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Sex Versus Gender  Sex is anatomical, biological, physical ○ Muscle mass, size, body hair, genitalia Men are naturally more promiscuous, right? Previous.

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Presentation on theme: "Sex Versus Gender  Sex is anatomical, biological, physical ○ Muscle mass, size, body hair, genitalia Men are naturally more promiscuous, right? Previous."— Presentation transcript:


2 Sex Versus Gender  Sex is anatomical, biological, physical ○ Muscle mass, size, body hair, genitalia Men are naturally more promiscuous, right? Previous research: men had an average of 7 female sex partners. Women had an average of 4. Recent research: 1 in 4 young women has slept with more than 10 people, compared with 1 in 5 men who had done the same. Young women are twice as likely to be unfaithful, with 50 % admitting they have cheated on a partner.

3 Sex  Sex There are real biological differences between men and women and they do affect communication. Some academicians seem to be in “biological denial (Andersen, 2008). Political correctness may be at work Harvard President, Lawrence Sommers, sparked controversy when he claimed the shortage of women in math and sciences was partly due to “intrinsic aptitude.” SAT math scores for male high school students in the U.S. are higher, on average, than females’ scores. The gap is large and statistically significant (+30 points), and c) and the gap has persisted over time, since at least 1971.

4 Gender  Gender differences are a result of socialization, acculturation Men are assertive, tough, strong, competitive Women are nurturing, communal, cooperative In fact, almost all personality traits and gender roles are overlapping Across all studies that examine gender differences in communication, gender explains only about 5% of the variation in communication styles, tendencies (Canary & Hause, 1993; Dindia, 2006)  Gender involves sex roles Gender is psychological, social, cultural Women are better listeners than men Women are submissive, supportive, accommodating Men are more assertive, dominant, aggressive, unemotional

5 Nonverbal differences are a combination of nature and nurture  The nature of nurturing matters too.  Popular stereotypes suggest that women and men are completely different Women are from Venus Men are from Mars Girls are made of “sugar, spice, everything nice” Boys are made of “snips, snails, puppy dogs tails”  Popular stereotypes are exaggerated  Dindia (2006) “Women are from North Dakota, and men are from South Dakota.”  Women and men are far more similar than different Example: elite distance runners Example: math skills

6 Gender Stereotypes  Most gender based stereotypes are negative, and most are false. A woman’s place is in the home All men ever think about is sex  Sex Role Stereotypes: Women are moody, temperamental, frivolous, submissive, emotional, irrational Men are stubborn, arrogant, conceited, hard- headed

7 Gender Stereotypes  TV an Print Ads the more TV one watches, the more one subscribes to sex stereotypes (Zemach & Cohen, 1986). Print advertisements often depict women in submissive positions Print ads often show only parts of women’s bodies, not the whole person.

8 Sexual Objectification


10 Accentuating Sex Differences  Women shave their legs  Women wear lipstick, make-up  Women wear push up bras  Tap dancing, ballet lessons, jump rope, hopscotch  Men grow beards  Men build muscle mass  Men show off their biceps, abs  Boys don’t cry  Roughhousing is encouraged

11 Minimizing Sex Differences  Equal access to education  Career paths: Less gender differentiation in career paths  Breadwinners: Dual income earners Stay at home Dads  Tomboys  Metrosexuals  Unisex, androgyny

12 Physical Attractiveness  “What is beautiful is good” stereotype  Feingold (1990) physical attractiveness is more important to men than women. trophy wives cosmetic surgery beauty products eating disorders  Why does physical attractiveness matter more to men than women? Socio-biological explanation Patriarchal society explanation

13 Personal Space (Proxemics)  American males have larger personal space “bubble” than American females.  not necessarily true in other cultures Arab males often hold hands, kiss, walk arm in arm

14 Personal Space  Males tend to claim more space than females (occupying space signifies power, status)  Women are more likely to shrink their personal space By pulling in their bodies, condensing their use of space arm rests and territoriality  American females tend to talk closer to one another, American males tend to interact act greater distances Two women having a personal conversation will stand or sit within arm’s reach Two males engaged in a conversation will remain at or beyond arm’s length Guys often leave an empty seat between them at a movie theater

15 Personal Space  Space violations: females are more likely to have their space violated than males. Example: Airport waiting area Example: video store; males are more likely to walk in front of females than vice versa

16 Encoding Skills  Women tend to express more emotion (facial displays)  Men are socialized to: internalize their emotions mask emotional displays  Study: males and females were shown various pictures designed to arouse emotions (kittens playing with yarn, burn victim, scenic views, etc  Coders were significantly better at deciphering females’ facial expressions than males’

17 Encoding Skills  Women tend to provide more eye contact  Women tend to adapt their communication style to the other person

18 Decoding Skills  Women are consistently better than men at decoding nonverbal meanings  They monitor facial displays of emotion  They listen effectively (active listening)  The exception— deception detection

19 Smiling  Women tend to smile more than males  Smiling can convey warmth, immediacy  Smiling can also convey nervousness, submissiveness, embarrassment

20 Gestures  Can you think of any gestures (emblems) that one sex would be more likely to use than another? Head tilt Mock punch Expansive gestures Holding books over chest Handbag barrier Holding a cigarette  Adaptors (self touch behaviors) Finger snapping Knuckle popping Crotch scratching Hand over mouth Hand covering bosom

21 Gestures

22 Touch  Men initiate touch more than women in public settings Bear hug Headlock, noogie Arm around another’s shoulder Firm handshake Comforting touch (females, touch on arm, forearm, hand) Affectionate touch (females)

23 Posture  Differences while standing or sitting Leg crossing (figure 4) Cross legs and/or ankles Relaxed posture Elbows out, hands behind head Feet on desk Leaning back Standing with legs apart Standing with crossed legs Sitting with legs underneath you

24 Walking  Differences in gait or stride Men swagger Women sashay Women do the “runway” walk.

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