Deborah Tannen’s “Sex, Lies, and Conversation” is a brief look at how men and women communicate with one another and the cross-culture differences between their individual styles and needs for conversation. Women often say that men do not listen or do not want to talk. Tannen gives reasons why women tend to believe that men are not listening, and shows that just because men have a different approach to communicating does not mean they are not listening to what women are saying. She uses several different examples to back up her statements including early childhood differences in communication between girls and boys, the body language men use and how women tend to interpret it, and how women tend to receive information while communicating. Men and women have very different expectations when it comes to communicating with one another.
The way women converse varies greatly from the way men tend to converse. Even young girls and boys have very different ways of communicating with one another. Young children tend to play with other children of the same gender, and the boys and girls tend to have completely different social interactions with one another. Tannen states that “these systematic differences in childhood socialization make talk between women and men like cross-cultural communication, heir to all the attraction and pitfalls of that enticing but difficult enterprise (51).” We see in women and in young girls, talk creates intimacy and intimacy creates friendships, but men and boys tend to bond more on doing things with one another rather than talking to each other. Even the stance men take when talking varies from a woman’s.
Women tend to think men are not listening to them based on the position men take when carrying on a conversation. Most women, when talking, tend to look one another in the eye. Men on the other hand tend to look around the room, occasionally catching a glance at the person they are conversing with. Women also tend to...
Cited: Tannen, Deborah. “Sex, Lies, and Conversation.” The Norton Mix.
Ed. Sieg, Judy. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.
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