additionally, women are only seen through texts as silent and passive.  These silent and passive behaviors make women become unwilling to stand up and call attention to this unfair treatment they are receiving.  In history and science classes, granted there probably have been more theories and research by men, but why do men own the majority share of great things that have happened in history?  Why don’t women have a larger role books for children?

I found this chart while researching gender educational materials and curricula.  It is shown that in school texts, women are seen as supportive and men are seen as confident.  On the negative side, women are seen as bitchy.

Reading Response 8

Point 1) Religion Constructs (and Constrains Gender)

Every religion constructs gender in their unique way.  According to the text, “Religions speak to the relationships between men and women, and to how to be a good man and a good woman, and rarely are the ways to goodness the same, even though most major religions speak to spiritual equality” (DeFrancisco and Palczewski 224).  I really enjoyed the example of the letter written by Joseph Ratzinger.  The letter defined how religion constructs and constrains gender.  It offered the specific roles of men and women in religion.  Yet, it placed a woman in a category of a mother and a virgin.  This read was not as exciting as other section examples were so I decided to do a little research on my own that I’ve doing throughout the semester.  The example I am using involves individuals in Protestant and Roman Catholic.  Protestants argued that their religion was superior to Roman Catholics because it treated women with much more class and respect.  The Protestant’s reasoning was the Catholics exaltation of virginity contained a simultaneous denigration of the woman as mother and wife.  Additionally, Protestants criticized Catholics because the Catholic faith celebrated the idea of celibacy.  Protestants believed that celibacy was an unnatural act which lead to greater sins.  Does communication and religion benefit or not benefit women in different societies?

Point 2) Rereading the History of Women Religious

In most religions, one would think that the men have the overbearing power amongst the women.  Women can be seen in a lower stature in some ways, but they have a key, central role they play in religion.  Most males who are dominant, ruthless, and overpowering referred to women as having limited roles such as wives, slaves, or mothers taking care of important men and their children.  If you can believe it, this point was brought out in The Bible!  The men are wrong because women do have a more central role in the establishment of religion.  The text offers that, “The Bible is not sexist but that society’s sexism has led to interpretations of the Bible that are sexist insofar as they ignore women’s presence” (DeFrancisco and Palczewski 226).  The Bible might lay at points that undermine women and strengthen men, but society is to blame for this.  Society in the past and today has endured many types and examples of sexism and inequality towards women.  Women are ingored not only in religion, but in many other institutions as well.  Will society be able to reverse this trend and be able to see women for who they are?

Point 3) Religion Constructs Masculinity

Men can be referred to as strength and dominance in many institutions, but they are straight up defined that way in the institution of religion.  Men have introduced themselves as a muscular force of religion because they feared of their instabilities.  A masculine form of religion took its toll because someone needed to step up and take control.  This control started in the mid 1800’s as various women were working and the United States was industrializing.  In the post Civil War era, a change was needed in religion.  Many people can remember in their history class about the Reconstruction Movement that took place.  I wonder if religion played any role during Reconstruction?  Because it took many years to fix what we had in the United States after the Civil War.

But enough of history already!  I want to discuss examples of masculinity and an example that differ from it.  I am a well-rounded, however, not so religious man from New York, and New York is the home for many Jewish people.  Even though I am not very religious, I still attend service for Jewish traditions and holidays.  As far as traditions, everyone must know about bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs.  If there was such a masculinity in religion, then wouldn’t there only be bar mitzvahs for the boys to become men?  This example might not be in the correct realm of what we are discussing, but it was just something I had thought about.  However, I do have two examples that display masculinity.  First, on the concept of bar and bat mitzvahs again, I do not see many women who step up to the podium and speak the religion as they would need to for their son or daughter.  It is mainly men who speak to emphasize the celebration and the religion.  Second, there are not many women that use religion in their line of work.  Predominantly men control religion as apart of their line of work.  A title that could be recognized is a priest.  Around the world, less than ten percent of women serve the churches’ clergy.  But again listen to this role women are taking, not only in religion but in all institutions.  In the year 2025, it is estimated that there will be as many women priests as men priests!

Reading Response 7

Point 1) Social Learning and Modeling

When a couple agrees to have children at the right moment, they need to provide a model for children’s gendered identities because children look up to their parents and observe their styles of behavior.  A girl would model their favorite singer’s attire because she looks up to her, admires her, and most importantly observing her.  The same concept applies in family.  Children are known to model their parents behaviors because they admire them, they are “family”, and there is a big spot in their hearts for them.  The social learning aspect of the text refers to the sexual division of household labor inside a marriage, couple, or relationship.  What type of duties do the men perform and what type of duties do the women perform?  It differs in my opinion depending upon the relationship.  I believe within a good healthy family, the men “bring home the bacon”, and the women CAN BRING HOME THE BACON ALSO.  I will get to this point shortly but yes, studies may show that in some or maybe even most families that the men typically to do the paid labor and work long hours while the women stay at home and care for the children and do housework.  In this type of marital situation, women are not seen as doing work, even though they’re the ones who do the communicating within family members and provide support for their children.  “Therefore, some of the possible inequality is not even counted” (Shelton and John 1996).  Children observe this within the family.  Now, back to my point that women can bring home the bacon just as much as men.  I researched statistics, and it shows that a recent survey in 2008 displayed that 42 percent of men (down from 74 percent in 1977) said that it’s better for everyone if the man earns the money and the woman takes care of the home and children.  This shows that men are starting to realize that women can provide just as much as men can for their families.  How do children model the behavior of a single parent if one has died or if they’re divorced?

Point 2) Gender/Sex Interaction:  Parents’ Influence

A parental influence on children is very critical.  Most parents want the children to be brought up in a way to display their appropriate gender style.  “Mothers and fathers alike have been found to habitually reward daughters for demonstrating interpersonal skills and politeness, and to reward sons for demonstrating physical or verbal aggression” (Leaper, Anderson and Sanders, 1998).  This excerpt from the text is an unconscious belief.  Other studies, ones in which I agree with, tends to reveal that gender teaching can actually be quite conscious.  A study in Maine claimed that young girls were encouraged by their parents boys’ interests.  Their parents wanted them to be very active in athletics.  The father was the parent that was more proactive for his daughter to be active in athletics.  I can relate well to this because my sister is very athletic, and she was pushed just as hard as I was in the sports she played as a young girl.  Now at the age of 20, she is one of the most fittest girls I know.  For boys, parents want their sons to be dominant and masculine so they consciously selected activities that would provide them with these qualities.  For example, painting a boy’s room blue instead of pink or yellow is a direct sign of masculinity.  Parents, particularly mothers, are sometimes worried about their son playing with dolls because they could possibly be afraid of them becoming homosexual.  In some instances, being homosexual can lead to cruel events such as teasing and bullying.  If a child is not willing to comply with the gendered and sexually oriented ways the parents prefer, what must a mother or a father in that situation do and which one should take the initiative?

Point 3) Gender/Sex Interaction:  Children’s Influence

In this section, children can also play a role in developing their gender.  The text provides an example of gendered interaction on sons’ and mothers’ communication.  I enormously agree with the claim made in the text by Morman and Floyd.  To restate, “Sons studies were more likely to be withdrawn in conversations with their mothers than were daughters, were more likely to interrupt their mothers, and accepted fewer directives from their mothers (Morman and Floyd, 2006).  Out of my teenage years, I still do the same thing.  I will still interrupt my mom whether she’d be on the phone or have a friend over at the house.  I respected my father a great deal because, in my early teen years, he was a very successful businessman.

When children become accustomed to what they like and what they like to have as items, they choose gender-specific items once they have been socialized to desire them.  The trend will be on going until they start a family of their own.  However, the trend was started by the parents.  For example, I was given a basketball hoop in my bedroom for my 5th birthday.  After that, I was given a hockey net, tennis racket, baseball glove and the list goes on.  When I was old enough, I knew what I wanted to have as items for my own, and subsequently, I was able to purchase those items for myself.  What type of behavior will occur if a child grows up playing with the wrong gender type items?  Will their gender automatically be in question?

Reading Response 6

IT’S NOT ABOUT SEX DIFFERENCE

Point 1) Differences Among Women

The ways in which women are portrayed are due to their race, nationality and sexual orientation.  In this section of the text, the author relates differences among women to their body images.  Women might think that they all need to have the same attributes in order to be that perfect model (hence the body images).  However, that standard they think they need to be held to is not  all the same.  Magazine articles in different cultures have shown how beauty is represented differently throughout.  In the United States, people find in the media (through television ads, computer ads, etc) that women use their body image to promote a certain clothing line.  Most women used to represent the company for promos are the same structurally.  In the United States, women use their body image for items from companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Forever 21, Charlotte Rousse, etc.  Women in our country have the opportunity to flaunt their body image for the company they’re “repping”.  However, in other cultures like in Asia, there is a difference because women are not seen like that in their culture.  It has been researched that women in Asian cultures use only their face as their “body image.”  They use advertisements for promos for facial products.  They do not flaunt their body because in their culture, they are not viewed as a “sex object”.  The disparity is shown here.  In the United States, to get the most out of a clothing product, it needs to be put on by an attractive woman, who men and women can see in the spotlight.  Does this difference relate in any way to intersectionality, and also, how do differences among women affect femininism?

Point 2) Similarities Between Women and Men

Men and women both contain certain similarities when it comes to overdoing their body image through the use of the media.  In media forms such as magazine ads and television commercials, women make themselves less appealing to men because of extreme thinness.  The body image women portray when they exploit their thinness is more prominent in women’s magazines, rather than men’s magazines.  For example, in Sports Illustrated, men don’t find many women who are too thin.  The models that are in the swimsuit edition are well put together, the perfect body a man could imagine having.

Men do the same thing women do in regards to body image.  They overestimate the degree of muscularity that women find attractive.  In the text Frederick, Fessler and Haselton claim, “The ideal male body marketed to men is more muscular than the ideal male body marketed to women” (DeFrancisco and Palczewski 243).  I agree with this claim because men typically read body building magazines.  They don’t read them necessarily to become a body builder; however, they read them to know of what exercises to do in order to gain muscle mass.  The pictures identified in the magazine are of big, bulky, body-building men (something most women wouldn’t be attracted to).  The body that women pursue of men is one you would find in a Hollister or Abercrombie and Fitch poster.  Women love abs and a defined body.  A big, bulky body builder is too much for them, and some even find them gross.

How would the similarities among men and women differ if a more obese individual used their body image as a means of advertising?

MEDIA CONSTRUCT (AND CONSTRAIN) GENDER

Point 3) Women, Men and Violence in Media

Violence is everywhere in the media.  Women are usually in the defensive position of violence because it’s generally men who are the culprit.  After reading through this section, I reflected upon when I was a child and young teen and the amount of violence I had witnessed at that time.  Violence is drawn through many items such as reality shows, video games, movies, etc.  The one fact that I found interesting in the text was that violence in children’s programming has become a major concern.  I found it shocking that, in children’s programming, there is an estimated 7.86 violent acts per hour.  If children are viewing this kind of content, it is more likely they will perform acts like this of their own in the future.

I want to provide an example to what I stated earlier about how violence is drawn through reality shows.  An event, which will always be vivid in my mind and was nationally broadcasted, was from the first season of the Jersey Shore.  In one of the episodes, the Jersey Shore Crew was out for a night of drinking.  Things got a little out of hand and one man was saying hurtful things, maybe trying to show off his masculinity to reality stars.  One of the members of the show, Snooki, steps up and defends for the group.  Everyone was most likely of the drinking limit at this point.  Things got a little tense, and it ended with the man punching Snooki in the face, and she dropped to the ground.  This is a serious act of violence, and I was very surprised that MTV allowed this to air.

I want to know what men think of this act?  Does this act influence men to do the same?  I would hope not; however, there is so much violence in our world today.

Reading Response 5

Point 1) Gender is a Social Institution

In the text, Patricia Martin gives the readers a thorough definition of social institution and constructs her twelve characteristics of social institutions.  I won’t repeat the characteristics because it is somewhat redundant.  As I expand my knowledge and think deeper into what FIRSTLY constitutes as a social institution, I think of endurance, or persistence over time.  Now, as it regards to gender, treating gender as a social institution will improve gender scholarship, increase awareness of gender’s sociality, and make gender’s complex intersections with other institutions more apparent.  Gender institution practices need to be examined in both their reflexive and unreflexive forms.  I researched Anthony Giddens and his view on reflexivity and gender.  According to Giddens, “People act with a purpose, but the effects of their actions are often unintended” (Giddens 1984).  This occurrence can happen at random events and also in the workplace.   Men can sometimes unreflexively behave in ways that women experience and have to put up with their masculinity.  For example, in a business room filled with employers, you have the head of the business which consists of managers, presidents, etc and then you have their employers, which most of the time are women.  Men have an overbearing upperhand on the women in this case because they are of a higher stature.  If some women do not argue with a decision being made, then if they decide to step and speak their peace, they’re taking the risk of maybe getting fired.  It seems as though whatever men say, goes!

Framing gender as an institution will make for positive changes within gender’s social character and dynamics.  In the text, there was no enough information, in my opinion, regarding gender as a social institution.  As I liked through online documents, I’ve came across a question that appealed to me.  How is it possible to both endure and change within a social institution?

Point 2) Institutionalized Gendered/Sexed Violence

Around the world some men exhibit femininity and some women exhibit masculinity.  That is just how diverse our society is.  But is violence necessary for these people who choose to be who they are?  Absolutely not.  This section of the text discussed ways in which violent things can happen to people who don’t exert the gender norms.  Men and women are vulnerable in this situation.  If a man has never raped or say he would never rape, because of a man’s masculinity, there is always the possibility of that man raping a woman.  It is a pattern of practices because in more cases, a man will rape a woman rather than the other way around.  If a woman has never been raped, there is always the possibility that she could be raped at some point.  Every woman thinks about the terror of that happening because, unless with a weapon, there would be no way of protecting themselves.

While reading this section of the text, I thought about the video we watched one of the last two days of last week.  I cannot recall the title of the video, but it was the video, where at the start of the movie, a man portrayed himself as a woman.  That woman had slept with a few boys from her high school.  When the news got around that that woman was in fact a man, violence broke out.  The boys that the woman had slept with got a bat and pummeled her to death and then buried her.  It was very hard to watch at times.  I believe there was another occurrence in the video in which a woman who changed herself into a man, committed suicide.  I want to pose a question about women and rape.  Could all women be at risk of sexual violence regardless if they have already encountered it or have never encountered it?

Point 3) Article:  The Picture for Men:  Superhero or Slacker

I enjoyed reading this article, but I disagree with most of the details embedded in the article.  I do not believe that men are a “hit or miss.”  Yes, some men can go down the wrong path and get involved in violent acts, more so than women do.  I don’t believe that men in today’s era exploit the type of behavior that superheroes do.  What I have seen in my experiences, middle school boys are mostly athletic which means they would look up to an athlete.

Most athletes usually do not perform violent acts.  I think more of the violence comes from video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty rather than superheroes.  I did not like the analogy that the author used in this article.  In my middle school days, hardly any of my friends looked up to superheroes…it just wasn’t the “cool thing” to do.

I also disagree with Carlos Santos’s claim.  In my opinion, he creates a difference between mothers and fathers.  Some boys are closer to their mothers, and some boys are closer to their fathers.  Whoever a boy chooses to be close to does not result in what kind of person he is going to be.  I look up to, respect and am closer with my father more so than my mother.  Does this mean if my father has done some violent acts in his past that I’m going to follow?  Absolutely not.  We have all made mistakes in our lives and if for some reason he has caused a violent act, he sure did amend it for who he is now.

Let’s say some boy did cause a violent act, but was not caught for it.  His friends and family knew about what he did though.  Can friends and family help a person stop committing violent acts or will he be prone to cause more?  What runs through his mind?  Does he care more about greed or about life?

Reading Response 4

Point 1) Linguistic Relativity

The linguistic theory in a nutshell states that the structure of a language shapes or limits the ways in which a speaker forms conceptions of the world.  A recurring theme in life today is when people speak the language they want, it controls how they think.  The theory of linguistic relativity was a theory that I had already studied in COMM 250, known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, so I wanted to dig deeper through this theory.  I came across an article by Lera Boroditsky, and she pointed out that languages are human creations, tools we invent and hone in on to suit our needs and desires.  She implied that to demonstrate the casual role of language, what’s needed are studies that directly manipulate language and look for effects in cognition.  I found that very interesting because that has been one of our societies key advances in recent years.  I believe that language facilitates how certain people comprehend the world today.  Language is so essential in many things; it would too hard to make a list of all the things language influences.  I don’t use many similes in my writing or language style, but I’ll throw one out there for the heck of it…language is like a compass, pointing an individual into the direction they want to go.  After reading through the text, I have a much higher standard for language than I ever did.  One question has risen into my mind:  If all people can use this language that help them perceive the world, then how much tension do people put on their gut feelings and emotions to make decisions in their daily lives?

Point 2) Framing

The framing theory suggests how something is presented, which influences the choices people make in their everyday lives.  In this chapter, we are seeing the effect of the power of language.  In regards to the framing theory, language is essential because language evokes frames.  After reading the text and researching the theory, it seems that framing is inescapable in communication.  Additionally, framing is encountered in many popular topics.  Framing is encountered in the media as events are presented in certain ways.  Framing is also found in a political sense, as politicians either in office or running for office, try to characterize events as one thing or another.  The situation that I can really relate to is framing within negotiations in businesses.  In this example, framing occurs when one side tries to move the other toward a desired outcome.  What I found most interesting regarding the framing theory was George Latkoff’s four morals to understand how to cope with framing.

Moral 1:  Every word evokes a frame

Moral 2:  Words defined within a frame evoke the frame.

Moral 3:  Negating a frame evokes the frame.

Moral 4:  Evoking a frame reinforces the frame.

This could possibly be a dumb question because it was highlighted in the text so much.  It might not make sense, but metaphorically speaking, could dependency be framing’s brother?  Meaning, can framing possibly die without dependency?

A cartoon image description of framing….

Point 3) Muted Group Theory

The muted group theory describes why certain societal groups are not heard.  The way females are constructed differently makes them act in a different way than males do.  This difference portrays women as the “muted groups” because they are thought of as lower in status than the male dominant groups.  If a woman feels muted, then they will change the way they act and talk in order to be heard.  In our society today, there are many groups that feel muted because of their gender, race, ethnicity, and culture.  Those people should not change who they are in order to be heard.  They all should stand up for themselves and protest and be heard as a unit.  The first aspects of the muted group theory were constructed by Edwin Ardener, but the theory was adapted later by Cheris Kramarae.  I researched Kramarae’s work and found a quote that I would like to expand upon.  She stated, “Men and women speak a different language.  According to popular belief, at least, the speech of women is weaker and less effective than the speech of men.  Our culture has many jokes about the quality of women’s speech…Compared to male speech, the female form is supposed to be emotional, vague, euphemistic, sweetly proper, mindless, endless, high-pitches, and silly” (Kramarae).  Women don’t speak the same language as men?  I disagree.  Women have the capability to prove anyone wrong and to prove anything to be correct.  My girlfriend is a prime example.  She might be a feminine gender style in a way that she’s not confident about what she’s about to do, whether it be work or school.  However, she always seems to come through, and seems to come through against the male species.  She realizes but doesn’t accept that our world is mostly male dominant, but through her toughness, she’s able to pull through in her business.  Would men ever want to share their dominance and bring women into their position in the workplace?  A betting person would say no because men are so comfortable in this society today.

Reading Response 3

In this reading response I will be discussing and analyzing components of nonverbal communication…

Point 1) Eye Contact

One of the components of nonverbal communication is eye contact.  The text discusses the ways in which eye contact is essential in superior/subordinate interaction.  Let’s use a business example.  If a subordinate displays a presentation to their superior, then that individual will be tuned into what their superior is saying about their presentation.  They will be displaying important eye contact to show interest and attentiveness.  In regards to gender differences, women in distant cultures tend to not look higher-status persons in the eye.  The reasoning behind could be because men might be extremely superior in other nations, more so than in the United States.  Women might feel a little threatened by people of higher status, who are usually men in other cultures.  This reasoning can be related to Jackson Katz’s clip, “Tough Guise.”  Katz claims that traditionally in many cultures men are the ones who are abusive to the women.  I believe the statistic was 95%.  What I’m trying to state is that women might have that “non-eye contact” appearance because they feel so threatened by their significant other or another man in general.  Men and women have different reasonings behind their eye contact.  Women rarely stare.  They engage in more eye contact while conversing.  Women have a high level of interest in their conversations, which explains the sustainment of eye contact.  They do however break eye contact more often.  On the other hand, men stare, perhaps to challenger power or status.  Their interest in conversations is due to staring.  Generally, men don’t make as much eye contact as women do.  That observation is key because women feel as though men aren’t paying attention, aren’t interested, or are distracted by something else.

When men stare to gain a sense of power, do they go too far?  Meaning, does a woman become uncomfortable, freaked out or scared because of this?  Men seem so overpowering at times that it can be detrimental to women.

Point 2) Body Adornment

The decisions individuals make about their dress, appearance, cosmetics, fashion, etc is body adornment.  Actually, I shouldn’t quite say “decisions”.  It’s more of that individuals norms and trends that lead to what appearance is made.  The way a person dresses tells a lot about themselves.  I will get to those examples shortly, but I would first like to say that I believe that judgment can rise from the way someone presents themselves, especially in the eras of middle school and high school.  I don’t appreciate individuals who criticize people on the way they dress.  It is an individual’s own choice how they present themselves, and you never know, you could be insulting their culture and values.  In high school, you might find girls who wear sporty t-shirts all the time along with long shorts and tennis shoes.  They carry the reputation of being very into sports and sport related activities.  They even may carry the term “tomboy”.  Also, you might find the “preppy” boys who wear collard shirts all the time along with jeans or some type of nice shorts:  the typical “Hampden Sydney” boy.  These are people’s choices, and they are totally comfortable with the way they dress, as should others who see them for who they are.

Other people dress to impress.  To impress a man, a woman’s adornment could consist of hair products, tight clothing, jewelry, high heels, and many types of facial makeup.  To impress a woman, a man’s adornment could consist of shaving materials, hair products, steroids, etc.  In most cultures, women dress feminine and men dress masculine.  However, don’t some appearances clash?  Piercings, tattoos and hair products can be shared by both genders.  This doesn’t make an individual the opposite gender.  It is just a compatible appearance trait.  Then, you have the group of people who are cross-gendered.  They like to display themselves in an appearance of the opposite sex.  That is what they are most comfortable with and that is what they truly believe they are.  Do certain people have insecurities about their masculinity or femininity that they have a problem with people who are more comfortable in the appearance of the opposite sex?  I find it appalling that certain individuals criticize these people.  They’re human beings just like everyone else, and they should not be ridiculed for being WHO THEY ARE.  They get criticized so much that there is a website for how to cope with cross-dressing.  People have their own interpretation of their self-image.

Point 3) Body Movements

Bodily movements represent a person’s gestures and demeanor.  These representations are important parts of successful communication.  It reinforces, emphasizes and clarifies verbally expressed ideas.  Body movements create messages for others because they can tell how you are reacting to a certain situation.  I believe that body movements are shared between men and women.  Sure, men do more body gestures than women and vice versa, but some are in fact shared.  Both genders can put their hand on their chin to represent thoughtfulness.  Both genders can scratch their head and cringe (under the category of facial expressions) to represent confusion.  In relation to businesses, I believe that men and women differ in body movements.  High status men such as CEO’s and head managers can be lackadaisical with their body movements because they represent a sense of power.  They have the higher authority to be able to prop their feet up on their desk, put their hands behind their head to use as a pillow and lean back to make life at the office more comfortable.

Women do not use this type of behavior in the office.  More women than women have a sense of respect and attentiveness to their subordinates.  That is why typically men exert and contain more power than women.  I was thinking through entertainment and seeing if I could think of an example of a woman who exerted this form of bodily comfort that men impose in the office, and I thought of a great one.  How would a woman like Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal“, be portrayed and how would you classify her?  She might be considered the exception, but even though the movie was fiction, I believe there are some women out there who are similar to the body style she imposed in that movie.

Reading Response 2

For my second reading response, these points regard different gendered conversational styles….

Point 1) Children’s Play and Gendered Styles

At a young age, boys and girls are somewhat separated into their own groups or categories demonstrating their own conversational styles.  Typically, young girls’ communication tend to be characterized as a small group and where talking and negotiating is a central role.  Young boys’ communication tend to be characterized as a much larger group, competitive, and asserting one’s independence.  I understood much more about children’s play after Julia Wood’s interpretation of boys and girls “play rules”.  In summary, boys’ play rules used communication to get individuals’ attention, to create and maintain an audience, and to compete with other boys for leader supremacy.  Girls’ play rules used communication to create and maintain their MANY relationships and to avoid criticizing and putting others down.  After reading these rules I thought to myself, “Well, what if there was a cross gender activity; would the gender rules occur there too?”

In an African American study, girls attitudes can change when they are engaged with boys during a sport or another activity.  This study is somewhat like MTV’s “Yo Momma“, but it includes young boys and girls rather than young adults.  This study concludes that girls’ play can lead argument and talking behind one another’s back.  This is common with girls because they love to gossip, as in a negative way.  This might occur in many cases, however, I don’t find this type of behavior as more hurtful or confrontation than what boys’ negative attitudes can lead to.  At a young age, arguments and disagreements within the male gender can lead to in-school fights on the playground, which then can lead to suspension, which can lead to parental punishment.  In my research, it seems all cultures are different when it comes to children’s play.  For example, between US and Chinese boys, the US boys were found to be more assertive than the girls in same-sex play; however, the opposite was true of Chinese children.  In cross-sex conflict, both US boys and Chinese girls used more direct responses, such as pushing or name calling.  From childhood to adolescence, attitudes and behaviors extremely differ.  Can there be any exceptions to the boys’ and girls’ rules if an example of a “tomboy” occurred?

Point 2) Feminine Style

People socialized in feminine speech communities tend to view communication as a principle way of creating and maintaining relationships with others.  In other words, talk is the center and essential part of relationships.  In a feminine style of communication, people equalize status through matching of experiences.  Feminine speech is often used to support others and focuses on the relationship level of communication.  In this case, one’s who are feminine don’t want to see others hurt or down.  Additionally, feminine speech can is often used to invite others in the conversation.  I feel like women, more than men, feel bad if people are left out of certain conversations.  However, it is not only women who are involved in a feminine style of communication.  A few men can also fit this category.  How can men be put into this feminine style?

Well, in my household, my Dad seems to have the feminine role, meaning my Mom has the masculine role which I will get to later when I discuss the masculine style.  My Dad plays the role of Mr. Nicey Nice as he nutures, helps others and displays his emotional appeal.  My Dad contains an indirect style of communication, rather than a direct style which most men possess.  For example, my Dad will say, “The milk has gone bad.”  The direct form of this would be, “Throw away the bad milk.”  I would not call my Dad “feminine”, but he does have a feminine COMMUNICATION STYLE that is seen as polite because of the respect for another’s self image, feelings and needs.

Point 3) Masculine Style

A masculine style of communication can commonly be seen inside the workforce.  Many companies require presentations and problem solving where employees must use their communication as a tool for completing a task, taking control and to gain independence and status.  This is what the masculine style is asking for.  In comparison to the feminine style of communication, it seems as though an individual who exerts a masculine form of communication would be more successful in what they do, whether that be athletics, school, work, etc.  Masculine communicators seem to want everything in the right place.  They’ll interrupt if things are not in order or the way they want.  Masculine speakers seem to communicate in more abstract, less concrete ways.  In general, masculine speech patterns tend to be less demonstratively responsive to others.  As I stated above, my Dad has more of a feminine style of communication.  My mom definitely contains a masculine approach.  She will not rest until she achieves what she wants.  She doesn’t work anymore, but she still exploits her masculine style to telemarketers and companies who she has bought things from.  Well-constructed negotiation could be another characteristic of a masculine style.  What makes some women possess a masculine style of communication?  Is it their background, the way they were brought up?

Point 1) Two-Culture Theory

Also known as the cross-cultural theory of gender communication, Daniel Maltz and Ruth Borker created the two-culture theory (under the descriptive cultural approach) after observing communication problems between men and women from different ethnic groups.  Maltz and Borker conducted an experiment where they would observe the “play” of US boys and girls.  A conclusion was risen that “girls and boys are socialized in different language groups” (DeFrancisco 47).  Maltz and Borker described these views, and once I read it, I could really relate to that as a young kid.  I remember when I was at recess, and I would gather with my group of friends and play a game of football or kickball.  We were all very competitive and wanted to play as long as possible.  On the other hand, the girls were concerned with chattering amongst their friends and keeping a thousand best friends.

Along with chattering, they would sit or walk and watch us play our game…most likely dissing the boy the REALLY liked.  Men’s style of communication is very different from women.  One of my best qualities is being very competitive at whatever I do, and that is typically the characterization of a man’s communication style.  Women tend to show empathy and be supportive to whomever they encounter.  What happens to this theory if a man or woman possess a style/behavior that steers away from the general characteristics?

Point 2) Standpoint Theory

The Standpoint Theory is generated from the critical cultural approach was developed by George Friedrich, then was adapted by many feminist scholars.  A standpoint is a place from which to view the world that determines what we focus on as well as what is obscured from us.  The scholars from the text claim that the social groups to which we belong shape what we know and how we communicate.  This theory can serve as a way in which humans socially construct the world by creating inferior and superior social groups.  I’ve researched this theory in detail and in most cases it relates to feminism (probably because it was adapted by feminist scholars).  However, coming across another blog, someone described a movie in which Whites and African Americans have reversed cultural roles.  The film portrayed blacks as wealthy businessmen with a large sense of power.  Whites were portrayed as the lower class.  It seems as though this film would contain a strong message to not only American viewers, but world viewers.  A question risen from this theory is one in which I received from the text.  The very last sentence regarding the Standpoint Theory states, “The theory also does not question the concept of identity” (DeFrancisco 51).  How does this theory differ if one’s identity is thrown in?

Point 3) Queer Theory

Before I even began reading this main point, I thought to myself that this is a weird name for a communication theory.  This theory puts into question ALL different kinds of sexuality and addresses all categories of sexuality.  An example of the queer theory that the textbook referenced that I found to be interesting was Judith Halberstam’s reference to Mike Myers in Austin Powers.  To put this theory together, it builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies’ close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities.  Does gender aim to normalize people by trying to categorize them?