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Copy of Deborah Tannen - Genderlect Theory

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Sheena Mae Sumampong

on 20 October 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Deborah Tannen - Genderlect Theory

Masculine vs Feminine Communication
Genderlect Theory
By Izza Jatala
How Deborah Tannen Views Communication
Gives compliments
Makes connections
Likes details
Good listener
More say less do
More talk
Shows status
Explains things
Likes to be the hero
Likes short and sweet
More action
More do less say
Sex vs Gender
"Sex" is the biological/physical aspect that defines the difference between men and women.

"Gender" is a social construct devised by humans to define difference in masculine and feminine roles, behaviors, or activities.
Genderlect Theory
Deborah Tannen's
Men and Women have different conversation styles

Understanding the differences is the key to better communication

Both styles are used for different
reasons but are equally important
I believe we are socialized into to speaking a certain way based on gender.
Can we easily recognize the difference between masculine and feminine communication?
Do students agree with genderlect styles?
Masculine Style
Conversation 1B:
“What's up. Long time no see, what do you do these days?”
“I graduated and work as a project manager now. You?”
“I’m getting promoted to VP and I am getting hitched!”
Men are more about status when they communicate and attempt to “one-up” others in conversation. They do this by talking factually.
Feminine Style
“Omg I haven’t seen you in so long, you look great!”
“Thanks you too! Can’t believe we are both parents now, how are the kids?”
Women want to become closer to people they speak to by relating to them. Sometimes they do this through compliments
and sometimes through bringing up a topic
they can connect to.
Conversation 1A: Connection
Convo. 2B: Report
“I don’t feel well today”
“If your sick you should probably go home. “
Men are more direct in conversation by responding with factual information. Saying you should go home, doesn’t offer comfort it simply points out that if you want to get better and don’t want to get others sick you should go home.
Convo. 2A: Rapport
“I don’t feel well today”
“Sorry to hear that. I hope you get better soon”
Women empathize and match the mood during conversation. By saying sorry and feel better they offer comfort.
Convo. 3A:
Public Speech-Story telling
“Remember that prank you pulled in high school!"
“We are such legends!”
Men like to see themselves as the hero and tell jokes to bond
Convo. 3B:
Private Talk-Story Telling
“Remember when I spilled orange juice on my pants, that was so embarrassing!"
“Yeah, I do! I loaned you my sweater to cover up. We’ve all had moments like that."
Women tend to downplay themselves and can bond over sharing embarrassing stories
Convo. 4A: Conflict
“Turn down your stereo or
I'm calling the cops!”
Men will initiate and are
comfortable with conflict
Convo. 4B: Conflict
"Mind turning your music down, it can
get distracting?"
More passive approach or avoid conflict by not directly making any demands
Convo. 5A:
Asking Questions
"I left the lighter fluid but I'm not going
to ask him to help light this campfire.
I can light it
without it."
Men want to avoid asking for help
or asking question to avoid appearing
ignorant or incapable
Convo. 5B:
Asking Questions
"Lets ask if we could borrow some lighter fluid since we forgot to bring it to start this camp fire. We can bring some smores after to say thank you!"
Women are more comfortable
with asking for help. By asking
for help they have a chance to
establish a new connection.
The students in the video...
The two female students easily recognized the difference between masculine and feminine communication.

The one male student had a bit more trouble in guessing.

All of them struggled with the Conflict genderlect style. They weren't able to easily recognize it.
Students in the video...
All of them seem to mostly agree with the genderelect styles of rapport/report, Listening, Asking, etc.

They again did not agree with or were unsure about Conflict style. Additionally when asked what they would do in a conflict, the female student was comfortable with confrontation and male student rather avoid it.

They pointed out how males can communicate for connection too (bromance).
As society changes so to will the gender styles of communication, since gender is a social construct.
Women may be more confrontational, tell more jokes, be more aggressive, show status (especially in the workplace), now more than ever.
Men may be more feminine by not caring about status, communicating to connect, avoiding conflict.
Click to play
Click to play
Self-fulling prophecy: They different genderlect styles should not only be thought of as strictly feminine or strictly masculine.

When asking the students to guess the different styles, I never said they could choose both masculine and feminine as an option.
Not so equal: Tannen claims the gender styles as equal, but when I applied them to the conversation scenarios it was evident that there was more power and dominance with masculine style. Think about using they styles in a workplace setting, would it really be equal level of communication?
Personality play a factor: I found that
personality also effects the way one
communicates: extrovert and introvert. If a guy is introverted he may avoid conflict and public speaking. Vice versa if a girl is extroverted she may be loud and dominant.

Why is there still such a disconnect between men and women when communicating? Especially since both can tell the difference between masculine and feminine styles communication. If they are aware of the styles and if they keep those filters on while in a natural conversation with the opposite sex they should be able to identify their style of communication and try to respond by framing the message toward the intended person.
Tanned offer some well though out and popular insight on gender styles of communicating. I believe it can be helpful, but one shouldn't rely to heavily on it. It simply bring further understanding on how society through our socialization of gender roles effects the way we communicate. By understanding that we can try to avoid miscommunication from occurring.
The End
Work Cited:

Griffin, Emory A. "Genderlect Styles." A First Look at Communication Theory. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2009. N. pag. Print.
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