Differences in communication between men and women
- Men in the media
- The Baby X study
- Myra and David Sadker documented sex bias in the classroom
- The OJ Simpson trial
?Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? touts the cover of an American bestseller. The instant success of this book (over 14 million copies sold) hints at a polarized population eager to bridge the gender gap. Yet some readers feel that it is writing such as these that exacerbate differences between men and women by a faulty assumption that the sexes are inherently different. If the socialization of children were normalized between the sexes, self-help books such as these would not be necessary, and people in need of relationship advice would actually be able to pinpoint their unique needs rather than following a generalized formula that scapegoats gender differences. Men in the media are portrayed as stoic, strong, and independent. In recent years, the dichotomy between the sexes has been exaggerated. Entertainers such as the Rock and Terminator take this to the extreme, pumping their bodies full of muscle and destroying everything in sight to a screaming fan base. Women, on the other hand, have been shrinking to a waiflike status. Waist measurements of winners of the Miss America pageant went from just under 26 inches (1920) to around 24 inches (1980s). Commercials play on men's fantasies, portraying women as brimming with desire, cornering men and undressing themselves (Axe deodorant, Herbal Essence shampoo, Dentyne gum). Women in rap videos are scantily clad and if not dancing like a stripper, cling onto the men. The line between reality and fantasy blurs as emcees at clubs host ?booty-hop? contests where the prize is meager but perhaps most important of all, the winner feels desirable. Hordes of men should be the last place for women to look to gain esteem, but this appears to be a rising trend that radio personality Howard Stern has cashed in on, ?auditioning? hundreds of women to assess their worthiness to appear in Playboy. The critics are harsh, pointing at every flaw as they peruse the contestants' bodies. To add insult to injury, the judges are usually unqualified (Mike - a perverted grocery store worker, Lenny - a garbage man). Shows like these connote that the only bond between the sexes is sex itself.
[...] Deborah Tannen, sociolinguist and author of many interpersonal communication books, notes that even women who hold high titles use language that is interpreted by men as one-down. There are behavioral differences in the workplace as well. Then there is rapport versus report. It is no secret that females like to talk. In discussing a peeping tom with a male classmate, I found our conversation cut short by need to close the blinds.? I was hoping for something a bit more empathetic, maybe even ?that sucks.? His response made me feel as if I weren't bright enough to deal with the situation on my own. [...]
[...] on, ?auditioning? hundreds of women to assess their worthiness to appear in Playboy. The critics are harsh, pointing at every flaw as they peruse the contestants' bodies. To add insult to injury, the judges are usually unqualified (Mike - a perverted grocery store worker, Lenny - a garbage man). Shows like these connote that the only bond between the sexes is sex itself. Even babies are socialized, as evidenced by the Baby X study in which adults would choose different toys for the baby according to gender norms. [...]