Men and women are different biologically speaking and much more sociologically speaking. We are expected to act in certain ways that are consistent with society’s gender stereotypes. Thus, a lady and a gentleman differ in almost everything, from fashion and lifestyle preference to their hobbies and interests. In this essay, we will particularly look into the communication differences that result in the difficulty for men and women to talk to each other.
According to Henriques, one of the main contributing factors is how men and women’s conscious experiences frame their world. Men, for example, have an “instrumental” consciousness. Thus, they prioritize the need to provide solutions to the problems that arise, instead of providing emotional support. Conversations, for men, implies that something is wrong and that something must be done to address such problems.
On the opposite end, women are emotional. Conversations, for them, are tools for which they can vent out their negative emotions. Contrary to men, women regard having conversations not as a means to an end, but rather, as an end itself. When women wanted to talk to someone, it is not because they need help in solving their problems, but rather, they need someone to support them emotionally. This is consistent with the fact that their consciousness is more “relationally oriented,” which means that it is natural for women to respond to the needs of others and to show emotional support.
The real conflict, however, is not only a product of the differences between men and women per se, but rather, it is also from the assumption that all people, regardless of gender, are experiencing the world the same as other people do. As stated by Gilligan, “men and women may speak different languages that they assume are the same… creating misunderstandings which impede communication and limit the potential for cooperation” (173).
Gilligan, Carol. In A Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Harvard University Press, 1982, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275714106_In_A_Different _Voice_Psychological_Theory_and_Women’s_Development.
Gilligan, Carol. In A Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Harvard University Press, 1982.
Henriques, G. “Why Communication Between Men and Women Sometimes Fails.” Psychology Today, 20 Oct. 2016, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/theory-knowledge/ 201610/why-communication-between-men-and-women-sometimes-fails.
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