1. Power in discourse is denoted through gestures, facial expressions, pitch, tone, phrases and interruptions. Studies indicate that the communicator that wants to establish control in a conversation will use these tactics to assert their power. The male gender is said typically uses these tactics to establish power during discourse. On the other hand the female gender is reportedly more concerned with being heard versus establishing dominance. Though both theories have merit I feel that “power” is relevant to the relationship and the cultural influences of genders communicating.
In a professional relationship where the female is the boss, her authority/power will be conveyed during discourse to her male subordinates. Simple phrases such as “I have decided” and “Please email me your ideas for approval”, will be used to establish who is in command. Culture also comes in play when discussing power in discourse between male and female genders. In some Asian cultures the female gender is required to be submissive during discourse by keeping their pitch low, their tone even, using non authoritative phases and waiting for the opportunity to speak.
Whereas in the Latin culture the female gender is continually establishing her dominance during cross gender discourse to ensure equal footing with her male counterpart. (As least this is what I have witnessed growing up in a Latino household. ) 2. Discourse between the male and female gender has change immensely since 1910. In 1910 it was the norm for the female gender to be submissive during discourse with the male gender. Socially a woman was looked upon unfavorably upon if they spoke about “male” topics.
The female gender at the time was meant to be dainty and only be knowledgably about needle point, finding a husband and some poetry. In the 1950s during World War II, women started working as blue collar laborers in manufacturing factories in order to support the war effort. More women decided to finish high school and attend college which expanded their knowledge. This new knowledge enabled them to participate more actively in discourse with the male gender. Though it wasn’t till after the feminist movement in the 1970’s that the female gender started to communicate with more “power”.
Just as the style of the female gender has changed when communicating with the male gender so has content. It wasn’t till recent years that men and women have been able to openly discuss the topic of sex. In the past discussing sex was a conversation that was had with your same gender or your doctor. Men feared sexual harassment suits and women feared that they would send out the wrong message. The method of how we communicate between the genders has also changed in the last 100 years. The advent of communication technologies has made emails, texting, tweeting and social networking the norm.
It is no longer necessary to sit down face to face to communicate with one another. This is a benefit and disadvantage to the advancement of the discourse between genders. Mainly because though the women and men are discussing more things than they did 100 years, they are engaging less in verbal communication. The ways things are said are as equally as important to the discourse as are the words used. In closing though things have changed in the last 100 years, there are still more changes to be made in the way men and women communicate.