You are on page 1of 2

Gender and Communication

Men and women converse differently, according to the findings of


Deborah Tannen in her research and principals of communication and
gender. Men and women may be of the same species physically, but in
conversation the difference is night and day. Evidence of this was present in
a conversation that I overheard between a mother and her two daughters.
In this conversation, a mother told her daughters about when her best
friend had committed strange acts. They had been living together in their
dorm when one day, they were just sitting there when without reason or
warning, she cut off her boyfriend's underpants, removing the raiment while
his pants were still on! The story went on like that while her two daughters
listened intently, leaning in and jumping in occasionally to ask questions.
This conversation, be it a bit odd, falls perfectly in line with Tannen's
research into female communication. This talk was all about sharing secrets,
and in this case it was the secret of the mothers weird friend. In Sex, Lies
and Conversation, Tannen wrote that "girls create friendships by exchanging
secrets...." This was all about creating connections and strengthening their
mother daughter relationship. This conversation was not just about sharing
feelings. It served to strengthen the connections they felt for each other.
Tannen said that Speaking between girls is what maintains and creates
relationships between them. The discussions content doesn't matter as
much as the fact that it's being shared. The weirdness of the story or its
subject weren't as important as the fact that the mother shared it with them.
This conversation, had it been delivered by boys, would have sounded
very differently. In most conversations, girls remain consistent with one topic,
while boys tend to jump from one to the other (Tannen). This conversation
between girls did remain on the same topic of the weird friend for the whole
duration of the talk. This is consistent with both Tannen's research and my
own. Tannen also wrote about how girls make eye contact and make eye
contact where boys don't tend to do so. This dialogue was also consistent
with Tannen's idea that girls "make more listener noise," which in this
included such things as "Wait, what," or "Well..." These are all examples of
feminine modes of communication. In Tannens research, she found that
where men often interrupt each other, as a way to compete for dominance in
the group. She also found that women tend to talk to achieve connections,
so don't interrupt like men do (Tannen). This conversation fell in line perfectly
with Tannen's principals of communication
This conversation was an excellent example of female to female
communication. From this social experiment, I can conclude that Deborah
Tannen's research into gender and communication to be completely valid.

Works cited:
Tannen, Deborah, Sex, Lies and communication, The Washington post,
A17, October 9, 2015.