Remember Men and From Mars Women Are From Venus? It was a huge best-selling book in the mid-1990s, and it was only one of many books in the last 30 years or so that tried to explain differences in the psychology and biology of men and women. Today, a lot of the well-known pop science explanations of innate (or even socially determined) differences between the genders have fallen out of fashion. Maybe as equality in the workplace and personal relationships has edged closer to reality people are less inclined to believe that men “are” one way and women “are” some other way.
Still, we have all noticed characteristics that appear to be more common in women than in men, haven’t we? I think I have observed some differences in communication styles, if in nothing else, over the years in professional and personal settings. This includes the more than 600 Meetup-like meetings I’ve presided over or attended (CivCon = 50 mtgs per year x 9 years alone!).
What about you? Have you observed that men and women have distinct communication styles? In which aspects of life do they manifest – at work, in romantic relationships, in child-rearing, at certain ages? If men and women communicate differently, why? Is it a gender thing – either due to genetics or socialization and discrimination? Or, is it the product of other factors, like social class, education, media exposure, parental or peer pressure, etc.? To me, separating reality from stereotypes and gender socialization from other causes will be the challenge (and the fun) for us.
The links below are…my best guess at background readings that cover some of the major theories and points of view on gender communication differences. See if they add any useful information or perspective for you.
See you on Monday.
SUGGESTED BACKGROUND READING –
- There are a few gender differences in communicating, but not many. Recommended.
- Scientific American says the same thing.
- Wait. What about, say, these six differences?
- In the workplace:
- In thinking itself:
NEXT WEEK on Memorial Day: Nuclear war: Will it stay unthinkable?