Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Reflecting upon our April 8th, 2010 class I have found some interesting things about how peoples’ social identity in gender and
peoples’ ethnography are related.

After watching a movie about Giddy Worm, the class broke into groups to discuss each other’s ethnography. The main point that I got out of this video is that when working with clients as social workers we need to work with client’s culture and how the client views their culture or in this case one’s ethnography. However, like in many other cases that we have recognized this year, we need to know ourselves first. To do this the class broke into groups to discuss our ethnography. Ethnography, as defined in class, is the study of a particular culture or group to try to understand the culture from the perspective of its members.

When I was thinking of my own ethnography I realized that it related back to my social identity as a woman, what my gender roles are as woman, and how I am always doing gender roles. People are doing gender even when we talk! Gender roles in communication are what Deborah Tannen calls “Genderlect Styles.” Generlect is, “A term suggesting that masculine and feminine styles of discourse are best viewed as two distinct cultural dialects” (Griffin 430).

In my life I did not know how much gender roles affected me in my everyday life and how much gender roles are linked to one’s ethnography. For instance, when communicating with the opposite sex, I often found myself having gender roles in my conversation or Genderlect. I often used the term, “I’m sorry” for a situation, such as when the person I talked to has had a bad day. Men thought I meant “I’m sorry” as an actual apology when really it was not. This distinction of “I’m sorry,” is one of the Genderlect distinctions
suggested by Deborah Tannen.

In my communications with people I have constantly participated in gender roles without knowing it. This communication is seen all over in American culture and therefore is part of the American ethnography. From our Rothenberg book, I also found gender roles to be part of our ethnography when Author Judith Lober says: "Everyone does gender without thinking about it…Gender is such a familiar part of daily life that it usually takes a deliberate disruption of our expectations of how women and men are supposed to act to pay attention to how it is produced. Gender signs and signals are so ubiquitous that we usually fail to note them—unless they are missing or ambiguous." (Rothenberg & Lober 54)

Having gender roles in communication is something that is a part of peoples’ daily encounters with others, which is linked to peoples’
social identity of gender and peoples’ Ethnographies.

Griffin, Em. A First Look at Communication Theory. 7th. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.
Rothenberg, P.S. & Lober, L. Night to his day the social construction
of gender. 8th. New York, Ny: Worth Publishers.

1 comment:

  1. Last semester I took a really interesting class devoted completely to talking about gender. In that class I was also made really aware of home much gender affects society, gender differences, and how we do gender without even realizing it.
    Being here in Mexico I've been made even more aware of certain aspects of gender. I am often reminded that I am a woman, by the way I am treated. Whether it's "cat calls" on the street or a man stepping out of the way to let me get on the bus first, these things play into gender. In my internship I have also seen gender roles being played out. The women in charge will often call for one of the older girls to help if they need an extra hand with the little kids or send the older boys to carry heaving things.
    Gender is all around us, but is it inevitable? To we have to play into society’s two-gendered system? This is something I thought about all semester and think I will continue to do for a long time. Gender is a huge part of our society, but is it something that just exists or is it something that gender created?