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Gendered Close Relationships Chapter 9. Meaning of Personal Relationships Personal relationships = partners depend on each other Regard each other as.

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Presentation on theme: "Gendered Close Relationships Chapter 9. Meaning of Personal Relationships Personal relationships = partners depend on each other Regard each other as."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gendered Close Relationships Chapter 9

2 Meaning of Personal Relationships Personal relationships = partners depend on each other Regard each other as unique individuals who cannot be replaced Most of our relationships are social or professional

3 Models of Personal Relationships Differences in masculine and feminine orientations to close relationships coincide with male and female approaches to relationships Researchers disagree about what the differences mean

4 The Male Deficit Model Society views women as interpersonally sensitive Assume their ways of forming relationships the right way Claim men’s styles of building relationships is inadequate – male deficit model

5 The Male Deficit Model Assumption of model is personal talk is hallmark of intimacy ◦Women self-disclose more ◦Women more intimate than men ◦Led to judgments men deficient  Men advised to overcome deficiencies

6 The Male Deficit Model Male feminists thought men emotionally repressed Would be enriched by expressing feelings Researchers claimed men felt threatened by intimacy Men suffer from stunted emotional development

7 The Male Deficit Model Much sentiment still holds men are deficient in ability to express emotion Researchers began to question this assumption

8 The Alternate Paths Model Alternate paths model - gendered socialization root of differences in styles of relating Does not presume masculine people lack feelings Suggests socialization constrains men’s comfort in expressing

9 The Alternate Paths Model Masculine people do express closeness, but not in same way feminine people do Both styles equally valid

10 The Alternate Paths Model Alternative paths model challenges research used to support male deficit model Feminine ruler misrepresents masculine modes of caring

11 The Alternate Paths Model Men develop closeness in the doing

12 The Alternate Paths Model Engaging in activities is an alternate way to express intimacy Talking about problems less effective than diversionary activities

13 The Alternate Paths Model Women engage in emotional and instrumental communication Men engage in less explicit emotional communication, but do express emotions in a range of ways Many activities males engage in enhance emotional closeness

14 The Alternate Paths Model Gender of person needing support may be as important as sex of person offering support Women engage in more comforting messages Both sexes more sensitive when comforting woman than men

15 The Alternate Paths Model Masculine people find intimate talk doesn’t make them feel close Feminine people find instrumental demonstrations of commitment unsatisfying Healthy relationships require us to be bilingual

16 Gendered Styles of Friendship Both sexes value friends and invest in them Both sexes engage in instrumental and expressive modes of building closeness Differences in how men and women interact with friends

17 Gendered Styles of Friendship Women engage each other face to face Men interact side by side ◦Men engage in activities that do not involve facing each other

18 Gendered Styles of Friendship Crux of friendship: ◦Men – doing things together ◦Women – talking together

19 Feminine Friendships Women - talk primary way to build and enrich friendships Share feelings and problems to know and be known Talk about daily lives

20 Feminine Friendships Women friends want to know each other in depth They are each other’s confidantes

21 Feminine Friendships Communication - expressive and supportive More permeable ego boundaries cultivate skill in empathizing

22 Feminine Friendships Difficult to deal with feelings of envy and competitiveness toward friends ◦Wrong to have such feelings

23 Feminine Friendships Difficult to override expectations of being available and caring Feel guilty if not able to nurture others

24 Feminine Friendships Women talk explicitly about relationship Comfortable stating affection Allows women to monitor friendship

25 Feminine Friendships Women tend to not restrict self disclosure to specific areas ◦Women know each other in complex ways

26 Masculine Friendships Activities center of friendships Friendships revolve around shared activities, particularly sports Cultivates camaraderie

27 Masculine Friendships Friendships have instrumental focus Like to do things for people they care about Involve instrumental reciprocity

28 Masculine Friendships Men less emotionally disclosive with other men than with women Help by suggesting diversionary activities to take mind off troubles

29 Masculine Friendships Men’s friendships less likely to last if one moves away Women can sustain friendship through phone calls, etc.

30 Masculine Friendships Men’s friendships involve covert intimacy ◦Signal affection by teasing, competition, playful punches

31 Masculine Friendships Women and men consider overt expressions of affection important ◦Men restrict to opposite sex ◦Women always employ

32 Masculine Friendships Friendships restricted in scope Different friends for various interests May not share many dimensions of their lives with friends

33 Friendships between Women & Men Friendships between the sexes pose challenges and offer opportunities for growth Difficult not to see each other in sexual terms

34 Friendships between Women & Men Tension arises from sex- segregated socialization in childhood Women – benefit of friendships with men is less emotionally intense companionship Men – benefit of friendships is access to emotional support

35 Friendships between Women & Men Men and women receive more emotional support with women than with men Men reluctant to be emotionally supportive of men – inconsistent with views of gender

36 Friendships between Women & Men Men talk more in cross-sex friendships Both sexes report friendships with women more satisfying Both sexes seek women friends in times of stress

37 Gendered Romantic Relationships Cultural script for romance: ◦Feminine women/masculine men desirable ◦Men should initiate activities ◦Women should facilitate conversation ◦Men should excel in status and money

38 Developing Romantic Intimacy Personal ads written by men place priority on feminine physical qualities Women’s ads emphasize status and success Views of desirable partners reflect cultural gender expectations

39 Developing Romantic Intimacy Conventional dating script calls for men to take the initiative Androgynous individuals behave in more flexible ways Less role playing between gay men and between lesbian women

40 Developing Romantic Intimacy Men fall in love faster and harder More active, impulsive, sexualized, game playing Women more pragmatic, friendship focused

41 Developing Romantic Intimacy Members of both sexes enjoy casual sex Women perceive sexual behavior as linked to emotional involvement Difference evident in gay and lesbian relationships as well

42 Developing Romantic Intimacy Heterosexual men more interested in sex whether or not attracted to a woman Lesbians date for a while before becoming sexual Gay men more likely to have sex early in relationship

43 Developing Romantic Intimacy Women more likely to focus on relationship dynamics Lesbians take mutual responsibility for nurturing Gays less likely to focus on nurturing

44 Developing Romantic Intimacy Heterosexual relationships reflect traditional gender roles Men perceived as head of family Women assume responsibility for domestic labor and child care African American relationships more egalitarian

45 Developing Romantic Intimacy Gay and lesbian relationships do not follow roles typical of heterosexual couples Resemble best-friend relationships with added dimension of sexuality

46 Developing Romantic Intimacy Lesbian relationships - more monogamous High in emotionality Most equality

47 Developing Romantic Intimacy Gays and lesbians follow dating script similar to heterosexuals Gay men more likely than lesbians to associate sex with first date Lesbian women more likely to associate emotional sharing with first date

48 Gendered Modes of Expressing Affection Masculine mode of expressing affection is instrumental and activity focused Feminine mode is emotionally expressive and talk focused

49 Gendered Modes of Expressing Affection Women – ongoing conversation about feelings and activities primary way to enrich relationships Masculine speech communities – primary reasons to talk is solving problems and achieving goals

50 Gendered Modes of Expressing Affection Unless there is a problem, men find talking about relationship unnecessary Women feel ongoing talk keeps problems from developing

51 Gendered Modes of Expressing Affection Feminine or androgynous ways of expressing care valued by both sexes Also count on traditionally masculine modes of caring

52 Gendered Modes of Expressing Affection Gay men engage in more emotional talk than straight men but less than women Lesbians build most expressive communication climate ◦More satisfaction with relationships

53 Autonomy & Connection Autonomy and connection - two basic human needs Gender affects how much of these we seek and find comfortable Masculine individuals want greater autonomy and less connection

54 Autonomy & Connection Desire for different degrees generates friction in relationships Demand-withdraw pattern ◦The more one demands talk, the more the other withdraws

55 Autonomy & Connection Intensity of withdrawal is greater when woman requests change in man than when man requests change in woman

56 Autonomy & Connection Masculine - more comfortable with distance Feminine - more comfortable with close connections Behaviors can be misinterpreted

57 Responsibility for Relational Health Lesbian couples share responsibility for relationship Heterosexual couples – assume woman has primary responsibility for relationship

58 Responsibility for Relational Health Difficult for one person to meet responsibility May be seen as a nag Highest levels of satisfaction when both responsible for the relationship

59 Gendered Power Dynamics Historically, person who makes most money has the most power in heterosexual relationships Men and women still believe man should be primary breadwinner

60 Gendered Power Dynamics Problems fostered by men having more power not prominent in lesbian relationships Gay partners may compete for status and dominance

61 Gendered Power Dynamics Belief of man as breadwinner does not match reality Dyson - Black men may feel threatened by successful black women

62 Gendered Power Dynamics People who adhere to traditional views likely to experience decrease in self-esteem and marital satisfaction

63 Gendered Power Dynamics Men whose fathers were involved at home see homemaking as compatible with masculinity Women and men who had mothers who were in workplace see career success as consistent with femininity

64 Gendered Power Dynamics Belief men have more power reflected in distribution of labor in home Majority of families have two wage earners, housework and care of children done primarily by women

65 Gendered Power Dynamics Hochschild – second shift ◦Wives employed outside home have second shift job in home ◦Read an excerpt from this book at  onbp/337/2ndshift1.pdf onbp/337/2ndshift1.pdf

66 Gendered Power Dynamics 1960s and earlier – few men did much to care for home and children Mid-1970s-mid-1980s – men’s contributions increased and stagnated ◦Second wave of feminism active in America

67 Gendered Power Dynamics Women do work that is more taxing and less gratifying Men’s contributions more sporadic Women’s tasks more repetitive and constrained by deadlines Women more likely to multi-task

68 Gendered Power Dynamics Mothers constantly on duty Fathers volunteer for irregular and fun child-care activities

69 Gendered Power Dynamics Mothers have more responsibility for psychological responsibility ◦Remembering, planning, making sure things get done

70 Gendered Power Dynamics Consequences of second shift ◦Women stressed, fatigued, susceptible to illness ◦Similar stress found in single fathers ◦Frustration, resentment, conflict

71 Gendered Power Dynamics Masculine individuals use more unilateral strategies to engage in and avoid conflicts ◦Issue ultimatums, refuse to listen, assert partner blowing things out of proportion

72 Gendered Power Dynamics Feminine individuals defer or compromise ◦Employ indirect strategies Tension less pronounced in lesbian relationships Power struggles common for gay partners

73 Gendered Power Dynamics Gendered power dynamics underlie violence and abuse Violence cuts across race, ethnic and class lines Violence inflicted primarily by men High degree of violence in dating relationships


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