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What language barrier?

by Deborah Cameron

Rather than a gender differences theory, we should put forward a gender similarities theory. Differences
of the brain between men and women are a myth. It is a myth because it constructed by people. It is a
popular myth and it is spread by self-help books and popular science.

Baron-Cohen said that there are essential difference between male and female brains. However, these
differences are generally based on observations. Observations can be manipulated.

She takes issues on some of these assumptions:

1) She points outs that this is eventually detrimental to gender equality.

2) She said that the relationship between the sexes is not about difference, but about power and
status in our society.

3) Generalisations easily accepted if they fit with already familiar stereotypes.

4) A basic stereotypical expectation is that mean and women will be different rather than the same.

5) Carried over by soundbite (simple catchphrase or idea) science (number of words a day).

She advocates instead for the Gender Similarities Hypothesis. She based her theory on the work of
Janet S. Hyde (with her method of meta-analysis: is when a researcher looks at other research and then
combines it to come to some kind of general conclusions).

In general, is female and man language is totally different? Not totally. Differences are
slight, or close to zero. The degree of non-overlap is about 0.25%

By saying men do this and women do that, we are narrowing the differences. By being gender-binary,
you forget of a huge amount of variations that you have within each gender group.

People who have a higher status in society, will be often be encouraged to speak more. The higher your
status, the more you are going to speak. Today, men often have a higher status than women, and speak
more in public than women.

Status is not something completely fix. It will vary depending on the settings, the subject and the purpose
of the conversation.

Why this perception/stereotype than women speak more than men?

Dale Spender said that in the past, ideally woman would not talk at all. This social prejudice is ingrained.