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Gender & e-communication styles

  1. May 6, 2006 #1

    Math Is Hard

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    Lisa!'s "confession" thread got me thinking about an exercise we did once in a cultural anthropology class. We listed all the traits that we associated with either the male or female gender. I was interested in how this applies to electronic communication, particularly in forum posts, after reading Igor S's post in the thread:
    What is it about a person's communication style specifically that reveals a person's gender? I am curious, because I too read certain nuances that influence me that an anonymous person is decidedly masculine or feminine in gender (and please note, I specifically said gender, not sex). I'll list three right away that seem to fall into the feminine category, and I am guilty of all of these: non-confrontational, self-deprecating/insecure when asking for (homework)help, and liberal use of emoticons. I recently read a post about a homework help thread where the helper had decided the poster was a "her" even though upon reviewing the post I saw nothing explicit to reveal this, other than possibly 1 of the 3 traits I listed above.

    So what do you think? Bear in mind that I am only looking at this as a cultural perception, and I am simply curious about what it is that scores either M or F in a person's gender perception tally.
     
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  3. May 7, 2006 #2
    One mix up I've had - I thought yomamma was a chick:tongue2: I only realized he wasn't when I read the new sig.

    I noticed in my anthro classes that while women vary their communication styles (assertive, cautious, inquisitive), the men always express their ideas assertively, no matter how right or wrong they are or how familiar they are with a topic. So it seems guys don't want to appear weak (which being tenative, unsure, or questioning is seen as); they also ask the least amount of questions, again I assume because of this. So, culturally, we associate being assertive as masculine, and thus we make men assertive so that they are masculine (and yes, biology does have something to do with it, but there are cultures where being assertive is not masculine).

    Or maybe they are concerned with being heard and aren't as curious:confused:

    Anyhow, being assertive, no matter what, is seen as masculine. I think appearing to be in control goes along with this, too.

    Feminine qualities are harder to deduce because they constantly change. I noticed in my anthro studies that the idealized female changes throughout history, and what she is reflects what men of the age want her to be - pure virgin representing the unattainable and also higher status/class, labor partners in marriage, virtuous womanhood appearing after the Civil War as primarily the stay at home mother, then the educated-mother who needed to be trained to be a good mother, later the companion-wife whose primary role was being a romantic and sexual partner for her husband, and more recently the "woman as a person" female. One constant plays against all of these - the woman as a slut whose fertility is degraded as lust and immorality. This was at odds with woman as a mother (obviously a problem!) and is now at odds with woman as an autonomous being.
    From these we might say femininity encompasses
    - purity
    - nobility and beauty
    - obedience
    - virtues of sacrfice
    - unselfishness
    - nurturing
    - caretaking
    - sexual attractiveness
    - lascivious
    - lewd
    - cheap
    - weak
    - corrupt
     
  4. May 7, 2006 #3
    Found this site which claims their gender genie can deduce whether or not a block of text was written by a female or male (or at least their gender). It's down right now, but was due back by March. Anyhow, keep it bookmarked if you're interested. http://www.bookblog.net/gender/genie.html

    Also, a while back I posted the gender test, but it required you to sign up for an account. I created an account for anyone who wants to use it -
    http://community.sparknotes.com/gender/page2.repl
    email = pfsparktest@yahoo.com
    password = 1gender
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2006
  5. May 7, 2006 #4

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    I certainly will - thanks! I am curious to see how this works.
    Interesting choices of questions on that one. I gave it a try and the results were that the test was 8% certain I was male. :eek:

    The attributes you listed for femininity were very close to the choices our class came up with. And I agree that assertiveness has a very strong connection to masculinity. I was just thinking how much more offensive it sounds to call someone a "pushy broad" as "opposed to a "pushy dude". (Sorry, I can' think of a male equivalent of "broad".)

    Also, as far as style, I was thinking that "feminine" written communication is often longer in content, more personal in tone, and in general, better in overall grammar and spelling.

    p.s. you mean Yomamma's not a chick? :rofl:
     
  6. May 7, 2006 #5
    haha, no doubt:biggrin: I actually tend to IM in a more "masculine" way, while I post in a more "feminine" way. I've apologized for long posts before:blushing: That's another thing I heard on an NPR show - women tend to explain their thinking (all of it!) while men tend to shoot out single ideas at a time until they evenutally hit the mark:wink:

    And that spark test has labeled me female and male, more often male tho.
    Yomamma, care to try?:rofl:
     
  7. May 7, 2006 #6
    PS, what is it about squares and circles that we associate with maleness or femaleness? Maybe that's why the golden . ratio is universally pleasing. One thing that's been flipped around is color - pink used to be assigned to baby boys (because it's a form of red, it was associated with male passion and activity) and blue was assigned to baby girls (calm, cool color).
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2006
  8. May 7, 2006 #7
    Hahah... twenty percent sure I'm a guy... yeah, that's kind of sad.
     
  9. May 7, 2006 #8

    loseyourname

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    They're 28% certain I'm male. 5% are more manly than me, 2% just like me, 92% are more feminine, and I suppose the remaining 1% of all people just don't exist.
     
  10. May 7, 2006 #9
    They are 24% sure I'm male. 8% more male than you — 3% like you — 89% more female than you. I wavered between some of the questions so I retook it and in that version I'm 4% male. 8% more male than you — 3% like you — 89% more female than you.
     
  11. May 8, 2006 #10

    NateTG

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    ...
    Think of your middle name. Does it end in a vowel?
    ...
    I have no middle name.
     
  12. May 8, 2006 #11
    I assume the gender of the person posting or chatting to be the same gender as mine unless there are hard or definitive indications otherwise, i will use gender specific language as little as possible unless i know otherwise.

    This way i find myself in embarassing situaitions some, but usually less so than if i had assumed the opposite to be true. The loss (embaressment value) is less but the risk increased slightly as opposed to a more highly embaressing flirtatious conversation with somone of the same gender.

    I just adapted this style i think after falling into some tricky situations/conversations, once bitten twice shy. :blushing:

    I generally use emotes heavily when there is some animosity or tension brewing between posts that is largley due to a misinterpretation of the intent behind the topic or post or to clarify or emphasise a particular context.
     
  13. May 9, 2006 #12
    that test was 6% certain i'm a man... which by the way i'm not. i also thought it was funny how it said "you are a man, whether you know it or not." hah. i'm a girl, and i thought i answered pretty femininely, but i guess not. at least MIH is more manly than me. if they think a barbie is a man, then i don't feel so bad about being a man either. at least i'm probably a well groomed man, i bet i'm also gay.
     
  14. May 9, 2006 #13

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    This is very interesting to me. What is gender specific language? Can you give any examples? I promise to not be judgemental in any way - I am just curious.
    I had a friendship for a long time with a person online and I never knew the person's sex until once he mentioned that he was color-blind, and then I deduced that it was very unlikely he was female. (I was right, it turned out. :approve: )
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2006
  15. May 9, 2006 #14

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    ergo, your middle name does not end in a vowel? :biggrin:
     
  16. May 9, 2006 #15

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    I am positively burly compared to you! :rofl: Yet, Swerve is more he-man than us both! :smile:

    (kidding of course, Swerve, I've seen your gorgeous photos!)
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2006
  17. May 9, 2006 #16
    I was thinking about He/She etc and i think i understand that "He" is generally accepted as the correct method of addressing an unknown??
     
  18. May 9, 2006 #17

    Curious3141

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    52 % Male (it's right).
     
  19. May 9, 2006 #18

    NateTG

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    What is the sound of one hand clapping?
     
  20. May 9, 2006 #19

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    If you were chatting directly with someone, you would simply use "you" for the other person and "me" for yourself, the only time "he/she" would come into the picture is if you and another person were talking about a 3rd party.

    But are you saying that in addressing the 3rd party it is proper "netiquette" to refer to that person as "he" or "him" if you don't know the gender? This is something I haven't heard, but I am definitely not well-versed in e-manners. I have noticed that many of us skirt this issue altogether by using "they", a grammatical sin that I have committed on numerous occasions to avoid any gender goofs. :redface:

    ex.
    "That new member is such a pest. Always making corny jokes."
    "Maybe they just want to make friends."
    "Whatever. I just wish they'd find a new source for their jokes."
     
  21. May 9, 2006 #20

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    Come closer, dearie, and I will explain... :tongue2: :biggrin:
     
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