30. Females form friendships with women with whom they can confide Friday, May 8 2009 

Women form friendships with women for very different reasons than why men form friendships with men. Women want a strong connection and ability to trust and confide in their female friends. Talking is central to their relationships because self-disclosure draws them closer to one another. When men form friendships with eachother, they don’t need to converse often in order to feel emotionally close. Instead, men look for friends who enjoy the same activities as they do. This does not mean that female friendships are better than male friendships; it simply means that females tend to become more attached to their friends due to the emotional intensity involved.

A popular television series that portrays female friendships is “The Hills” on MTV. This reality show revolves around the lives of a small circle of female friends who live in Los Angeles, CA. These girls have a lot of conversations about their personal lives with each other and openly talk about the importance of their friendships. In the clip below, Heidi and Lauren are talking about how they find it important for friends to talk with each other a lot. Lauren is upset that Heidi hasn’t confided in her recently and thus they seem to be drifting apart. This exemplifies how women consider confiding and verbally connecting an important aspect of friendship, while men would not feel the same way.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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29. The type of family one is involved in influences their social-learning experience Friday, May 8 2009 

Many different types of families exist in todays society, including nuclear families, blended families, single-parent families, live-in couples, integrated families, couplhoods, boomerang families, and commuter families (Gamble, p. 194). Each type involves different people: children, parents, step-family members, gay/lesbian partners, half siblings, etc. The kind that one of the most popular new-age family sitcoms zones in on is the blended family.

The Brady Bunch is a blended family because it contains two adults and children from one or both of the adults’ previous marriages (p. 194). Because there are so many children in the home, plenty of examples of the gender differences between boys and girls were displayed in each episode. Families are the main communication systems for the members and are interdependent. Depending on how traditional a family, they may ask male children to do more masculine chores such as mowing the lawn and taking out the trash and ask female children to do household chores. Blended families simply show how family types are evolving over time, which may lead to evolving gender roles. Since the Brady Bunch was one of the first blended families on television, however, gender roles are still evident.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

28. The circumscribing stage of romantic relationships is when the relationship begins to deteriorate Friday, May 8 2009 

When a relationship between two people begins to deteriorate, it enters the circumscribing stage. This is when they begin to limit the amount and quality of communication with each other (Gamble, p.171). They reveal less and less about how they feel about each other and revert back to what it was like in the more superficial stages of their relationship. Since they’ve started withdrawing physically and mentally from the relationship, they begin to lose interest in it all together.

In the movie The Wedding Planner, the character “Steve Edison” is getting married to “Fran Donolly.” Throughout the movie, the couple does not spend much time together and obviously have very little in common. Steve finds himself falling for the wedding planner because they have a better connection than his with Fran, causing him to lose interest in his fiance. At the same time, Fran realizes that their relationship has become surfacey as she spends a lot of time away from Steve and they don’t have much to talk about. The clip from the movie that is below shows Steve and Fran realizing that they have hit the circumscribing stage, where their quality of communication has diminished.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

27. The experimenting stage of romantic relationships determines if the relationship will continue Thursday, May 7 2009 

In the Ten-Stage Model of Romantic Relationship, the experimenting stage (Stage 2) is when we explore whether or not the relationship we have begun has a future and is worth continuing (Gamble, p.169).  This stage involves getting to know the other person and asking questions in small talk. In order to discover if there is any compatibility, little bits of self-disclosure guide the discovery of one another’s beliefs, values, and opinions. As we get to know the interests and personalities of other people, we can determine if they are the kind of person we would like to pursue.

“The Bachelor” is a show that highlights all of the stages of the Ten-Stage Model through the integrating stage (Stage 4). The first episode (clip below) focuses on the experimenting stage. This is when the bachelor has conversations with all of the girls to determine whether or not they have enough in common to continue getting to know each other. The initiating stage is pretty much skipped in “The Bachelor” because the show itself sets up the casual interaction among participants, not allowing one person to initiate. In the clip below, the bachelor gets to know some of the girls by finding out what they’re interested in and what kind of things they like to do/talk about.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

26. Advertisements promote men’s bodies, not personalities Thursday, May 7 2009 

Stereotypes of men in the media include their importance in the workplace, but also promote the importance of men’s bodies over their personalities (Gamble, p. 354). Since men tend to be less social and emotional, their personalities are not as much of a crucial part of their identity. Thus, their external presentation becomes the focus of masculinity. They try to come across masculine by smelling and dressing a certain way that makes women feel like the men are in control.

The Axe Body Spray commercials show women sexually approaching men who wear the spray. This suggests that men will have a special power over women if they wear the product. Again, this helps designate men as the dominators who control the actions of women. Additionally, it ultimately supports the stereotype that men’s outer appearances/odor affects, not personality, affects their masculinity- or ability to control women.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

25. Personal account: Gendered artifacts are learned at a young age Thursday, May 7 2009 

The idea that certain artifacts, or objects that are expressive of our identity, are gendered is taught to children at a young age. Artifacts help communicate how we think men and women should behave and reflect the stereotyped characteristics we attribute to the sexes (Gamble, p. 103). Stereotypes are ingrained into us from a young age, which makes it difficult to see past those stereotypes as we grow older and more aware of our biases. In class, we discussed different artifacts which are appropriate for girls and boys. We noted that dresses, jewelry, and styled hair are feminine artifacts, while ties, short hair, and professional-looking clothes are more masculine artifacts.

I saw an example of how young a child can be aware of gendered artifacts when at Party City. A little girl that looked about 4 years old was shopping with her father and was looking at plastic “princess crowns.” Her father jokingly put on one of the crowns and the little girl yelled “Hey! You can’t wear that!” Her father asked why, and she said “You’s a boy!!” This exemplifies that tiaras and “feminine” items are seen as inappropriate for men from a very young age.

flower-tiara-2

 

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Link to tiara picture

24. Men to have private spaces, while women don’t usually have their own independent area Thursday, May 7 2009 

Men usually have dens or work areas in the hope where they can go to work independently, but a woman’s “room” is traditionally considered to be the kitchen or sewing room (Gamble, p.101).  This supports the notion that men have a greater personal bubble, or area that moves with them and separates them from others, than women. The space surrounding women is considered more public and accessible since they are generally more social and of lower status than men.

In an episode of MTV’s “Teen Cribs,” a teenage girl showed her father’s personal office in the house. It had a secret entrance and was off limits to other members of the family unless the father calls them down to discipline them or speak with him. The fact that the father controlled who could enter his den shows that this was his own space in which he separated himself showed his authority in the household.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Link to Teen Cribs homepage. I do not remember which teen’s house this specific artifact was in.

23. Men invade women’s spaces Thursday, May 7 2009 

Territoriality is the space that we protect from invasion and is a specific example of proxemics, or how we use personal space (Gamble, p. 101). People with more power tend to invade the spaces of people with less power in order to assert dominance. Because men generally have more power and are more aggressive, they invade women’s spaces more than they invade other men’s and more than women invade their spaces.

A scene from the movie Twilight demonstrates how men invade women’s spaces during a scene between the two main characters- Bella and Edward- in the cafeteria. Edward constantly moves closer to Bella, even when she steps away. Although Bella holds her ground, she looks down and away during the one time she had to invade his space in order to get to the salad bar. Edward stands very close to her, leaning forward while she leans away.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

22. Violence in music videos portray men as aggressive and women as victims Thursday, May 7 2009 

Although rap music videos tend to come to mind when thinking of men as aggressive and violence towards women, some videos by female artists actually portray these stereotypes. Repeatedly, women are seen as more dependent, sadder, and more frightened than males in music videos (Gamble, p. 370). As a result, women are more accepting of violence in their relationships- be it familial or romantic- because they think it is common (as seen in these videos).

An example of violence towards women in a music video is Lindsay Lohan’s “Confessions of a Broken Heart.” This music video shows a father being abusive towards his wife and his daughter is thus affected. Not only is this an example of the social-learning theory where girls are taught to view men as aggressive and themselves as submissive and weak, but it shows how women in music videos are passive and victimized by men.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

21. Coverage of female athletes tends to be trivialized Thursday, May 7 2009 

When covering female athletic stories, reporters tend to focus on their femininity, physical attractiveness, or personal problems rather than on their athletic accomplishments (Gamblle, p. 362). Although legal action like Title IX have promoted equal treatement of male and femal athletes, ideological changes are lagging behind. Still, men’s sports are covered far more often and more adequately than women sports, which are dumbed down to how the girls look while they’re playing.

A story that made headlines in the recent years is when Don Imus called Rutgers University’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy headed hoes.” Not only did this display colorism (that natural black traits are not as attractive as white traits), but it exemplified how women’s sports teams are talked about for their looks, not performance. He also called Tennesee’s team, who played Rutgers, “cute.” These kinds of terms are rarely- if never- used when assessing a male basketball game.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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