Gender & Communication an Observation Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

At the end of the party he took a card out of his wallet and gave it to me. He said, "Here, I'll give you my phone number. If you'd like to call me up, I'd love to hear from you." called him two days later and we made a date. Turned out he didn't drive so I had to pick him up. Since I had called him and I was going to be the driver, I bought a small bouquet of flowers and brought them to him. It was fun to reverse roles. Philip was the only man I ever met who didn't have a driver's license. He said he didn't want or need to drive. He liked taking buses and having his friends drive him places.

Dinner was a success. He paid for everything in the traditional manner. Philip told me he was a feminist. He had never been married.

He was almost 10 years younger than me, but I thought, I don't have to be limited by outdated ideas about the man being older. The first time we made love, afterwards he asked, "Could you tell that I wasn't very experienced?" Out of concern for his male ego, I said no, but it wasn't true. This was typical feminine style to be concerned about the other's feelings and try to help the man save face. I had quickly discovered that he was a virgin when he didn't know how to proceed. It seemed rather touching at the time. And he did learn quickly how to make me happy -- he was a good lover.

One weekend, Philip thought it would be nice if I'd come to his apartment and visit. His apartment overlooked the park -- an old building with big rooms, high ceilings, oak floors, and lots of windows. He even had a fire place. But it was incredibly dirty. The bathroom was nasty. The kitchen was a horror with overflowing garbage, lots of dirty dishes, and greasy pans. The bedroom reeked with dirty clothes, rank sheets, and underwear on the floor. Philip said he wasn't into cleaning -- he hired someone (a woman, of course) to come in every few weeks and clean it up and do the laundry.

He said, "I can afford to hire help. So why should I clean?" I said, "What about me?

I can't afford to hire somebody." He said, "That's different. You're a woman. You're used to it." was looking for a mate, someone to help me raise children. This incident raised serious doubts about the "help" part. If I married him, I'd probably be taking on a lot of extra work because he didn't think he should have to do housework. When Philip took me to meet his mother, we had barely been introduced when he said to her, "We're hungry, Ma. Make us some breakfast, would you?" like she was a servant or something.

And she did immediately go to work on a meal. While she was cooking, Philip got out his OZ books to show me. Later that day we took a trip up north. I drove nearly 100 miles out of the way because Philip, who was supposed to be navigator, had misread the map. I was furious. Men are supposed to be competent map readers.

The final incident occurred in February when Philip got the flu. He went to his mother's to stay so she could take care of him. I went over to see him -- he was on the couch in his pajamas, a tray beside his bed. His mother said to me, "If you were me, would you take him to the doctor? He doesn't seem to be getting better." I said, "I'd wait a day or two more. It takes about a week to get over the flu, doesn't it?" She said, "The thing is, I'll have to take time off work to drive him there, and I'll lose my pay." Philip spoke up at that point and said, "Well, I'm worth it," in a baby voice. I didn't tell him then because he was sick, but I knew our relationship was over. I owed him some money, so I wrote a check right then and gave it to him.

A week later when I broke it off with him, he said, "I thought that check had bad vibrations."

Philip was a heterosexual male with a feminine orientation -- but not completely. His communication habits were egalitarian. He liked to sit and talk and was a supportive listener. He didn't exhibit competitiveness or a need to dominate, and since he didn't know how to drive a car, he didn't feel the need to exhibit self-sufficiency or autonomy. Perhaps during his socialization as a child, his mother rewarded his interpersonal and social skills and punished him for straying too far from home. He was not adventurous and didn't want space. His idea of "doing something together" was to each read a book and share at intervals what we were reading. He apparently didn't think it unmanly to need others, as he showed by going home to his mother when he got the flu.

On the other hand, his ideas about cleaning, laundry, cooking and sharing responsibility for the household were more traditionally male -- except he didn't take out the garbage, either, or cut the grass, wash the car, or fix the washing machine -- jobs men are usually willing to do because they fit with a masculine orientation.

It's funny, but during the entire time I was going with him, I had this internal dialogue going on with my sister. She is older than I and very influential. In my mind I would describe him and his behavior to her. I had always thought of a man as someone who brought home groceries and made the children behave, someone who would drive me places and pick me up from work, someone who would go rent a roto-rooter when the plumbing backed up in the basement and find another male to help him clear the pipes. Philip was much more relationally oriented rather than action-oriented or "instrumental." On one hand, it was refreshing to be around an affectionate male willing to share his feelings, who liked to sit around and talk, who wasn't always lording it over me or giving me advice, but he didn't seem to have the corresponding feminine sense of responsibility for the well-being of others. He also didn't have the masculine penchant for doing things that help a woman. I put my own windshield wipers on the car. I raked my own yard. When Philip responded like a dependant child to his mother's concern about losing her pay, ("I'm worth it") I knew I wanted a more masculine man than he was ever going to be. I wanted a man who knew how to do "man" things, somebody who could fix the car and tell the children, "Behave, now," and "Help your mother."

Gender and Media Communication

Judging Amy is a program that features a main character Amy in a non-traditional job as a Judge. However, her position as Judge is about the only thing that is non-traditional. In all other ways, Amy is the image of the ideal traditional woman. Amy is beautiful, young, and compassionate. She has a boyfriend whom she pleases and is sexually desirable. Her non-traditional job as a Judge is tempered by being a juvenile judge. Thus, she works with children, a traditional arena for women.

Amy can be very assertive when it comes to defending children. In one scene I watched she was being interviewed on a television news talk show. She debated a corrupt politician who was running for office on the issue of trying children as adults for their crimes. The male politician was pictured as exploiting the issue in order to make a name for himself and get elected. He didn't care about children at all. Amy talks about her knowledge of children as human beings whom she relates to every day eye-to-eye. She tells off the politician and calls him a "self-seeking demagogue."

The next scene is for contrast in this character who combines traditional and non-traditional images of gender. Amy behaved in a masculine fashion in the preceding scene, so now she has to be portrayed as a "real woman," that is, feminine and desirable. In this scene she is in bed with her boyfriend. They are sitting up side by side and Amy is reading the newspaper. The boyfriend is expressing his concerns about depending on her for support (because he is a writer who hasn't quite "made it" yet). He is a "real man" in the sense that he wants to be a success, and his concerns about the fact that he hasn't made it yet while she's working "her butt off" are masculine concerns. Depending on a woman for support is not part of the masculine orientation. Amy…

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