Feminine Fridays

On Feminine Fridays: Girl Talk?

Today I have been wondering about gender stereotypes, and the truth behind them. Specifically: is it true that women talk more than men?

The stereotypes suggest that that’s the case. Women are talkers, chatterboxes, nags, or gossips. Generalisations in popular culture will have the female of the species talking and sharing and analysing endlessly, whilst the men are portrayed as strong and silent, keeping every thought and feeling bottled up, whilst they can barely manage to grunt as a contribution to the conversation.

But what’s the truth?

As it happens, over the last week I have had a few meetings, based around the same topic of conversation, but with a number of different people. Some of those people were male, and some were female, and without exception the boys kept their conversation brief, whilst the girls chattered away.

The thing I’m wondering though: is the reason these young men were less talkative to do with the fact that they were in conversation with a woman, not a man? I, of course have never been party to a real-life men-only chat (because I am not a man), and so perhaps it’s less to do with the fact that they are men, and more to do with the fact that I am not. Perhaps the flow of conversation is best in a single-gender conversation. Or perhaps my test-case sample is too small?

What do you think, O reader of mine? What is your experience? What wisdom have you to offer? I’d love to hear it!

And also, a brief public service announcement:

Do you have any suggestions for future Feminine Fridays? Or would you like to volunteer your services as a guest blogger? You don’t even have to be female to join in – all contributions will be considered!

In summary: talking.

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  • Reply Rachel Emily Nellist May 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    I shall tape my husband and his best mate when they are ‘chatting’ at 4 in the morning. I can assure you they have a lot to say. To be fair a few of the neighbours could tell you the same as they tend to be quite loud when ‘chatting’. xx

    • Reply ellidhcook May 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I believe you. No need for a recording – I’m pretty sure that listening to a Dave and Veg 4AM chat is something I can live without!

  • Reply fiona lynne May 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Hmm. I’m thinking through all my friends and trying to find a pattern. I think maybe there’s a tendency towards women talking more, but there are also lots of exceptions too so it’s not so standard a gender norm.
    I also think it’s influenced by culture. There are some cultures where everyone is happier to chat away, some where everyone is more quiet, some where the women chat more…
    I’m married to a quieter man who’s happy to let others do the talking usually. But put him in a garage with his brothers and oldest mates with a water pipe and some beers, and he can talk into the wee hours quite happily.

    • Reply ellidhcook May 5, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      The culture point is definitely a fair one, but I do wonder if the single-gender grouping makes a major difference. I’m not sure if I’ll ever know (unless I start bugging conversations!)x

  • Reply hannahadawes May 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    From observations of the male species, I have noticed exactly what you yourself have documented. Not sure if we maybe don’t understand their more subtle communication? As a female, I love to discuss in depth any decision I make, whether by talking of it I come to a solid plan of action or not. Just talking is good 🙂
    I wonder what men think of us? Recently an eldely male member of Castle college’s SCR commented on how ‘shrill and high pitched’ the voices of the women in the dinning hall were. ha! Loving the Feminine Friday stuff 🙂

    • Reply ellidhcook May 5, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Hannah! Bless those elderly SCR gents, eh? 😉 x

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