According to the Social-Learning theory, boys learn what boys do by modeling their fathers and being rewarded for appropriate behavior (Gamble, p.37). Similarly, girls learn what boys do by watching their fathers, even though it doesn’t directly affect their own actions. One of the gender roles that children learn is appropriate for boys is that men should not express emotion verbally- at least not often. This has to do with the fact that male genderlect is not focused on the relationship level of communication, so phrases like “I love you” are not used as commonly (p. 77).

A newly popular website called fmylife.com allows individuals to tell the world about negative or embarrassing events in their lives. A recent post highlighted the fact that the Social-Learning Theory affects children went as follows:

Today, my dad texted me and told me “I love u.” I answer back with “I love you too dad...are you drunk?” and he answers back “Of course I am...” My dad only tells me he loves me when he’s drunk. FML

Whoever posted this has learned/is learning from his/her father (Social Learning Theory) that male genderlect does not include the words “I love you,” adding to the fact that men do not vocalize emotions as women do.

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

fmylife.com

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