Aug 02 2008

Gender-Based Differences in Speech

Published by at 11:05 am under Dialogue,Writing Articles

I found these two articles on writing male speech and female speech quite useful.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Gender-Based Differences in Speech”

  1. daveon 02 Aug 2008 at 11:56 am

    Eh, this kind of stuff just makes your characters into caricatures of men or women. The lists are pretty offensive if you feel like looking into it.

    “The male verbal strategy is to divulge as few personal details as possible, while assiduously avoiding all expressions of emotion that could be interpreted as weakness.” … have you never met an emo kid? Or watched the Real World?

    “Males tend to interact in more crude ways also. While in a group situation narratives such as jokes and stories are highly valued, especially when they are well performed for an audience.” Oh, men like stories, eh? Really.

    “Men tend to talk more than women in public situations.” What the hell are public situations?

    This website as a whole subscribes way too much to biological determinism. The post from today is called “Gender Differences: Female Thinking” and basically repeats the whole “women can’t read maps” rubbish that’s been appearing everywhere from Cosmo to Reader’s Digest for years. Most every socio-scientific study that uses rigorous methods show that there are much greater difference within each gender than there are BETWEEN genders. So yeah, there are loads of aggressive women and sensitive men, and if you rule them out or only show them in a negative light then you’re doing yourself and your story injustice.

  2. t3knomanseron 02 Aug 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Meh, I’m not really convinced that these “differences” really exist. I’ve always had a hard time telling men from women except by obvious biological variations. Maybe I’m just blind to the differences, but I’m okay with that in my writing.

  3. daveon 02 Aug 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Your example is problematic. In order for it to work you have to be assuming that the soldiers are men, otherwise it wouldn’t be a response to what I was saying.

    If I was writing soldiers, I’d obviously be more likely to make them aggressive to an extent, but the dominant trait is probably obedience, since disobedient soldiers are usually dead. But that wouldn’t, for instance, stop one of them forever going on about the pressure his girl puts on him to get married and how it just makes him feel trapped etc etc (your average tough/sensitive guy on the Real World), you know? The premise isn’t that you give men feminine traits and vice versa, but that both men and women already possess those traits so its silly and simply caricaturisation to not not allot them as they exist in reality. “Inverting gender stereotypes” just makes things more like real life.

    I mean, its not like the average female softball player couldn’t give the average male comic collector a fair fight.

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