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Effective Communication Between Men And Women

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Effective Communication between Men and Women

Many men and women find it quite difficult to understand exactly what their mates want. With this new boom of self-help books this is no longer a problem. Whether it is bad communication or dealing with petty arguments, there is a book out there for you and your partner. Although not all of the author's agree and there are many critics of these works, they do offer helpful insight into the world of communication in relationships between men and women.

For women understanding their husband or boyfriend can be a real hassle. In these cases it may seem as though men and women are from different planets, the main point to John Gray's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. According to Gray, men and women communicate completely differently almost speaking two languages. The male or "Martian" language is used most as " a general warning that he is either in his cave or on his way to the cave." This "cave" is a general term that Gray attributes to the quiet retreat men take in order to sort out their feelings or deal with a problem. When in their cave men want to be left alone in quiet solitude and may respond to women's inquiries about their problem with, "I'm okay" or "it is okay" (22). This is a frustrating situation for a concerned woman but according to Gray not worrying for a Martian will help him to exit the cave quicker and give him one less thing to worry about (25).

Women react quite differently when faced with problems or when communicating with their mate. According to John Gray, "to fully express feelings women assume poetic license and use various superlative, metaphors, and generalizations." Gray also explores how when taken literally by a Martian that this poetic Venusian talk can be easily misunderstood (17). It is these instances where men and women miss the exact meaning of each other's words, and for this reason Gray includes a Venusian/Martian dictionary in his book. This could be quite helpful in order to sort out certain misunderstandings in a relationship.

Similar to John Gray is Deborah Tannen, a more academically qualified author who conveys comparable ideals in her work "Put Down the Paper and Talk to me." Tannen's book revolves around the idea of "rapport-talk" and "report-talk" as well as "cross-cultural" communication between men and women. The language of women is mostly rapport talk, a language used to establish emotional relationships and making connections in a private setting. According to Tannen this is because from childhood women "feel their closest connections at home, or in settings where they feel at other words, during private speaking" (Tannen 10).

For men speaking is used for a different reason, "to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status in a hierarchical social order." This report talk is used to show the man's skill or knowledge as well as to become the center of attention in social situations. Deborah Tannen says this is so because from their youth on men use talking as a way to get attention. Also because of these differences it may seem to a man that their female companion verbalizes more, when in actuality during a study at a public lecture, it showed that men actually talked at least twice as long as their female co-workers (Tannen 10).

When delving into the world of self-help one must take into consideration all ideas for the topic. By looking at everyone's views one can see every side of the argument and decide for themselves what will work best for them. There are critics for everything and these opponents often times bring up interesting counterpoints. Katha Pollit and Senta Troemel-Ploetz, two critics of Tannen and Gray offer interesting alternatives to the ideals of "report" and "rapport talk" as well as the Martian/Venusian metaphors. Pollit explores the role of difference and equality feminism in communication between men and women in her essay "Are Women Morally Superior to Men?" criticizing Tannen and others like her whom fail to acknowledge equality feminism (Pollit 62).

Difference feminism is based around the fact that women are more "relational" while men are more "autonomous." Women are said to be more emotionally strong and relationship oriented while these autonomous men are self serving, independent and strong (Pollit 63). Also difference feminism conveys the idea that it is okay for there to be a difference among the sexes. Pollit argues against this mindset and attacks Deborah Tannen for supporting it. Pollit says that women and men do not have different cultural backgrounds and that Tannen needs to take into consideration the economic and social ramifications when dealing with this. She also attacks Tannen's laying the blame of male rudeness and sexism on



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