Gender Speech Communication

21Jan 2022 by

Sex refers to the biological differences between males and females. Gender can refer to an individual’s concept of their gender identity, which can be the same or different than their biological sex at birth. It is important to understand the differences among these terms because gender exerts a powerful influence not only on how we communicate but what we communicate.

How might gender develop? Fixmer-Oraiz and Wood (2019, p. 104) observed that “children are typically socialized into gendered speech communities” and that a speech community exists “when people share understandings about goals of communication, strategies for enacting those goals, and ways of interpreting communication.” In other instances, gender development may not be in synchrony with the expectations of the child’s or adult’s majority community.

No one sex or gender has the edge on a better communication style. Each brings a different perspective and skillset to the table, some of which reflect genetic predispositions and some of which reflect environmental influences. Instead, competent communicators ask, what style best fits a given situation? Communication is context-bound. The context or situation dictates what kind of communication style should be used. Successful communicators adapt their communication style to the specific needs of each situation.

For example, some contexts may call for empathic listening, such as when a coworker announces they were just denied a promotion. This is a skillset often associated with a feminine listening style. A situation where a brief, to-the-point summary is required may be associated with a masculine linguistic style. The words feminine and masculine describe socially constructed attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with perceptions.

However, it is important to recognize that both persons identified as male or female at birth can exhibit traits that have traditionally been associated with either females or males. Perhaps in the future, as society’s perspectives of gender evolve to become less binary (i.e., either female or male) and gender fluidity is more widely understood, such a binary categorization will not be as relevant.

Respond to the following questions in your discussion:

1. Describe the games you played as a child, and who they were played with.

2. Did those experiences with the games you played affect your style of gendered verbal communication?

3. Select a current high-performing adult athlete, CEO, or military leader. How would you describe their communication? Does it reflect a gender stereotype? Include at least two references not cited in this course. (Seek credible, authority references.)

Post your response by 11:59 PM ET on Saturday. Engage at least two of your classmates in conversation by posting meaningful comments about their remarks by 11:59 PM ET on Tuesday.

Make sure your responses demonstrate what you have learned from the Week 2 Learning Resources. 

Reference

Fixmer-Oraiz, N., & Wood, J.T., (2019). Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender & Culture. Cengage.