22. Saturday Afternoons

March 28, 2009

Today, I went shopping with two of my friends after a long night (last night) of staying up late and talking. Also today, my boyfriend went golfing with his roommate. He and I just got off the phone; we made plans to hang out later today.

In this, I can see two different parts of our text displayed. First, girls bonding through disclosure and boys bonding through activities. Second, in romantic relationships there is both “differentiating” and “bonding” (though, not as the text defines “bonding.” I guess just hanging out is more of a intensifying/integrating stage, according to how the text defines these stages).

But first, let’s address how different genders bond.

Last night, two of my friends and I stayed up late sitting around the kitchen table telling funny stories, and then later went shopping. Our interactions were based primarily on face-to-face interactions and involved free self-disclosure. These are strong qualities of how women befriend women (150-151). Shopping technically constitutes “action,” but it is more of a self-disclosing action, because we comment, praise, deny, and speculate about friends’ choices.

Today, my boyfriend and his roommate went golfing and out to lunch. Our text says men befriend men by way of shared experiences and activities, like golf (151), and is much more of a side-by-side interaction (152). Sitting down to lunch technically constitutes “disclosure.” Our text does not mention this, but I think men grow to disclose to their male friends that they trust a lot. My boyfriend and his roommate have been friends for a long time, so it doesn’t surprise me to think of them sitting at a restaurant table together.

The second part of this analysis comes in the romantic relationship between my boyfriend and myself.

While our relationship isn’t “in trouble,” we differentiate from time to time; we do things independent of each other regularly, which maintains that unique “you” and “me” identity (171). Later this evening, we’re going to hang out, be together, share, and play. I would technically call this “bonding,” but since we’re not entering into any legal declaration of our relationship, the behaviors we usually exhibit fall under the “intensifying” or “integrating” stage (170-171). The idea that we can differentiate and bond (intensify/integrate) in the same day relates to our in-class group discussions that concluded with a relationship being able to go through many stages at once, or even skip stages.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

I finished reading Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen before the movie premiered, and in light of Chapter 7 (romantic relationships), I’ve noticed that there are some boundaries (illustrated by our text) being broken in both the comic and the film.

Chapter 7 illustrates a ten-stage model for romantic relationships (pages 168-174), starting with initiating, experimenting, integrating, and bonding. Though never specifically stated, chapter 7 assumes that these steps happen roughly in sequence; some steps are skipped entirely by Laurie Juspeczyk and Dan Dreiberg.

Laurie and Dan first interact in the novel to meet for dinner after many years of not seeing each other (they had met briefly at a Crimebusters meeting several years before and are “old friends”). However, because it is the first time we see them together in the novel, and it is almost like they’ve met for the first time (first time in a long time), I think it’s safe to assume that this is the start of a relationship. This would be “initiating” and almost “experimenting” (pages 168-169).

When they meet, Laurie is romantically involved with Dr. Manhattan, but when she leaves Dr. Manhattan she shows up at Dan’s door. Dan, as a good friend, takes care of her by providing a place for her to stay and occupies her mind with things other than Dr. Manhattan. In the comic (and in the movie, a little) we know that Dan has romantic feelings for Laurie, supporting the text’s idea that men tend to fall in love first (pages 168 & 178).

Dan and Laurie don’t make a fusion into a “we” unit until the end of the novel, but, while watching TV one evening as friends, Laurie breaks chapter 7’s idea of women seldom initiating sex (pages 177-182). As friends watching TV, Dan takes off his glasses and Laurie exclaims, “SERIOUSLY! You look TERRIFIC without glasses!” (Watchmen ch 7 page 13) and then began to kiss him. Kissing lead to clothes being taken off and would have resulted in sex but Dan was middle aged and was unable to immediately perform. Later in the novel, they do have sex. However, they seemed to have skipped the Intensifying and Integrating stages of the ten-stage model, and Laurie seemed to have initiated the encounter.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

Moore, A., & Gibbons, D. (n.d.). Watchmen (22nd ed.). Canada: DC Comics. (Original work published

24. The King Herself

March 21, 2009

The feature article in April 2009’s National Geographic is The King Herself, the She-King of Egypt, featuring Hatshepsut’s radical and progressive 21 year reign during the golden age of Egypt’s 18th dynasty.

An online version of the article can be seen here.

Though this article is long, there are two things I want to address and focus on about Hatshepsut:

First, she began reign after her King-husband died and his only son (from another minor wife) was too young to rule. She assumed role as King instead of “queen regent” until the son was old enough to rule. She was a fantastic ruler: one of the most productive builders, had the political ability to play one person off of another without murder being involved, and worshiped with offerings like a man.

In her early reign she clearly depicts herself as a woman (in relief carvings and such), but as her reign progressed she is depicted with the unmistakable body of a woman but with the striped/cobra headdress of a King, sometimes standing with legs apart in the powerful man-pose. “She seemed to be looking for ways to synthesize the images of queen and king, as if a visual compromise might resolve the paradox of a female sovereign,” Chip Brown writes.

Second, when her stepson Thutmose III assumed power, he had all etchings, carvings, and depictions of her as “King” destroyed, vandalized, or removed, but did leave the ones depicting her as a woman. Some historians thought this was the “soap opera of a hotheaded son wreaking vengeance,” but some later historians thought it was largely political; by destroying images of a female man-King, there would be less controversy over the legitimacy of his reign (as well as his son’s).

Hatshepshut borderlines both female and male genderlects (pages75-77), particularly demonstrating male attributes when she attempted and exerted control over Egypt, established herself as King, and had raised herself from “queen regent” to King herself.

Hatshepshut also demonstrated two kinds of power (and perhaps more) during her reign as She-King. Her Legitimate Power(page 206) as the King’s wife enabled her to take the throne in the first place, but she then established for herself a completely autonomous rule. She also showed Referent Power (page 206), according to the article, by being able to negotiate among people to prevent murder (of herself and of others). In Egypt, during the 18th dynasty, a woman was traditionally unable to exert these kinds of power.

SOURCES: Brown, C. (2009, April). The King Herself. National Geographic, 88-111.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

25. The MANtage

March 14, 2009

Two brothers made a series of videos for YouTube, but this one is called MANtage (instead of montage). While electric guitars and heavy drums play in the background, we see Luke and Joe do “manly” things for a full minute, like chopping wood, playing football, taming a stallion, being with heavy machines, eating meat, and wrestling a bear at night. We know that some of them are to make fun of “manly things” because they also have things like playing with a kitten, being alone with his thoughts, and crying during Old Yeller.

This MANtage represents the image of what “manly men” should be, and is supplicated by Chapter 3’s explanation of how men play (specifically pages 62-65).

In this video there are a lot of physical labor activities, ranging from wrestling a bear at night to opening a pickle jar, and their actions are very short and sudden. It reminds me a lot of agnocism, which is a way men play that is in likeness to war and strategic fighting. While there were two men in this clip, it almost seems as if they were competing with each other in some things because it was all to the glory of manliness.

I do appreciate that they know they are making fun of themselves by adding in some things completely contrary to the “man image,” like playing with a kitten.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin

(Names are changed in this because this post is focused on interactions.)

My friend Mark and I have lunch on a regular basis. Last Thursday we were talking about a friend of mine named George.

The situation is that my friend George likes a girl who does not like him back, and this girl had told George that she does not like him. George has been telling me about this girl all year.

Mark was flabbergasted. “What?!” he asked. “She told George she doesn’t like him and he is still hung up on her?!”
“Yes,” I said.
He laughed. “Let’s say, hypothetically, my roommate Andrew likes a girl, and this girl told Andrew she did not like him back. If Andrew was still hung up on her, we would just make fun of Andrew until he got over it.”
“But, that’s not what I want to do,” I said. “I’m just trying to get him to reach the conclusion on his own, without directly telling him that he should move on.”
Mark laughed even harder and told me, “That is such a woman thing to do!

This kind of conversation is typical with Mark, but this one in particular gave such a contrasting view of how men and women handle relationships differently, and it’s marked by Mark’s comment that my method is “such a woman thing to do.”

Chapter 3 would differentiate our genderlects (pages 75-77); since women tend to focus more on sharing themselves and learning about others and men tend to exert control and authority, this conversation with Mark represents examples of both male and female genderlects. My goal was to share bits of my experiences (“myself,” I guess) with George, and to gently help him arrive at the conclusion on his own, which is very conversational and very relational. Mark’s approach, on the other hand, would involve making fun of the guy in love (Mark hypothesized his roommate) but exerting that kind of dominance and raising his own status at the expense of his friend’s is typical of the male genderlect.

SOURCES: Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin