Communication, in its most rudimentary form, has been described as a process whereby a message is sent by one individual and received by another. While this process as described here is quite straightforward overall, the reality is that this process occurs in both a dynamic and mitigated environment, which often has an impact on how the message is delivered and also how it is received. As such, the study of communication requires not only a more integral understanding of the relationship between the sender and the receiver, but also an integral understanding of the environment in which the transmission of information is taking place. Without this critical information, it is not possible to fully comprehend the process of communication.With the realization that communication is such a complex process, it is evident that researchers must extend and expand their frameworks for understanding this process in a more fundamental manner. Using this as a basis for research, this investigation compares and contrasts gendered verbal communication and gendered nonverbal communication. Specifically, this investigation considers these two aspects of communication through the application of two distinct theories of gender: feminist theory and social learning theory. Beginning first with the description of a particular situation in which both gendered verbal and gendered nonverbal communication take place, this research will examine both gendered verbal and nonverbal communication through the lens of feminist and social learning theory.
[...] Specifically, four children, two boys and two girls were watched for 45 minutes. During this time period, the boys and girls played together and separately. At first, the boys and girls were playing together on the swings. After about five minutes on this task, the girls told the boys that they wanted to play in the sandbox. The girls left the swings and went to the sandbox. The boys did not respond, but came to the sandbox within a few minutes. [...]
[...] Girls use verbal and nonverbal communication to establish and demonstrate their non-threatening, diminutive and non- confrontational attitudes toward others. Boys, on the other hand, use their verbal and nonverbal communication as a means to assert their power and establish their dominance. Feminist scholars would also argue that the development of these behaviors is predicated upon the larger context of social hegemony that supports these behaviors. Boys are rarely reprimanded for acting like boys and girls are rarely encouraged to change their behaviors and assert themselves more aggressively. [...]
[...] Starting first with verbal communication, it becomes evident that issue of power is clearly manifest in the language that is used between girls and boys. The boys are much in their communication, both with each other and with the girls. This loudness could be attributed to the fact that the boys are attempting to assert their power over the girls by demonstrating their ability to be more aggressive and assertive. Overall, the yelling of the boys was much more pronounced than the general conversation that took place between the girls. [...]
[...] Synthesizing the Research Clearly, feminist and social learning theories approach the issues of gendered verbal and nonverbal communication in a different manner. In the context of feminist theory, the issue of power as it relates to the subjugation of girls and the dominance of boys is critical for understanding both verbal and nonverbal communication. In the context of social learning theory, the socialization of the child is critical for understanding why certain verbal and nonverbal behaviors manifest. Even though these two theories provide notably different insights into how verbal and nonverbal communication develops the reality is that there is some degree of congruence that can be found. [...]
[...] Conclusion Gendered verbal and nonverbal communication represents the development of deeply entrenched ideas about gender and gender identity. In most cases, these ideas have become an integral and pervasive part of modern culture. In fact, one could argue that these issues are so pervasive that most laymen are unable to recognize them when they occur. Although feminist and social learning theorists have worked to develop a systematic framework for understanding patterns of communication between males and females, in the end it seems reasonable to argue that these two theories are inextricably linked to the larger context of gender identity hegemony. [...]
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