Nov 8, 2017 in Sociology

Gender and Communication

Conversations between men and women are always interesting to observe and investigate. The point is that a number of stereotypes and wrong interpretations of the essence usually define the quality and even the length of conversations. Many experts try to provide explanations of gender differences, and the works Can’t We Talk? by Deborah Tannen and Men Who Explain Things by Rebecca Solnit seem to be powerful examples. Their ideas help to create a clear picture of how conversations between men and women are developed. The importance of gender factor in communication is evident. Although there are many differences between female and male understanding of what and how should be said, their conversations are important in everyday life. Instead of discussing who is right and who is wrong, people should learn to create successful communication, listen and hear each other to spend less time on solving conflicts, which may appear during female-male talks.

Female and male attitudes to what should be said, how information should be understood, and what actions are expected are hard to predict. It is difficult to realize why so different people live in the same society. Still, these differences between men and women are so amazing and considered to be the most powerful connection between people. It is hard to imagine the world without communication between men and women as, well as to realize that these conversations will be free from conflicts and misunderstandings. The question arises: is it really impossible to create successful communication between a man and a woman? 

Rebecca Solnit describes her experience of communication with different men and emphases that some of them are too proud to agree that sometimes their knowledge is not enough or they are just mistaken. She describes men as those with a “smug look”, who recognize a woman as an “ingénue” without a chance to know more than they do (Solnit). She supports the battle that takes place between “men who explain things” and women, who are too “polite out of earshot before… started laughing” (Solnit), and defines it as something insuperable in this life.

In her turn, Deborah Tannen aims at providing explanations of why successful gender communication is so hard to organize. Men and women have different attitudes to what they have to say. The role of stereotypes is crucial in their talks. For example, if a woman tries to propose something, a man may understand it as an order, due to his status does not accept any kind of obedience (Tannen). Sometimes, the former is eager to find some understanding and compassion, and the latter defines her request as a necessity to give some advice that is not always appropriate.

From these two works, it seems that successful conversations are incredible in our lives. However, there are so many real life examples, where men and women find a consensus and talk to each other in a proper way. Friendship between boy and girls, happy marriages, and parties with both female and male guests prove that thoughtful communication is possible. There are only two requirements for its creation: time and desire.

People should not consider gender communication as something that has to be developed. Of course, men and women are different, but there are so many women, who are different, and there are so many men, who are not alike. If people were similar, our everyday life would be boring. They should appreciate this gift to be different, but should not make it the main reason for quarrels and fights. Successful communication between men and women is not difficult to achieve. Therefore, it is just necessary to believe in its possibility and start talking.   

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