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Researchers have reported that there are notable differences between communication patterns of men and women due to the cognitive and biological differences that define them thus the reason it has been stated that men are from Mars and women from Venus. It has been noted that women speak 20, 000 a day on average while men only speak 7000 words (Lumpur & Rethinam, 2010). Since communication is the way people communicate or relate to each other, then it means that men and women see the world through two different perspectives.
Biologically any variations in human composition especially the brain functions changes everything and the way people function. This means that the presence of male and female genes in individuals has different implications to human communication patterns between men and women. This means that the two have different attachments and understandings of the issues that they face during communication. This means that men and women will communicate differently while at the same time trying to bridge the gap between Mars and Venus.
The basic difference that people understand between men and women is that men are aggressive thus create a verbal difference seen in being vulgar, aggressive and tendency to attack the speaker as a way of dominating the conversation. On the other hand, women are considered polite and less aggressive in their communication patterns (Mazman & Usluel, 2011). This means that stereotypes exist between men and women due to the way we perceive the issues that affect society (Verderber, 2005).
The society defines the way we view and understand thing due to socialization. Symbolic interaction views the society as attaching meanings to objects which the use to understand the world around them. This implies that there are meaning and expectations that symbolically define being male and female. Thus in every aspect of life, the society has symbolically socialized the two genders to ensure that meanings and differences can be derived from their communication patterns. This means that women are non-verbally warm in their communication while men lean towards the conversation to show dominance and control.
Communication patterns between men and women can this be described from a manifest view as showing the masculine and feminine differences between men and women. Thus men and women will communicate differently as a way of expressing the sexual differences that they have.
The major difference between men and women has been related to the interpersonal meanings that lie in the lines of the conversations that they make. This means that there are expectations in any communications that people make with each other (Harskamp, Ding, & Suhre, 2008). The role of communication is to highlight ones expectations to the other person so that they can be assisted the way they want. During communication, women will always use cooperative overlap where when they interfere in a conversation, they are showing agreement, thus when they don’t agree, they will keep on listening.
On the other hand, men do the opposite by applying dominance in the conversation to achieve control. For women, conversations revolve around the social expectations which define the level of intimacy or closer they allow others to come. On the other hand, men will be more sensitive to the in between lines of the conversation that they engage in while focusing on the status that they achieve in the task. These differences are dictated by the society that shapes being male and female. Sociologically, gender is a socially constructed element that forces people to belong in either group for acceptance. This because societal expectations on men require them to negotiate the hierarchy that they take in every relationship or conversation that they engage in (Wood, 2009).
The lines of conversation pattern of communication can be explained using the standpoint theory which is a way of viewing the world around to explaining things that take place in it. According to this theory, the social groups that people exist in powerfully shape what people experience and the way through which we communicate with ourselves and the world. Thus by substituting women with the proletariat, the theory suggests that culture is not identically experienced since there are hierarchies between men and women that shape the way culture is experienced thus influencing the way women and men communicate. Thus the interpersonal meanings that lie in the lines of the conversations are analyzed and interpreted differently by men and women due to the different standpoints in the society.
The difference between interpersonal implications and status creates a difference between men and women thus making women focus on the mutual dependence of the conversation that they engage (Torppa, 2018). That is why women thrive well in rapport talk which entails emotional expression, nurture, and support while men are for task accomplishment.
Social learning theorists argue that people learn how to be male and female from others in the society thus women are taught how to nurture while men are taught how to be in charge of the society (Knight, Woods, & Jindra, 2005). These roles shape the way men and women communicate. Just like in life careers, the way policy analysts, a psychologists, and a lawyer see a problem varies since this is defined by the characteristics of the position that they hold in the society. This is the reason why men will communicate differently from women and the other way round.
Mohindra & Azhar (2012) argues that one major difference between the two is the purpose of communication, in most cases, women use communication to get close thus establishing relationships while men use conversations to for dominance, display knowledge and even in some situations avoid disclosures. This is because the brains of men are wired for action thus they use this ability to try and gain dominance while women’s brains are wired for talking things over (Sullivan, 2004).
From the muted group theory perspective, the language of any culture does nit equally serve all the speakers. This means that cultural differences in hierarchy make men and women to be perceived differently because of the social learning experiences and the nature of roles that they perform (Wood, 2009). This means that men seek autonomy through use of justice in their communication while women seek connection through the ethic of care. Thus men and women will shape their vocabulary to reflect their experiences and perceptions. These differences in brain anatomy create cognitive differences in communication which is seen in superior performance by women on verbal communication due to differences in cognition and the grey matter of the brain.
For example, when a man realizes that the emotion can lead to regrettable actions like violence, he may own the mistake as a way of trying to end the conversation. This is the reason why in most arguments women always emerge winners since they keep on talking as a way of emerging winners. This means that men believe communication needs to have a clear purpose thus there should be rational reasons why one engages in a conversation (Drobnick, 2018). For example, communication can be used in problem-solving by getting to the root of the problem. On the other hand, women use communication to share their feelings or make others know how they are feeling.
These differences in communication can be seen from the fact that men will always be straightforward in their communication while women personalize communication by focusing on what the person did (Hargittai, 2008). When men communicate, they tend to have a clear purpose in mind or concrete reasons that they use to solve problems or information necessary to offer solutions to existing problems. Thus the difference between the communication patterns is women do not have a clear purpose of communication in mind when they begin engaging in a conversation.
According to Werthner (2001), gender differences are nurtured in children at an early age when they grow up this the reason why men are analytical and pragmatic while women are emotional and evocative by nature. This means that these two sexes have different goals in the way they communicate. When women communicate they seek attention, support, and sometimes understanding. This defines the way and reasons that make women engage in relationships. The society nurture boys to prepare them for the reproductive role while boys are nurtured for the productive role (Kimbroug, Guadagn, Muscane, & Dill, 2013).
For example, men always assume that when you tell them something then you are requesting them to fix it because they are problem and solution oriented. When children grow up, boys play in larger groups than girls where they learn using words for status negotiation and displaying abilities or knowledge which creates acceptance. Thus the difference between men and women communication patterns will be seen from the fact that women form asymmetrical involvement in conversations when they use rapport talk-conversation style to establish connections and seek command. This is further seen in the nature of childhood games that boys and girls engage in at a young age.
According to Verderber (2005), gender voices develop at an early age through the activities that children engage in. the games that children engage in prepare them for different roles which they link through communication with each other. The games that boys play are used to show dominance while girl games are used to show humility. The communication patterns used in such games are cemented and perfected as people grow to define the differences in communication.
Further, learning takes place through nurture and nature, where nurture is the conscious effort exerted in the individual by the society while nature is the activities that take place in the external environment (Martinez, 2017). Thus when growing up, boys and girls are segregated and restricted to socialize solely of their own gender and gender norms in the society which lead to gender inclined communication patterns. When communicating men and women have to focus on maintaining their gender status in the kind of messages that they communicate. This means that they learn patterns of communication from their family as they socialize with each other.
According to object relations theory images that people experience in their early life can facilitate the development of goals or act as barriers to cognitive development. This is because themes of separation are incorporated into the personality structure of boys and girls at an early age which creates bigger differences in their lives when they become adults (Hargittai, 2008). This implies that the communication patterns between men and women relate to the cognitive development that they acquired when growing up. After observing the differences between men and women communication styles, Tannen (1990) defined the differences as being cross-cultural or ‘genderlects’ instead of dialects. This is because gender differences in communication can be seen from at an early age when children interact and will continue to develop regardless of the context.
The pragmatic nature of communication differences are seen in the Haferkamp, Eimler, Papadakis, & Kruck (2012) study of gender differences and self-representation between men and women in online profiles. Social media is regarded as one of the self-representation platforms where people communicate personal and public aspects. In the social media, men use the pragmatic communication thus they do not consider online profiles for self-portrayal but rather the benefits that they derive from such platforms like finding friends, new contacts and even potential spouses (Alzahrani, 2016).
On the contrary, women are hedonistic in their approach to social media through seeking personal enjoyment and self-representation thus from social-psychological view women communication patterns are more concerned on the dramaturgical effect of how they are perceived by others. This means that online profiles accommodate women since they allow self-display through creating or editing profiles to perfectly accommodate their feminine needs (Netshitangani, 2008).
For example, women will tend to compare themselves more with others by searching for the profiles of other people while men use social media profile for connection or interacting. Thus women will use portrait photographs to create their profiles thus increasing self-representation which evokes positive evaluation while men use full body photographs to seek full acceptance.
Listening is also an important element of communication that defines the difference between men and women. According to Werthner (2001) men are wired to be problem solvers, this means that the way take in information is through thinking of ways to solve the problem or the decision that they will make while on the other hand, women listen by making mental notes of the context thus allowing them to use the points to form the best solution for the situation. This is the reason that makes women slow in making decisions since they have to weigh all the options that exist to make a decision.
Thus men are problem solving oriented while women focus on the process taken to solve the problem. This means that women converse together and their communication has more layers and depths as compared to men who have simple clear communication which is focused on without much detail based on intellect. This is because the reproductive role that they play in the society requires them to be keen on detail while the productive role of men requires them to be general. This can be seen in relationships where women are keen on small details like appreciating them or even knowing their favorite color. On the other hand, men are more interested in results which leads to achievement.
Further, women have been described as being facilitative thinkers while men are restrictive. Facilitative communication styles are used to increase communication since they increase the chance of communication (Debrand & Johnson, 2008). In most cases, women have been seen to be having more extensive networks than men since these networks facilitative communication and increase their chances of relating to others. For example, women will maintain family ties and connections with friends and at the same time, they used different forms of communication to maintain friendship and reduce the social distance that exists between them.
However, the restrictive nature of men seems to be more rational in determining the kind of relationships that they engage in and the benefits that they get. This implies that men will maintain relationships that are beneficial or add value to them rather than just having friends or a social network. By being rational, men keep their circle small and base their arguments more o things that make sense to them rather than social elements of relationships.
Despite the arguments on the gender differences between men and women communication, it is important to note that some feminists have challenged these assumption by arguing that they are socially constructed. This means that socially, politically or psychologically, women and men want the same thing but they are socialized to learn gendered elements that the society defines (Haferkamp, Eimler, Papadakis, & Kruck, 2012). This is because there have been challenges in understanding how divergent groups like heterosexuals and gays who have the physical attributes of one sex but prefer to act like the other gender.
Thus there are several studies that have been done to prove that although there are few differences that emanate from biological and gendered aspects, it is important to recognize that communication is an ability that once can learn based on the nature of the daily life (Verderber, 2005). This means that gender differences that exist in the communication can be addressed thus reducing the aforementioned differences. Perhaps the equation of gender needs to be removed in analyzing these differences to understand how men and women vary.
Therefore, communication differences will always exist in the society regardless of the efforts made towards reducing the gap between the two. This is because women have been characterized with the language of connection and intimacy while men are characterized with the language of status and independence. This means that cultural socialization plays a bigger role in the communication patterns that exist between men and women. Despite the fact that female and male brains are wired differently, the brain learns through social learning and conditioning from the cultural contexts that exist in the society. In every society, there are expectations for females and males which are acquired slowly when they grow up. This means that most communication differences between men and women arise from the way children learn to communicate.
Thus the gender differences that have been reported in communication are biologically, socially and biologically rooted in the societies that we live. This communication differences will always exist since there is a role that each communication pattern of being male or female plays in society. When defining the differences between men and women, we need to look at the role of social construction and biological definitions in the differences between the two groups. Despite achieving modernity and advances in gender equality, communication differences will always exist since equality has been mostly applied in the formal world.
However, people live in the social world where the relationships that they form in the society, at home and even work are defined by the social benefits that they derive from them. The outcome of all this means that men and women will always exhibit differences between them to increase acceptance and understanding from the opposite sex. There are higher benefits of communicating like a woman to women and communicating as a man to men. This is because it leads to social acceptance which in turn leads to personal identity. This defines the way others see us and how we relate with them.
Alzahrani, F. (2016). Communication Difference between men and women in social media. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 7(4), 981-982.
Debrand, C. C., & Johnson, J. J. (2008). Gender differences in email and instant messaging: a study of undergraduate business information systems students. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 10(5), 20-30.
Drobnick, R. (2018). 5 Ways Men & Women Communicate Differently. Retrieved from PsychCentral: https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-ways-men-and-women-communicate-differently/
Haferkamp, N., Eimler, S., Papadakis, A.-M., & Kruck, J. V. (2012). Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus? Examining Gender Differences in Self-Presentation on Social Networking Sites. , 15(2), 91. Cyberpsychology Behaviour and Social Networking, 15(2), 91-98.
Hargittai, E. (2008). Whose space? Differences among users and non-users of social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 276-297.
Harskamp, E., Ding, N., & Suhre, C. (2008). Group composition and its effect on female and male problem-solving in science education. Educational Research, 50(4), 307-318.
Kimbroug, A. M., Guadagn, R. E., Muscane, N. L., & D, J. (2013). Gender differences in mediated communication: Women connect more than do men. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 896-900.
Knight, D. A., Woods, R. H., & Jindra, I. W. (2005). Gender Differences in the Communication of Christian Conversion Narratives. Review of Religious Research, 47(2), 113-134.
Lumpur, K., & Rethinam, K. (2010). Mars, Venus and Gray: Gender Communication. International Business Research, 3(2), 24-34.
Martinez, N. (2017, October 10). Men vs. Women: Communication Styles Explained. Huffington Post.
Mazman, S., & Usluel, Y. (2011). Gender Differences in Using Social Networks. The Turkish online Journal of Educa-tional Technology,, 10(2), 133-139.
Mohindra, V., & Azhar, S. (2012). Gender Communication: A Comparative Analysis of Communicational Approaches of Men and Women at Work Place. Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2(1), 18-27.
Netshitangani, T. (2008). Gender differences in communication styles:The impact on the managerial work of a woman school principle. ANZCA08 Conference, Power and Place.
Sullivan, P. (2004). Communication differences between male and female team sport athletes. Communication Reporta, 17(2), 121-128.
Torppa, C. B. (2018). Gender Issues: Communication Differences in Interpersonal Relationships. Ohio Online.
Verderber, K. (2005). Voices, A Selection of Multicultural Readings. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Werthner, P. (2001). Understanding the Differences Between How Women and men communicate. , 1(5). Canadian Journal for Women in Coaching Online, 1(5).
Wood, J. (2009). Gendered lives: Communication, gender, and culture. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.
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