Communication and Gender Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1450 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Freshman  ·  Topic: Communication

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Social penetration theory essentially details the process from which a person goes from shedding the layers of his or her public persona to revealing his or her own, true personality. The process of achieving this goal, of course, is through the gradual giving away of personal details about one's life outside of the public sphere (Altman & Taylor, 1987, p. 258-260). This process can be observed in You've Got Mail, as the online personas of Kelly and Fox gradually do share information about one another's lives, including information about their businesses (particularly Kelly, which is due in no small part to Fox's awareness of who she actually is while she does not know who he is). Eventually, due to the processes of social penetration theory, the pair are eventually able to meet in person. However, it should be noted that Fox had a definite advantage over Kelly due to his awareness of her true identity, and was definitely able to manipulate the communication between them to his advantage, as is commonly done by his gender and referenced in the preceding paragraph.

Due to the insight that Fox has about "Shopgirl," Kelley's online persona, he is largely able to shape the bulk of the communication that develops between the characters, both online and in person. This notion becomes particularly clear in the latter stages of the movie, after Fox has been able to foster a friendship with Kelly as himself, while she is still unaware that he is also her online romantic personality NY152 . Fox is able to demonstrate a number of aspects of both verbal and nonverbal communication while demonstrating showcasing the communication theory known as attribution theory. This theory contends that people are trying to determine the cause of another's actions via communication (Heider, 1944 p. 362). Fox and Kelly illustrate this theory, as well as the difference that such a theory can produce between genders, in the film when, in person, Fox suggests to Kelly that NY152 could be married. When she downplays the notion that he could be, he hounds her about it until she eventually emails Fox and asks him if he is married. NY152 (who is really Fox), then overreacts (via email) as if he is offended -- while not answering the question. When Fox next meets with Kelly, she has attributed the cause of NY152's reluctance to meet with her to the fact that he is married, which shows the difference in gender perception. Due to the aggressiveness of NY152's response, which was his feigning insult at the asking of the question, Kelly retreated from his somewhat explosive response by assuming that he was not married. This behavior is aligned with gender expectations related to communication in which oftentimes "while men may respond aggressively, women tend to yield" (Mulvaney 2005).

Fox is also able to reinforce the dominance that is frequently attributed to his gender through the means of nonverbal communication, which is also aided by verbal communication in certain instances. The concept of proxemics is best defined as "the way in which people use space as…interpersonal communication" (Porter & Samovar, 1985 p. 29). This usage of space is essential in nonverbal communication, particularly that between genders, because it helps to illustrate who is in control and what the nature of a particular relationship happens to be. In the final scene of the You've Got Mail, in which Fox finally reveals to Kelly that he is NY152, he comes upon her in a clearing in Riverside Park. His initial body language or nonverbal communication is somewhat timid, and punctuated by a voiceless shrug that is his admission at leading Kelly on for the duration of the movie and not telling her that he was her online boyfriend. He swiftly recovers, however, and asserts his dominance of the situation by walking extremely close to her -- which is an excellent use of proxemics -- to dry her eyes and eventually kiss her for a somewhat lengthy period of time. Kelly's demure response to his presence, her unspoken approval signified by her soft tears, invited Fox and underscores what can be considered conventional communication, or conventional roles, for each gender in instances of romantic, nonverbal communication.

In conclusion, You've Got Mail is able to chronicle some fairly important theories and terms related to gender and communication. [END OF PREVIEW]

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Communication and Gender.  (2012, February 10).  Retrieved December 13, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/communication-gender/7379489

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