Monday, June 18, 2012

Men talk more: more than a guy thing part 4

Men tend to talk more. And in doing so, they tend to silence women. Men tend to talk in certain ways. And in doing so, they tend to silence women.

“Studies of classroom behaviour suggest that men and women exhibit different manners in their speaking, and that (western European) men’s style is the valued pattern. Men are more likely to use: highly assertive speech, impersonal and abstract examples, and competitive or adversarial interchanges … This style and ethos are not only favored, but they tend to be perceived to be more intelligent and authoritative behaviors.” (Carol Hess, Caretakers of Our Common House: Women’s Development in Communities of Faith 106)

In contrast, women’s speech patterns tend to use a more tentative tone. Rather than seek adverserial assertion they are more likely to make encouraging or supportive comments, wanting to draw out the contributions of others.

What to do if you want more equal conversation, if you want to be part of an Acts 2 church, in which you hear “your daughters prophesy”?

  1. Listen more carefully for tentative talk and as you hear it, take care to publicly affirm it.
  2. Create ways for people to share not only through abstract ideas but also with personal storytelling.
  3. Be very aware of gender exclusive language. It might not silence you, but it could well be silencing others.
  4. Encourage collaborative explorations as opposed to individual or competitive interaction.

(This continues my reading around gender, leadership and faith development (here, here and here).)

Posted by steve at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)

1 Comment »

  1. great suggestions, thanks Steve! love to see the different approaches women bring to the task of leadership, to community life: may we be bold in celebrating difference for the health of the body.

    Comment by sarah — June 18, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

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