Well I am resurfacing. I have to confess that Christmas has bitten me, chewed me up and swallowed me whole! I have been engrossed doing the whole preparation lark like putting up the decorations, buying presents, wrapping them and generally thinking what needs to be done. Being a woman and all, I like this and feel I have to do this whole process. Whereas, my boyfriend says he is not involved with anything christmas present related until the week before. He is lucky I buy all our family presents.
I have always been interested in the fascinating differences between the genders, as you can probably tell by previous posts. At university, I did my dissertation on how men and women communicate. I recorded conversations and looked in particular at how women are cooperative in conversation and men and competitive as these are two stereotypes often applied to the genders. This all came screaming back to me today as I recorded some conversations on my phone for some spoken language studies we are doing at school. I had to transcribe them too. Luckily these were short ones but back in the Uni days it could take a good ten minutes to transcribe 10 seconds of speech! I spent many an hour until 1am transcribing all women, all men and mixed gender conversations that I had got from recording my course and house mates.
It was really interesting stuff and I discovered that men tend to swear more. Especially in mixed gender groups. I think I linked this to the fact they could be trying to ‘show off’ in front of the opposite sex. The same went for insults and jokes. Men definitely tell more jokes and to take my feminist hat off a minute, I think men tell jokes better. Sorry to all the female comedians out there! But men are good at being straight to the point and talking little, meaning a good gag with a punch line is usually delivered well. Women are good at telling funny stories because they tend to use more hedges and fillers and ‘pad’ out their speech. Meaning a ‘joke’ becomes a bit long winded!
Naturally, this all comes from the stereotype that women talk more. My title above is actually from a poem called Men Talk that I used to begin my dissertation. It says how women have all these different ways of communicating: chattering, waffling, nattering, wittering, tittling, rabbiting etc. What do men do? They talk. They do it to communicate for a purpose a lot of the time, whereas women like the process and use it as a past time. I researched this as the time and found it can be said to stem from the cave man days. Men used few, key commands to hunt. Women stayed at home and chatted to each other, supported each other and comforted each other. To some extend, don’t you think these stereotypes still exist today? When I recorded the conversations earlier, I did one with me, my mum and dad and one with me, my sister and her boyfriend. The male/female ratios were in favour of women yes, but boy did they dominate the conversation! Each male had one utterance and that was interrupted by a female each time! So is it just that the men can’t get a word in or do they not want to?
Women use 20,000 words a day on average, compared to a man’s 7000. Are they being sparing and choosing key words?! Apparently, as well, I looked at an article for my dissertation and it said than when a woman communicates, pleasure centres in the brain are activated. Major levels of dopamine and oxytocin are released – which apparently is the fastest neurological reward you can get apart from an orgasm. Explains those 20,000 words doesn’t it?
Right, I’m off for a chat – even if it is with myself!