Friday, July 29, 2005

Female vs Male Conversations

Female vs. Male Conversations is the topic of the book Talking 9 to 5, by Deborah Tannen, Ph.D.

She examines how women and men typically differ, in most cases most of the time, in how they speak.

My biggest question about blogging is how women differ from men, in writing style, blog design, blog content, blogrolls, ad placement, post topics, number and quality of reader comments, use of RSS feeds, idiosyncratic nomenclature (as in "Say It!", "Step Up to the Mike", or "Blabber into Megaphone" for the more conventional "Post a Comment"), and other aspects.

How is a female blog unlike a male blog?

Do women engage in blogocombat, online debate, digital warfare as much, and as aggressively as men?

Do lady bloggers circulate in cliques, linking to each other (clinking), posting about each other, commenting on each other's blogs, and banding together to swarm an offensive male or even another female who is targeted as anomaly, aberration, abnormality?

Let's examine all these issues...slowly, ponderously, reflectively.

I shut up now and let a lady socio-linguist speak.

Talking from 9 to 5 (1994, William Morrow)
by Deborah Tannen, Ph.D.


Conversational rituals common among women involve each saving face for the other....I save your face and you save mine.

Put another way, many of the conversational rituals common among women are designed to make others feel comfortable, and this often involves the speaker taking a one-down role herself...this is usually a ritual the other person is exepected to match. (p. 146)


Most girls' groups penalize a girl who stands out or calls attention to herself in an obvious way. (p. 148)


In fact, the very act of standing up in front of a group talking about ideas is something that was unthinkable for women not so long ago. (p. 149)


Once a woman (or man) does make public presentations, she (or he) is open to challenge or even attack. Many women have been told they cave in too quickly rather than stand their ground. (p. 149)


I once noticed the different public-speaking styles of two presenters at a meeting--a man and a woman.

Both were excellent speakers, but he filled the room with his expansive presence, whereas she brought the room in close.

He told stories as if he were in church preaching to a crowd; she told them as if she were sitting in her living room with friends....She did not tell jokes, as he did, but she was humorous.

Whereas he remained straight-faced after saying something funny, she laughed along with her audience. (p. 150)


Okay. Now--what's your opinion about the difference between female and male conversations?

What do men always seem to talk about in closed male circles? On the golf course, during hunting and fishing trips, at ball games, on the job in the construction crew, in cop cars chasing criminals, in their dens and gentleman night clubs?

What do women seem to talk about when they get together?

Can you tell you're in a female blog without even knowing the name, and gender, of the blogger? Are there tell-tale signs that say "lady blogger"?

I ask every blogger and blogologist these questions, and have not received much in the way of solid information or anecdotal evidence.

So, what do you think about all this?

Post a comment or email me. Thanks.



Chris Ritke said...

Well, I can't say anything smart about this right now, but I'll be at Blogher tomorrow and I guess I'll see a lot of presentations by women... it'll be really interesting to see what they'll be talking about. Maybe I'll be able to report on some of my observations!

carrie said...

women definitely post more pictures of themselves.... on the whole

steven edward streight said...

Chris: looking forward to your report.

Carrie: good point.