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How Gender Roles Affect Communication Essay Sample

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How Gender Roles Affect Communication Essay Sample

Men and women communicate differently in almost every situation. These differences may be as simple as facial expressions, or as complex as the true emotions hiding behind them. Men and women communicate through opposite, but equally effective techniques that demonstrate the distinctive cultural values of the society they were raised in.

An easily observable difference at the dinner table occurs when constrasting the behavior of a boy with that of a girl. It would not be considered acceptable for the boy to burp, but if done, a few giggles would erupt from the others and a sharp reprimand would likely be given from a person of authority. This, of course, is a classic scenario and one that many have experienced in first person. It is a fine example of the bluntness and boldness of the modern American male. But, assume for an instant that it wasn’t the boy that rudely, but comically, disturbed the formality of this setting, it was the girl! I imagine there would be a few open mouths and suprised stares. I doubt many would be laughing out loud except of course, for the boys. “Girls don’t do that!” The reaction to the girl burping would be recieved in a different light and cultural values will quietly lead the parents to deliver a sharper reprimand to the girl. Gender roles play a silent but strong part in setting separate standards for girls and boys. A girl isn’t supposed to burp at the table. She is supposed to be quiet, pleasant, happy, inviting, and pleasing to be with.

The rules that are adhered to do not occur naturally, but many come to be easily integrated into the roles of men and women. A woman should be inviting because a higher pitched voice is naturally a more aestheticelly pleasing tone than of the deeper voice of a male. Many women also tend to be more emotionally sensitive than their male counterparts, which may lead them to be a more humble, pleasing person. A secretary picks up the phone and greets the caller cheerfully, with a sense of unbounded welcomness. She smiles and speaks to the caller in a joyful, inviting tone, leaving every word at a high note. Seconds later, the call is routed to the adjoining office and a man answers with a deep, resounding “Simpson here.” An initial assumption is there is nothing unusual about this situation, yet these greetings are remarkably different. While a sense of pleasantness and the quality of being approachable is definately refined in the secretary’s character, the executive wants to come across as bold, intimidating person, who’s deep, confronting tone gives the impression that he is a “big man.”

Men and women tend to be less truthful about the way they present theirselves, rather than showing their feelings openly in public. The tone of voice, the directness in which one speaks, and the body language given, all contribute to the expression of feelings and to the masculinity or feminine qualities of a person. If a woman does not smile when spoken to, most people would think there was something dreadfully wrong. “Women are expected to smile no matter where they line up on the social, cultural, or economic ladder”. (Amy Cunningham “Why Women Smile”) A man’s face without a smile most likely compliments the seriousness and boldness of his character. It is even encouraged for a young man to develop like a robot, with a sense of his inner feelings rarely shown. A prominent man should be intimidating. It is widely accepted as normal if a man shows no feelings of happiness or joy in public, yet it is encouraged that women cannot look anything but happy. However, it is accepted that a woman shows no feelings of sadness in public, though it is alright if a man appears somber and serious daily.

In our culture, men and women are expected to express their feelings differently, and conceal them differently as well. While gender rules regarding communication aren’t always strictly adhered to, they are quietly and unconciously accepted as a standard.

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