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Gendered Close Relationships

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					Gendered Close
Relationships

Chapter 9
Meaning of Personal
Relationships
 Personal relationships = partners
  depend on each other
 Regard each other as unique
  individuals who cannot be
  replaced
 Most of our relationships are
  social or professional
Models of Personal
Relationships
 Differences in masculine and
  feminine orientations to close
  relationships coincide with male
  and female approaches to
  relationships
 Researchers disagree about what
  the differences mean
The Male Deficit
Model
 Society views women as
  interpersonally sensitive
 Assume their ways of forming
  relationships the right way
 Claim men’s styles of building
  relationships is inadequate –
  male deficit model
    The Male Deficit
    Model
   Assumption of model is personal
    talk is hallmark of intimacy
    ◦ Women self-disclose more
    ◦ Women more intimate than men
    ◦ Led to judgments men deficient
       Men advised to overcome
        deficiencies
    The Male Deficit
    Model
 Male feminists thought men
  emotionally repressed
 Would be enriched by expressing
  feelings
 Researchers claimed men felt
  threatened by intimacy
 Men suffer from stunted emotional
  development
The Male Deficit
Model
 Much sentiment still holds men
  are deficient in ability to express
  emotion
 Researchers began to question
  this assumption
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Alternate paths model - gendered
  socialization root of differences in
  styles of relating
 Does not presume masculine
  people lack feelings
 Suggests socialization constrains
  men’s comfort in expressing
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Masculine people do express
  closeness, but not in same way
  feminine people do
 Both styles equally valid
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Alternative paths model
  challenges research used to
  support male deficit model
 Feminine ruler misrepresents
  masculine modes of caring
The Alternate Paths
Model

             Men develop
              closeness in
              the doing
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Engaging in activities is an
  alternate way to express intimacy
 Talking about problems less
  effective than diversionary
  activities
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Women engage in emotional and
  instrumental communication
 Men engage in less explicit
  emotional communication, but do
  express emotions in a range of
  ways
 Many activities males engage in
  enhance emotional closeness
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Gender of person needing support
  may be as important as sex of
  person offering support
 Women engage in more
  comforting messages
 Both sexes more sensitive when
  comforting woman than men
The Alternate Paths
Model
 Masculine people find intimate talk
  doesn’t make them feel close
 Feminine people find instrumental
  demonstrations of commitment
  unsatisfying
 Healthy relationships require us to
  be bilingual
Gendered Styles of
Friendship
 Both sexes value friends and invest
  in them
 Both sexes engage in instrumental
  and expressive modes of building
  closeness
 Differences in how men and
  women interact with friends
Gendered Styles of
Friendship
 Women engage each other face
  to face
 Men interact side by side
  ◦ Men engage in activities that do
    not involve facing each other
Gendered Styles of
Friendship
   Crux of friendship:
    ◦ Men – doing things together
    ◦ Women – talking together
Feminine Friendships
 Women - talk primary way to
  build and enrich friendships
 Share feelings and problems to
  know and be known
 Talk about daily lives
Feminine Friendships

 Women friends want to know
  each other in depth
 They are each other’s confidantes
Feminine Friendships
 Communication - expressive and
  supportive
 More permeable ego boundaries
  cultivate skill in empathizing
Feminine Friendships
   Difficult to deal with feelings of
    envy and competitiveness toward
    friends
    ◦ Wrong to have such feelings
Feminine Friendships
 Difficult to override expectations
  of being available and caring
 Feel guilty if not able to nurture
  others
Feminine Friendships
 Women talk explicitly about
  relationship
 Comfortable stating affection
 Allows women to monitor
  friendship
Feminine Friendships

   Women tend to not restrict self
    disclosure to specific areas
    ◦ Women know each other in
      complex ways
Masculine
Friendships
 Activities center of friendships
 Friendships revolve around shared
  activities, particularly sports
 Cultivates camaraderie
Masculine
Friendships
 Friendships have instrumental
  focus
 Like to do things for people they
  care about
 Involve instrumental reciprocity
Masculine
Friendships
 Men less emotionally disclosive
  with other men than with women
 Help by suggesting diversionary
  activities to take mind off troubles
Masculine
Friendships
 Men’s friendships less likely to
  last if one moves away
 Women can sustain friendship
  through phone calls, etc.
Masculine
Friendships
   Men’s friendships involve covert
    intimacy
    ◦ Signal affection by teasing,
      competition, playful punches
Masculine
Friendships
   Women and men consider overt
    expressions of affection important
    ◦ Men restrict to opposite sex
    ◦ Women always employ
Masculine
Friendships
 Friendships restricted in scope
 Different friends for various
  interests
 May not share many dimensions
  of their lives with friends
Friendships between
Women & Men
 Friendships between the sexes
  pose challenges and offer
  opportunities for growth
 Difficult not to see each other in
  sexual terms
Friendships between
Women & Men
 Tension arises from sex-
  segregated socialization in
  childhood
 Women – benefit of friendships
  with men is less emotionally
  intense companionship
 Men – benefit of friendships is
  access to emotional support
Friendships between
Women & Men
 Men and women receive more
  emotional support with women
  than with men
 Men reluctant to be emotionally
  supportive of men – inconsistent
  with views of gender
Friendships between
Women & Men
 Men talk more in cross-sex
  friendships
 Both sexes report friendships
  with women more satisfying
 Both sexes seek women friends in
  times of stress
Gendered Romantic
Relationships
   Cultural script for romance:
    ◦ Feminine women/masculine men
      desirable
    ◦ Men should initiate activities
    ◦ Women should facilitate
      conversation
    ◦ Men should excel in status and
      money
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Personal ads written by men place
  priority on feminine physical
  qualities
 Women’s ads emphasize status
  and success
 Views of desirable partners reflect
  cultural gender expectations
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Conventional dating script calls
  for men to take the initiative
 Androgynous individuals behave
  in more flexible ways
 Less role playing between gay
  men and between lesbian women
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Men fall in love faster and harder
 More active, impulsive,
  sexualized, game playing
 Women more pragmatic,
  friendship focused
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Members of both sexes enjoy
  casual sex
 Women perceive sexual behavior
  as linked to emotional
  involvement
 Difference evident in gay and
  lesbian relationships as well
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Heterosexual men more interested
  in sex whether or not attracted to
  a woman
 Lesbians date for a while before
  becoming sexual
 Gay men more likely to have sex
  early in relationship
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Women more likely to focus on
  relationship dynamics
 Lesbians take mutual
  responsibility for nurturing
 Gays less likely to focus on
  nurturing
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Heterosexual relationships reflect
  traditional gender roles
 Men perceived as head of family
 Women assume responsibility for
  domestic labor and child care
 African American relationships
  more egalitarian
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Gay and lesbian relationships do
  not follow roles typical of
  heterosexual couples
 Resemble best-friend
  relationships with added
  dimension of sexuality
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Lesbian relationships - more
  monogamous
 High in emotionality
 Most equality
Developing Romantic
Intimacy
 Gays and lesbians follow dating
  script similar to heterosexuals
 Gay men more likely than lesbians
  to associate sex with first date
 Lesbian women more likely to
  associate emotional sharing with
  first date
Gendered Modes of
Expressing Affection
 Masculine mode of expressing
  affection is instrumental and
  activity focused
 Feminine mode is emotionally
  expressive and talk focused
Gendered Modes of
Expressing Affection
 Women – ongoing conversation
  about feelings and activities
  primary way to enrich
  relationships
 Masculine speech communities –
  primary reasons to talk is solving
  problems and achieving goals
Gendered Modes of
Expressing Affection
 Unless there is a problem, men
  find talking about relationship
  unnecessary
 Women feel ongoing talk keeps
  problems from developing
Gendered Modes of
Expressing Affection
 Feminine or androgynous ways of
  expressing care valued by both
  sexes
 Also count on traditionally
  masculine modes of caring
Gendered Modes of
Expressing Affection
 Gay men engage in more
  emotional talk than straight men
  but less than women
 Lesbians build most expressive
  communication climate
  ◦ More satisfaction with
    relationships
Autonomy &
Connection
 Autonomy and connection - two
  basic human needs
 Gender affects how much of these
  we seek and find comfortable
 Masculine individuals want greater
  autonomy and less connection
Autonomy &
Connection
 Desire for different degrees
  generates friction in relationships
 Demand-withdraw pattern
  ◦ The more one demands talk, the
    more the other withdraws
Autonomy &
Connection
   Intensity of withdrawal is greater
    when woman requests change in
    man than when man requests
    change in woman
Autonomy &
Connection
 Masculine - more comfortable
  with distance
 Feminine - more comfortable with
  close connections
 Behaviors can be misinterpreted
Responsibility for
Relational Health
 Lesbian couples share
  responsibility for relationship
 Heterosexual couples – assume
  woman has primary responsibility
  for relationship
Responsibility for
Relational Health
 Difficult for one person to meet
  responsibility
 May be seen as a nag
 Highest levels of satisfaction when
  both responsible for the
  relationship
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Historically, person who makes
  most money has the most power
  in heterosexual relationships
 Men and women still believe man
  should be primary breadwinner
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Problems fostered by men having
  more power not prominent in
  lesbian relationships
 Gay partners may compete for
  status and dominance
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Belief of man as breadwinner
  does not match reality
 Dyson - Black men may feel
  threatened by successful black
  women
Gendered Power
Dynamics
   People who adhere to traditional
    views likely to experience
    decrease in self-esteem and
    marital satisfaction
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Men whose fathers were involved
  at home see homemaking as
  compatible with masculinity
 Women and men who had
  mothers who were in workplace
  see career success as consistent
  with femininity
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Belief men have more power
  reflected in distribution of labor in
  home
 Majority of families have two
  wage earners, housework and
  care of children done primarily by
  women
Gendered Power
Dynamics
   Hochschild – second shift
    ◦ Wives employed outside home
      have second shift job in home
    ◦ Read an excerpt from this book
      at
       http://peregrin.jmu.edu/~brys
        onbp/337/2ndshift1.pdf
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 1960s and earlier – few men did
  much to care for home and
  children
 Mid-1970s-mid-1980s – men’s
  contributions increased and
  stagnated
  ◦ Second wave of feminism active
    in America
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Women do work that is more
  taxing and less gratifying
 Men’s contributions more sporadic
 Women’s tasks more repetitive
  and constrained by deadlines
 Women more likely to multi-task
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Mothers constantly on duty
 Fathers volunteer for irregular
  and fun child-care activities
Gendered Power
Dynamics
   Mothers have more responsibility
    for psychological responsibility
    ◦ Remembering, planning, making
      sure things get done
Gendered Power
Dynamics
   Consequences of second shift
    ◦ Women stressed, fatigued,
      susceptible to illness
    ◦ Similar stress found in single
      fathers
    ◦ Frustration, resentment, conflict
Gendered Power
Dynamics
   Masculine individuals use more
    unilateral strategies to engage in
    and avoid conflicts
    ◦ Issue ultimatums, refuse to
      listen, assert partner blowing
      things out of proportion
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Feminine individuals defer or
  compromise
  ◦ Employ indirect strategies
 Tension less pronounced in
  lesbian relationships
 Power struggles common for gay
  partners
Gendered Power
Dynamics
 Gendered power dynamics
  underlie violence and abuse
 Violence cuts across race, ethnic
  and class lines
 Violence inflicted primarily by
  men
 High degree of violence in dating
  relationships

				
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