Gender Communication Summer 2009

A space to critically engage gender and communication topics

Blog Activity 5: Nonverbal Patterns May 28, 2009

Filed under: blog activity — daniellemstern @ 10:49 am
Tags: ,

As inconspicuously as possible, go to a location (such as a coffee shop, library, etc.) where you can observe men and women (mixed-sex pairs or groups) interacting. Observe for about 20 minutes and take notes, but make it look like you are doing homework or writing, rather than obtrusively watching people. You should note the nonverbal components discussed in the textbook (body language, vocal cues, space/distance, touch, artifacts, etc.) to answer the following questions:

Who do you believe is more independent and why? Competitive? Emotional? Rational? Trustworthy? Submissive? Powerful? Credible? Friendly? Likeable? Why?

To what extent, if any, do gender stereotypes persist in influencing your response?

Post a summary of your findings, then compare and contrast with others’ summaries.


78 Responses to “Blog Activity 5: Nonverbal Patterns”

  1. jenwaybright Says:

    This weekend I actually made two observations and decided to share them, one was at the coffee shop in Border’s and the other was at the movie theater.

    At the coffee shop, I would say that men are the more independent of the two sexes because I watched about three “couples” (they weren’t all romantic as far as I could tell) interact with each other from ordering to leaving. All three women in the couples would order second and go wherever it was that the man was going (like wait for him, follow him to the table, etc). Once sitting down at the table, the women all sat with their backs to the general public, I’m not sure if this was unconsciously on purpose, but that’s how it happened. In all three couples but one, women initiated the touching, from holding hands to a hug at the end; in the third couple, the man reached out to grab his significant other’s hand. The coffee shop was noisy because of the machines and such and I couldn’t hear them talking from my spying location, but I did notice that the women were leaning more towards the men and the men looked around the room while the women were talking more.

    If I go off the gender stereotypes that we have been presented in the book, then it’s easy to say that the women were more submissive than the men, just because of the waiting and keeping eye contact, etc. I would say that the women were still independent of the men though, because I come from a small town where everyone knows everyone and the women were saying hi to other people, left and right. I would classify all three sets of women and men as likeable and friendly since they all smiled at laughed with each other and any visitors to the tables.

    I would like to think that the gender stereotypes haven’t influenced my conclusions because the things I noted were things that were found in studies done in the book. Other researchers have observed them and noted the behaviors. I wouldn’t go so far as to classify all the women at the coffee shop as submissive, because I think that it seemed to me that these women, along with many others I know, value their relationships with others and that’s where more touching and such came into play.

    I won’t really go as in depth on the movie theater observation since I just kind of glanced around it. I noticed that women and men always sat next to each other or women sat right next to other men. There was a group of guys sitting in front of us that were all sitting next to each other, but took up as much room in their chairs as possible. Another group of three men a few rows down sat with space inbetween themselves.

    I just thought the use of space was interesting at the theater and would share.

    • melaniebahr Says:

      Interesting because I went to a coffee shop too, and I noticed that all the females ordered first. You know the whole “ladies first thing”. Plus if the guy was paying, he would let the girl go first and then he would order second and continue to pay.

      • mransone Says:

        I also noticed all the women ordered first and the men always paid then held the door open as well.

      • Lauren Says:

        When I went to Starbucks I observed the guy ordering for the girl so I guess it is different for different people. And the guy paid for the girl, maybe it is just what the man thinks is proper manners whether it be letting the woman order first, order for the girl, or order before the girl.

      • jenwaybright Says:

        I definitely thought that would be what I observed, but it was not the case! I was very surprised about it too!

    • cahendy Says:

      The fact that the men all ordered first and the women went second makes me assume they were just friends and not romantic. Still even if they were just friends those guys need to man up and let the ladies go first haha. How do you girls feel when a guy friend insists you go first ordering or opens your car door or the door to a restraunt for you? Do you ever get the wrong idea or think he is just a nice guy?

      • flipmyflops06 Says:

        Maybe it depends on the ages of the couples. Possibly the older couples adhere more to the rule “ladies first.” I wonder why more men today aren’t as concerned with this gentlemen-like manner.

      • cahendy Says:

        I was just wondering what some people thought. I try my best to try and treat girls with “old school” manners with the ladies first mentality because thats how my momma raised me haha. I do know some girls who do not like it when I open the car door for them or something like that…

      • kirstenpowell Says:

        I do not think it is just old couples. I think that girls who are raised in a way that suggests that they must be ladies expect a gentlemen. Some girls appreciate it and some take offense to it as if you are threatening their independence. Maybe the girls that are threatened have some sort of insecurity.

      • chloea Says:

        I think girls may take it the wrong way initially. But I would have to say that is because of our society and how guys treat us on a normal basis. If guys held doors, offered to carry stuff, let the ladies go first, etc, then I think our perspective would change. Now, if you are really good friends and the girl knows that the guy is a gentleman to all the girls, then I also think they are less likely to get the wrong impression.

      • sam1503 Says:

        I usually just think that he is being a gentlemen when he does those things. The only time that I start to get the idea that they may be romantically interested in me is when they pay for my food or something we are doing.

        As for the opening of the car door, it is something I look for when first dating a guy, however after the first few times, I do not feel like it is necessary. I tend to feel as if it is a waste of time or annoying for the guy to have to do everytime.

    • catherineporter07 Says:

      I found your post interesting, as it was almost completely opposite of mine! While the men ordered first and often payed for the women, in my observation (in a foreign country), the man would go sit down while the women ordered for him and herself.

      Also, while you noted that the women definitely seemed submissive in the coffee shop, the submissiveness displayed in my observation was quite different – as the women took care of the transaction of money.

    • mattymac Says:

      Just some thoughts:

      My dad ALWAYS opens the car door for my mother. He told me it is the gentlemanly thing to do. My parents are much older than most people’s and come from a much older time period. To them, a man should be a gentleman to all women, but especially if that woman is his significant other.

      I remember someone telling me about a woman who appeared on a talk show who was known for being a feminist. The guest before her was a man. When she first entered, he pulled out her chair for her and she told him off for it, stating that she did not need a man to pull her chair out for her, she could do it on her own. I cannot remember who told me, nor who it was he or she was talking about, but it has always stuck out in my mind because it demonstrates that some women see “gentlemanly things” as placing a woman in a submissive position. In reality, the man is serving the woman; would that not place him in the subservient position? Most men act like gentlemen out of respect for women and as a means to appear more attractive and appealing to women.

      On a different note, it’s funny that you mention about how much space men take up, especially at movie theaters. Whenever I go, I always notice how some men will just sprawl out on the chairs and even take up two. Some men, as you said, even leave an empty chair beside them so as to have more space to operate in. I recently saw three guy friends at the movie theater, and each had an empty chair in between the other, yet they were all leaning over and trying to incorporate each other in the conversation. The more distance between them seemed to cause a small hindrance in their communication.

  2. Lauren Says:

    Today I went to Starbucks with my friend to work on homework and I observed a couple interacting. To me they seemed like a very traditional couple because when they went to order their drinks the man asked his significant other what she wanted and he ordered for her, and he picked up the drinks and brought it back for her at their table. I noticed while they were conversing the girl would always look at her significant other while talking and seemed very attentive, but the man would talk to her while also looking around a bit and did not seem as interested in what she was saying. I also noticed the way they were sitting at the table was different; the man leaned more back in his chair and was more distant while the woman sat up in her chair and leaned forward a little while holding his hand. I think this proves what the textbook mentioned about personal bubbles and how men tend to take up more space then women. The man was slouched and had his legs spread out while the woman sat up in her chair, not using all of her space on the chair, with her legs close together. The couple also looked very gender diverse with the clothing they were wearing. The man was wearing baggy khaki shorts with a loose fitted white polo and the woman was wearing a sundress with heels. This is an example what the textbook said about how men tend to wear clothing that does not have as much color and that is easier to move around in while the woman wore a tighter fitted dress with heels that showed off more of her body.

    From watching the couple for about half an hour on and off, I came to the conclusion that man seemed more independent than the woman just by the way he acted and the conversation. I noticed while they were conversing that the man would always bring up the topic of conversation while the woman just seemed to add to it. Like the textbook mentioned, the woman would also end each of her points with a question to keep the conversation going while the man just answered the question but then would bring up a new topic. I thought the man showed more of a sense of competitiveness by trying to dominate the conversation and the woman acted more submissive by just following along with what he wanted to talk about. During their conversation I noticed they started to argue about something like he was made about her staying out too late and not coming home which I thought showed how the man had a sense of control and power over the girl, and the girl just sat there and apologized and showed more of an emotional side. This also shows that the man was more independent because it seemed to me that he was reinforcing his control over her and the woman did not even seem to stand up for herself.

    I think gender stereotypes influenced a lot of what I was observing with the couple. Most of what I noticed fit a lot of the gender stereotypes I read in the textbook with the man being more independent and dominate. It was actually interesting watching two people of the opposite sex interacting because reading the textbook I would sometimes think, “I don’t think girls are actually like this, and I don’t think guys are that powerful over women” but today I saw exactly what the Gamble’s were talking about.

    • mransone Says:

      It is weird the couple I watched were wearing very similar clothing, and sitting the same way, except the wife was holding the baby. The man also didn’t seem very interested in the conversation. It seemed like he would just add a comment to make it seem like he was paying attention. But the women I was watching was doing the majority of the talking. The man I watched also seemed very independent even though he was married and had a child.

      • sam1503 Says:

        I noticed that the woman did most of the talking within the conversation as well when I observed. This is consistant with the textbook saying that woman tend to use conversations to build relationships with others. I noticed the men and women wearing similiar clothing, but in more of a professional style, since they were on most of them were on their lunch break from work.

    • mattymac Says:

      In most of the groups I observed, it was the men who did most of the talking. Then again, most of the groups I observed were business lunches. I think context and situation have a lot to do with which sex is more communicative. Also, I believe the text also suggests that in public settings, men tend to talk more than women as a means to demonstrate their independence, power, and authority. Combine that theory with the fact that these were mostly business meetings I was observing, and you have a pretty sound reason for why I saw mostly men talking more than women.

  3. melaniebahr Says:

    I chose to observe a coffee shop. I went to the coffee shop in the late afternoon. At the coffee shop I sat at a table with my laptop.

    The barista at the coffee shop was a female. When other female customers came up she would smile and occasionally compliment them. When a male customer came up alone she would tend to be a little more friendly and maybe a but flirty. If a couple (male and female together) came to the counter generally she looked at the female to order first and most of the time the female did order first followed by the male who payed. If a group of girls approached the counter they tended to take a long time to order and the barista would ask if they had any questions but was not quite as friendly. (Perhaps she was intimidated more by a group of girls than just serving a customer one on one.)
    While in line, girls were more chatty and they were more polite to the cashier. The men kept more of a distance in line between customers and didn’t really acknowledge other people in the store other than those serving them.

    -The stereotypes that seemed to play a part at this location were: women being indecisive, men being independent, men being the providers, and women being consumed in their relationships.

    • Jessie Wright Says:

      It is interesting to see that the cashier would treat people differently. I think it is kinda funny she was more flirty when a male came in alone. I do have to say, I was a cashier once. When a group of younger girls came in I was not as friendly with them. If one started laughing about something stupid and I would smile they would be encourage to all start laughing. In some Psychology class I told years ago, there was a stage when teenage girls felt like they are on stage and everyone was watching them. When younger girls came up to order, I assumed they were like that and did not want to encourage their crazy loudness. I wanted them to order and leave. Looking back, that is a little harsh of me.

      • mmpike Says:

        Its funny that you saw how you treated customers when you were in the position. I was a cashier one Christmas, and I thought that I was friendly to all, but when I think about it I was more friendly to the people that were friendly to me. I would great each customer with a smile, but based on how they responded to me, I would respond back in a similar way. I also was more friendly to people that I had some kind of connection with, weather I had bought the same set of measuring cups for my mom, or they walked in wearing a tee-shirt from my highschool on it, I was always more friendly to the people that I had some kind of relation to .

        I think I probably did the same thing with teenagers. When i think about it, it kind of sucks. When we were teenagers we didn’t always get treated very well and I never thought that wasn’t fair, yet I find that I have treated teenagers with a lack of interest or respect in the past. I like to think that has changed a bit now, hopefully.

      • sam1503 Says:

        This was opposite for me. All of the employees at Moe’s were male. When women came in by themselves they were more friendly, normally had smiles on their faces, and you could tell if they thought a girl was pretty they would push the border of flirting. The cashier was also a male, and while he was very friendly to all, he seemed more patient with females and tended to role his eyes and shift his weight when men took to long to pay.

        When ordering, I do agree that women were more indecisive and submissive than men. They tended to take longer to order, and a lot of women even asked the men what she should order. I thought this was very interesting, that they were not able to make an independant decision.

  4. ginasurrette Says:

    Today I sat in the parking lot of Giant the grocery store. It was very fascinating to see all of the people who walked in at out of there and the different nonverbal cues they put off. First off i noticed much more men walking in and out of the shopping center than women. This to me says that men are more independent because they feel safe enough to go out alone and get what they need, more so than a women.

  5. ginasurrette Says:

    however there is always an exception to the rule, I observed a women walking at 9pm at night with a bag of groceries in each hand clearing trusting the area she was walking in. She also felt independent enough to walk alone without assistance. The next group i observed was three young girls walking together laughing and holding each other’s hands. They were obviously closely related and trusted each other while sharing a strong bond. Men on the other hand would not hold hands crossing the road because that would be considered homosexual. I then saw a little girl who was caring for her father by caring the grocery bags as he walked behind her on crutches. to be this shows that the man was trusting of his daughter and also submissive.

    One of the more funny looking people i observed was a man walking out the UPS store who I could tell was really awkward by the way he walked and held his package close to his body.
    There was a lovely large family of Indian people who all displayed rational actions by standing around together helping the little children across the street while standing closely together. One of the older men was directing the women towards the car. One of the mothers who seems to be a grandmother was taking pictures of the families members. They all seemed very happy. The women seemed more emotional as they were the ones taking care of the children, hugging, kissing them and the men stood around discussing something. The men had a more rigid posture suggesting dominance. The family seemed very friendly and loving.

    The next place I went was a bar where I noted peoples behaviors. If your observing a bar setting men would be more competitive in this atmosphere because they’re watching football or rooting for their team to win. When men are put in a setting where alcohol is involved they tend to become more aggressive and confrontational. When it came to the question about who is more emotional I immediately said women. That was the only one of the gender stereotypes persisting that influenced my responses.

    • sbarmstrong Says:

      It is interesting that you mention the independence of the woman at the shopping center with groceries. Most women are not independent in the sense of having confidence of shopping or walking alone. I would rather be in good company than alone, not only to have a sense of safety, but to have a sense of companionship. Additionally, this leads me to think of how women go to the restroom in pairs. It is a funny concept and wierd woman tradition, but I do think it says something about a woman’s dependence on others.

    • Lauren Says:

      I think that another possible reason that the men did not hold hands while crossing the road is because a man has more of an independency and tend to not be as cautious about things like crossing the road like women usually are.

      • mmpike Says:

        I don’t want to be a pain, but I personally don’t think that women prefering to do things in groups makes them dependent on others. I love being around people, and I would much rather do anything, weather it be go to the grocery store, the bathroom, or a little league game with someone else but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t do those things without someone else. I think if a woman would only do something with someone else, then that makes them dependent, not desiring to not be alone. Its just a preference, but don’t most people, male or female prefer to not be alone?

  6. melaniebahr Says:

    *for some reason when I tried to post it posted my rough draft blog response so here is the correct one*

    I chose to observe a coffee shop. I went to the coffee shop Books a Million in the late afternoon. At the coffee shop I sat at a table with my laptop and did my discrete observing.

    The barista at the coffee shop was a female. When other female customers came up she would smile and occasionally compliment them. When a male customer came up alone she would tend to be a little more friendly and maybe a but flirty. She would flirt by maintaining eye contact with them, slightly leaning towards them, and touching their hand when returning their change. All three of these things she did not do with the female customers. If a couple (male and female together) came to the counter generally she looked at the female to order first and most of the time the female did order first followed by the male who payed. I was easily able to tell if two people came in as friends or as a relationship type couple due to their non-verbal language. The couples that were in a relationship stood closer together, sometimes shared some touches (his hand on the small of her back), or were holding hands. The couples that came in a friends often one of them had their arms crossed or hands in their pockets and they did not look at each other as often. If a group of girls approached the counter they tended to take a long time to order and the barista would ask if they had any questions but was not quite as friendly. (Perhaps she was intimidated more by a group of girls than just serving a customer one on one.)
    While in line, girls were more chatty and they were more polite to the cashier. They would groom each other and lightly touch each other when they were talking. The men kept more of a distance in line between customers and didn’t really acknowledge other people in the store other than those serving them. Also, the majority of men came to the coffee shop alone.

    -The stereotypes that seemed to play a part at this location were: women being indecisive (the amount of time taken to express their order), women being emotional (laughing a giggling), men being independent (not talking to others in line), men being the providers (the men paying for the girls orders), and women being consumed in their relationships (chatting with their friends instead of ordering).

    • Lauren Says:

      It’s kind of interesting that the barista would tend to flirt with guy customers, maybe she thought flirting was a way to seem nice and friendly to guys…

  7. mransone Says:

    This morning I went to a Starbucks that is right around the corner from my house. I pretended to be doing homework on my laptop while I was watching everyone that came in through the doors. The couple that I noticed first, that came through were probably in their early thirties. I could tell they were married from the rings they were wearing. The wife was pushing the stroller while they while they waited to order. The husband let the wife order first, he ordered himself, then he paid. After they sat down and while waiting for their drinks. When their order was ready the women went and picked up the drinks. While she was up the father was looking around and the gave his child a toy, because the toddler wouldn’t stop fussing. After the wife sat back down the baby boy wouldn’t stop fussing and the man told his wife, “deal with him.” And the wife immediately started trying to quiet the baby down. After the baby settled the woman began to try and have a conversation with her husband but he didn’t really seem to be paying attention. He would just nod every once in awhile. When they finally got up to leave the wife pushed the stroller and the man opened the door for her.

    I came to conclusion that man was more independent because he didn’t seem all that interested in what the women was telling him. The women was very submissive to her husband, she went to get the drinks, she pushed the stroller, and she calmed down the baby. She was more emotional, I could tell she really loved her child when she was trying to calm him down. She was laughing and carrying on when she was trying to tell her husband some story. I could tell the man had all the power in the family, he was the one that paid and told his wife to calm down the baby when he could easily could have picked up his son himself. The women seemed really friendly and more likable, she was smiling a lot, while the man very expressionless.

    The other people that came in were either groups of women or men that were alone. The women were very talkative with their friends, and I could tell they were having fun because they were all smiling and laughing during their conversation. The men either had their hands in their pockets or crossed and they ordered their drinks and once they had them they left. This further showed me that men are more independent, while women are more emotional.

    • vrobbins Says:

      That interested about the first couple you observed. I thought it was sweet how the husband was acting toward his wife, but as soon as the baby started fussing and the wife was available to tend to him, the husband ordered her to take over. 😦 That makes me sad. However, I know a lot of men who would be more than happy to take care of a crying child. It just made me a little sad. I understand submitting to your husband, but there is a line that you have to draw because it is a relationship. A relationship involves two people working together in all aspects of the relationship. Maybe you just caught him on a bad day. Maybe he had a migrane. Ha!

      • Jessie Wright Says:

        iI can not believe he said “deal with him.” Torrie had some great points. I know many husbands who would not do that, but unfortunately, I know a lot who do. When my niece starts crying and I am near by my brother in law ALWAYS passes Kyla on to me. I do not think he is trying to be more independent by throwing the kid on me, but I honestly think he has NO IDEA what to do with her. He works full time, so when he comes home Kyla has had her crazy moments of the day and it almost bed time. He rarely sees the terrible two side of her. Maybe men are not trying to be commanding of their wives by saying “deal with it.” In some cases, maybe they honestly have no idea how to handle to situation and it frustrates them to know they have no idea how to stop their child from crying.

      • tgbaldwin32 Says:

        I is interesting with what happened with the first couple and the fussing baby. It seems that my family is outside the norm of society because it is the guys in my family that always take care of the fussing children. When I am with my cousin and her baby she always passes him off to me when he starts fussing saying “here you’re a guy you know what he wants” at first I was taken back by this but as it turned out she was right apparently I’m good at quieting the child. I asked around my family and it was all the same with the other men, even if the child was female. I don’t know maybe my family is just odd, I wouldn’t be surprised. Back to the topic I found it a little surprising that the men pass of little children to the females to quiet them, but that’s just me.

  8. vrobbins Says:

    I didn’t have time this weekend to sit and watch for twenty minutes, while taking notes. Instead, I took mental notes. That counts, right?

    I went to a Medieval Times dinner in Maryland with my boyfriend and his sister, her boyfriend and their friends. I don’t know if anyone else reading this has been to one of these things, but it is quite fascinating. Ha! You might want to Google it if you want to understand what I’m about to say.

    While the show was being presented, I was watching the crowd around me. I noticed that the men were very rowdy. They would stand up and wave their arms in the air to cheer on their knight. They would yell and scream too. I noticed that they would give high-fives to other men around them and were very focused on the fight. Women on the other hand stayed seated and cheered for their knight as well. However, the way women cheered it sounded like they were cheering for their friend on the baseball team, not for their knight who was sword-fighting on a horse. (Ha!)

    I would say based on just the cheering aspect of this event, men proved to be more independent than women. Even though they gave high-fives to each other, they were more focused on their knight fighting and getting into the zone. Women on the other hand were looking around at others around them. My boyfriends’ sister and myself would often make eye contact and laugh, then cheer for our knight. I didn’t notice what I was doing at the time, but reflecting back I believe that I was looking for approval. I didn’t want to look like an idiot cheering for a fake fight. (I laugh at myself now!) Clearly from what I have described, men are much more competitive and powerful. Women are more submissive, friendly and likeable. I overhead my boyfriends’ sister talking to one of her friends about how the horses were being treated. It was concerning if they thought it was ethical or not to train horses the way that they did for this show. I don’t think I would ever hear a man talk about that.

    There were other aspects of this event that I could pick apart, but I don’t think it would be very appropriate for this activity. Plus, the things that I had to do would contradict all stereotypes of women. We had to eat with our hands for dinner. If that doesn’t interest you to look up what the heck I did on Friday night, I don’t know what will. Haha!

    • kirstenpowell Says:

      The eye contact that you and your boyfriends sister shared shows how women can connect on a nonverbal level and know exactly what the other is thinking through eye contact. As women according to Gamble and Gamble we are much better at reading emotions! Sounds like this was pretty fun experience (I’m sure watching the guys get barbaric and all was quite interesting)

    • sam1503 Says:

      I’ve been to these dinners a few times and I know exactly what you mean about the competitiveness of the guys. They really get into it. You also tend to notice the difference in the way men and woman eat their food there. For those of you who havent been there before, you get a meal but since it is “Medievil” Times you do not get and utensils (because they were not invented yet). The woman tend to try and be as neat as possible, while the men dive into the food and continue to cheer for their knight while eating. Woman during this time will tend to focus solely on the food, (sometimes as a way to get out of yelling).

      Girls definitely look for approval here. They want to make sure that them cheering is not going to make them look rediculous. Why do you think that it is ok for men to cheer and be loud without others doing the same, and woman need approval and someone to join in?

  9. Jessie Wright Says:

    As inconspicuously as possible, go to a location (such as a coffee shop, library, etc.) where you can observe men and women (mixed-sex pairs or groups) interacting. Observe for about 20 minutes and take notes, but make it look like you are doing homework or writing, rather than obtrusively watching people. You should note the nonverbal components discussed in the textbook (body language, vocal cues, space/distance, touch, artifacts, etc.) to answer the following questions:
    Who do you believe is more independent and why? Competitive? Emotional? Rational? Trustworthy? Submissive? Powerful? Credible? Friendly? Likeable? Why?
    To what extent, if any, do gender stereotypes persist in influencing your response?

    I went to the pool to observe people. (Homework and tanning, good combo) To my luck, there was a graduation party going on. There was a group of about fourteen people, boys and girls. A group of three girls stayed back, they did not interact with anyone besides themselves. They had a reasonable distance from the group as well. The others were socializing together, but there was still a boy, girl line. The girls were laying by the pool in tanning poses, giggling in high pitches, and were all very close. The guys were in the pool, playing basketball, loudly mocking each other, with at least five feet in-between all of them. The one time another guy jumped on him to get the ball, the other guy immediately said, “Get off me man!” There was one, I’m guessing, ‘official’ couple. They were definitely not PG for a public swimming pool. The girl was facing him with her legs raped around him, basically making out…at the community pool. The man next to me later walked over and told them to get a room or stop, which was a little surprising because I would never say anything.
    I would say the whole group, minus the three girls, were competitive. It was almost like a showing off of who is hotter or who is more athletic. It is hard to say who was more emotional. At first I would say the girls, but they did not really do anything emotional. In this case I would say the guys were more emotional. When the guy touched the other guy the emotions behind his voice showed anger. I would say the guys were more independent. They had a relatively large space between them. The one time two made contact, he was barked at. For me the three girls were the most likeable. They were respectful of where they were. They were not drawling attention to themselves like the rest of the group. There was no real power showing. It was more just showing off to the other gender. The couple getting in on in the water were probably the must submissive, to each other.
    Gender stereotypes definitely influenced my findings. We have been reading about all the stereotypes recently, but I tried to block them out. As soon as I started observing all the stereotypes popped up in my face and I could not resist thinking most of them are true. I instantly thought the girls would be more emotional, but I was wrong. I think that was the only stereotype that was incorrect in my findings.

    • Jessie Wright Says:

      Sorry, I randomly re-posted the question at the beginning of my response

    • jenwaybright Says:

      Were they high school age? I bet that would have a lot to do wtih the competitiveness displayed and would also explain the girls being so secluded. We all know how it was in high school, you have the comfort bubble and stick to it.

    • cahendy Says:

      I feel like the pool in high school for me was wear all gender stereotypes were actually true. Like you said it turns into a who is hotter or more athletic competition. I remember going on the diving board with my buddies to see who could do the most flips, or sometimes who could do the best belly flop (because we stupidly thought girls were impressed by guys who could hurt themselves badly haha). The whole time we would do this the girls we were trying to impress would be laying their tanning and most the time not even looking at us. That must have been comical in a way to observe teens at a pool.

      • lckupke Says:

        The graduation party you witnessed was similar to my graduation party a couple weeks ago (I felt like celebrating a couple months early). Looking back, I remember all the single males standing with their arms crossed and shifting around the party in unison. Every time I walked by them they were talking/bragging about the jobs they had landed. There was definitely some competition going on between them. Me and my girls stayed together throughout the party and were definitely more giggly, emotional, and less serious than the guys. Sure we mingled with the fellas, but the sexes were separated for the most part. I don’t think either group was submissive to the other, but maybe that’s because there wasn’t competition going on between the genders. The stereotype that females smile/laugh more and are more emotional, and that males compete for dominance was definitely evident at my party.

  10. Jessie Wright Says:

    Random Question: Is there a way to delete a post once you have submited it?

    • daniellemstern Says:


      On the course blog, no, since I’m the administrator. However, it’s not a big deal that you reposted the prompt. 🙂

      Dr. Stern

  11. emily9988 Says:

    First off, I loved this activity because i’m such a people watcher, and now I get to use it for class!

    I had two observations: One at a movie theater and one at Busch Gardens. I went to go see UP on Saturday night (great movie by the way) so the audience was mostly families with younger children with the exception of a few groups of pre-teen boys and girls. I noticed that the smaller children talked a bit during the movie, which is understandable because they didn’t know better. One particular family sitting in front of me was a father, mother, and a little boy. About halfway into the movie, the dad got up and left with the little boy. My first instinct was that the little boy had to use the restroom, but I don’t think he was old enough to be toilet-trained yet. I found it a little unusual that the dad would take the child out instead of the mom. It’s understandable that the dad is the dominant figure in the relationship, but I usually see the mother taking charge of the babies, but maybe that’s just me.

    Of course what Saturday night movie would be complete without a noisy bunch of kids? There was a group of boys and girls sitting two rows behind me. The boys kept making snide remarks about the movie (i.e when there was a sad part, they would say “Aw now I’m all depressed!” and start giggling). The girls would giggle occasionally but wouldn’t add to the snide remarks. I thought it was very interesting that even though the boys were acting immature and probably annoying the girls, the girls did nothing to discourage their behavior, and probably even encouraged it with their behavior.

    I went to go see the irish dancing show at Busch Gardens this weekend. My friend and I got there a little bit early to get good seats, which in turn gave me a great opportunity for some people watching. There was a couple sitting in front of me. They seemed early to mid 20’s. The girl was obviously excited to see the show, while the boy..not so much. It might be appropriate to mention here that I was sitting in the second row, so they were in the first row. During the show, whenever the Irish dancers finished one of their dance numbers, everyone would clap, except for the guy in front of us. He sat slouched with his arms crossed in his chair. The girl would occasionally give him a stern look and whisper something in his ear, probably to the extent of “Pay attention!” or “Act like your enjoying yourself!” However, when the Irish girl dancers came out in their short, flowy dresses that showed a lot of cleavage, he sat up in his chair and started talking to the girl. The girl did not seem happy with his comments at all.

    I thought it was funny/a little bit annoying just how sterotypical this couple was. The girl dragged the boy to see the show, he reluctantly gave in, only pays attention to other girls, she gets upset, etc. Another amusing thing to point out about this couple was that a family two rows behind us was making a lot of noise about halfway through the show, enough for the performers on stage to hear. One of the stage workers came over to the couple in front of us and told them that there were some complaints about noise and if they would keep it down. Of course the girl was furious while the guy just sat there doing nothing. It was really funny to see them react to the acusation. It was obvious the girl was the dominant one in the relationship while the boy seemed to just be there for the ride.

  12. katelyntemple Says:

    Jessie, I also was around for a graduation party over the weekend. What you reported was very similar to what I saw. There were all girls are one table, and a bunch of guys around the area playing sports. The girls were giggling, and talking very loud and high pitched. This definitly contributed to them appearing more in touch with emotions than the guys. They were all sitting close together, and I couldn’t tell what they were talking about, but they all were listening very closly. While throwing a football, i noticed the guys kept a very consistant, lower pitched voice. Unlike the girls they did not let out loud outbursts. Like you, I also heard a guy yell something along the lines of get off me when a guy got too close. When not playing football, they guys stood with arms width distance between eachother and actually never made eye contact. They carried on a conversation while looking other ways…

  13. katelyntemple Says:

    emily9988, I am really glad you wrote about seeining a girl as the dominant one in the relationship. Based on stereotypes, and what we have read, it is indicated that men ‘wear the pants in a relationship.’ I definitly agree that men try to act and express themselves in ways to seem more dominant and independent, but this does not always mean they are the more dominant one in a relationship.

  14. katelyntemple Says:

    I had a really big people watching weekend… which I love to do, and drive my friends nuts doing it. I went to two graduation parties, a concert and out to eat. What I saw at dinner yesterday by far was the best for demonstrating nonverbal cues enacting gender. I went to dinner at Carrabba’s and saw a woman in i’d say her mid-30’s dining alone. Since she was alone I focused on how she acted towards the waiter. She was at a two person table and brought a book, which she read while eating. I wasn’t close enough to pay attention to anything she said, but definitly was able to pick up on her nonverbal cues.

    The first thing I noticed is how much she smiled. Whenever the waiter came by her table she responded with a smile. However, the waiter never once smiled back. I don’t think he even noticed that she was smiling, and seemed very friendly. She also frequently looked up from her book and looked around at others while slightly smiling. I have no clue if she was happy about something, but she definitly smiled more than some men who were there with wives…

    ‘ginasurrette’ mentioned seeing more men go into the grocery store alone. This demonstrated their independence and power, they didn’t need someone with them. I was very surprised to see this woman out along, as women tend to desire the company of others. This makes sense, because women are more focused on relationships. I couldn’t see if this woman has a wedding ring on, but either way this shows she was rather independent.

    I am a horrible lip reader, but I think when the waiter came to get the bill she stood up to leave, smiled and said thank you. She very quickly touched the waiter on the shoulder when leaving… I really do not think they knew eachother because there was no other personal interaction and they both just walked about after she paid. Even if they did know eachother, the waiter did not respond is such a personal way. He did not seem into the touching and looked very uncomfortable. But women definitly are more likely to touch another than a man. A man would never touch his waiters shoulder to say thanks. The only time I can see a man doing this would be if he had an attractive, flirty, female waitress.

    • jenwaybright Says:

      That’s very interesting that you saw someone by herself at a restaurant, I have only ever really seen men by themselves dining out. Good for her! 🙂

      The touch concept is very interesting, I actually just laughed out loud thinking about what his face was probably like when you said he was uncomfortable!

      • melissam4 Says:

        I agree that the touching is definently easier for women. For example, i work at a grocery store and an elderly woman customer patted a boy cashiers face after she paid while saying thank you. I think in this case, the elderly woman was practicing that grandma love on this young man cashier. The cashier, however, was a little freaked in that you never know how dirty a persons hands are. Especially after shopping in a grocery store touching the germ filled cart and messing with meat blood coming off of your meat. Its quite a dirty process.

        And just as a note**: ALWAYS put your produce in bags…the register belts are smeared with meat blood and leaky soaps all day long.

  15. katelyntemple Says:

    I think mransones post demonstrates sex roles pretty well. It was pretty clear that it was the wife’s role to car for the child. This seems to go along with the stereotype that women are more nourishing and better at dealing with emotions. When the child was upset the man avoided the situation and left it to his wife.

  16. kirstenpowell Says:

    I went to an outdoor block party in downtown Hampton on saturday evening. I observed many different couples and groups interacting in a fun enviornment. I noticed that most of the women were dressed in tight fitting clothing that was exposing as much skin as possible, and then men still wore some what baggy loose fitting clothing despite the fact that it was 85 degrees even after the sun went down and very humid. I typically would not think anything of the way people were dressed but now that I think about it the articles of clothing that people were are artifacts that gender them. THis holds especially true for those who step outside of society’s expectations. I noticed a female with men’s cargo shorts and a polo shirt on. She also had a short haircut and I found myself staring at her longer than other passersby (trying to make a distinction). I remember learning in psychology that young children learn the rules of the society and do not understand exceptions at younger ages. In their case they would have thought this woman was a man.

    In the groups the women seemed just as independent as the men in the party-like atmosphere but the men did seem more competitive in trying to “win” the admiration of surrounding women. It was quite amusing actually, the men in a particular group that I observed reminded me of animals in the wild the way they carried their bodies. They were very rowdy, while the women did not join in this behavior. In this instance it made the women seem superior to the men.

    In regrads to proximity the quarters were very close but it was apparent that certain men would really try to make an apparent distance between each other (this I attributed to possible homophobia), while the women for the most part seemed to stand right next to each other, even leaning to speak in another’s ear over the band.

    In the main group that I observed (the rowdy one) I noticed that the women made more eye contact, while the men’s eyes wandered the entire woman’s body. While the men would talk to each other, several times it looked as if they were looking past the person, rather than at the person.

    Like I said it was hard to hear over the band which made it difficult to tell exactly what was being said in the converstation, but I had my 10 month old with me and at one point a couple was walking by and the woman smiled and stopped and wanted to play with my son, while her significant other seemed aggravated. This made me think of how Gamble, and Gamble suggestes that men only become more like women in regards to children once they become fathers.

    • mmpike Says:

      I’m observed for a little while at aromas and city center. (mostly because I was there anyway). It was saturday night, and it happened to prom night for some highschool so I saw a lot of couples an interactions.

      As I watched the highschoolers walking around taking pictures before the dance I noticed lots of things. It was pretty obvious to me which couples were (I thought) were dating or just going to prom together. There was one particular couple I noticed in which the guy did all of the leading, and the girl did all of the following. He was walking pretty fast in a certain direction speaking to people, while she lagged behind following him not really talking to people. The girls always did most of the picture taking, while the guys seemed to just talk amongst themselves. I saw lots of couples with Guys leading the way, holding the girls hand, and taking the lead.

      I think that a lot of this has to do with the fact that they’re in high school. These kids still haven’t quite figured out how to be a couple. Have you noticed that we don’t see nearly as much PDA in college or in the public as you do in a high school? That’s just one difference I have noticed over the years.

      I watched another prom couple come into the aromas to use the restroom. The guy immediately just walked to the back while the girl stood for a minute before deciding to sit down. He then turned around and asked her to hold the ticket. When he came back he took the ticket back. It was obvious that he had purchased it and he was taking that role. She waited patiently for him he was in the back. I feel like if it was the other way around, the guy might not have been so patient and probably would have stood outside frustrated.

      • kirstenpowell Says:

        The instance you mention where the guy did all the leading and the girl did the following is interesting to me because when I think back to my prom the girls made all of the decisions and the guys were pretty much just there for the ride. I definetly agree with the fact that they do not have a clue when it comes to relationships. Its especially cute when the young boys are attempting to be gentlemen.

      • cahendy Says:

        I observed a prom group as well and it was also easy for me to pick out which ones I thought were dating and which weren’t. For me the ones who were not dating the guy was much more nervous and submissive and the girl was much more independent (which also looked like it frustrated the guys haha)

  17. melissam4 Says:

    I spent the last week visiting my grandma and she had the whole family over (which included about 20-something people). For the most part, all the commotion was taking place in the kitchen. Go-figure, the women were doing the cooking, washing the dishes, drying and putting them away, and talking so loudly about anything and everything. The men were in and out of the kitchen tending to the outdoors and basically standing around while one man grilled. You could look out of the window and see all the men just standing there while inside, the women were going nuts with activities. This stereotypical social grouping displayed the men as the independent, solitary group while all they had to do and felt like doing, was standing around. The women on the other hand, were practicing their need to be more attentitive by helping eachother, even if they werent asked, to simply be apart of the group and do something. If the women needed help physically, a man would come in and help, for example, chicken was cooking in a very large pot and one of my uncles came in and carried it across the room to where the women wanted it. That was about it. This was traditional stereotypical grouping in that the women worked and chattered while the men stood around together, doing the one man thing they could do: grill and watch.

    • kmacklin1107 Says:

      My family is the exact same way when we get together for family get togethers. I don’t think I have ever seen a woman in my family doing anything that deals with grilling, but you can be sure that they are there in the kitchen getting everything else together. I also know that in my family the guys never touch the dishes when it comes time to clean up. The women are the ones who put the leftovers away, and they are the ones to clean up the dishes. The boys typically go somewhere and start to play games, or they discuss some sport event that just occurred.

      • mbest88 Says:

        I would definitely think that most familys are like the two previously discussed, but in my family it’s totally different. My dad has four sisters, and they are crazy. They all think that the men should do all of the work. Sure, they will help with the cooking, but the men do all of the dishes and always help put the leftovers away.

    • emily9988 Says:

      wow i never though about the grilling example before. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my mom do anything with our grill- it’s always my dad’s job.

  18. scnuhoy87 Says:

    For my observation I decided to take on an environment in which mixed sexes interact with the mixture of alcohol. A group of my friends decided that they wanted to go out to the bars this past weekend but unfortunately I had to work, so I decided that I would be their designated driver and gave me the perfect opportunity to observe how the different sexes truly interacted with each other as the night went on.

    At first when we got there everyone was just hanging out and talking and occasionally during this part of the night a guy bought a girl a drink. After a little while and everyone was drinking a little more heavier you could see that the men were the ones that branched off and were talking more about sports and what not, while just like in previous blog observations the girls were all in their group talking very loud and high pitched.

    • scnuhoy87 Says:

      Sorry I mistakenly hit submit by accident. But I will go on now.

      After a while the men and women began to really interact with each other, men buying drinks for the women and a lot of talking and good times going on.

      What I mainly observed which surprised me was that even though there was obvious flirting going on, the main topics of conversation were about politics and business practices. Everyone had their own opinion on the subject and no one was ever wrong on the subject. Even with the differences in opinions compared to the beginning of the night the distances that the people were interacting at were much closer than before and also there was more touching of the shoulder and back while they were talking, but it was not the men who were doing the touching, it was mainly the women who were touching the men while they talked.

      The dominate sex throughout the night was not the men, who tried to control the conversations, but it was the women who controlled the night, from what bar we were going to, down to what the conversation topics were. For example one guy started talking about the NBA playoffs and one of the girls started talking louder about who knows what but it ended making the guy stop talking and whatever the girl was talking about became the new focal point of conversation.

      In an environment like this everyone was pretty likable and friendly but you can see that the dominate sex of the night were the women because they pretty much controlled the night.

  19. cahendy Says:

    I was not planning on working on this this past weekend but when I was in virginia beach out to dinner their was a prom group of about 12 kids, 6 girls and 6 guys eating before they went to prom. I found some funny observations becuase most of them were very awkward and uncomfortable.

    I think in this setting my observations are diffrent than everyone elses because the six girls who were all friends but all on a date with the other guys seemed much more comfortable and relaxed. I would say the girls were more independent in this setting. They were fine with going outside for a quick walk on their own or talking to random people or even just being loud, whereas the guys were attached to these girls by the hip. You could see the nervousness in their faces when their date would leave them for a minute, they did not know what to do.

    The men were more competetive, trying to be funnier or dumber or crazier than all the other guys to impress their dates. That is what I expected to see.

    The men were actually more submissive and the women were more powerful. Since it was prom night whatever they wanted the guy was right their giving it to them or telling them how they could make it happen. The women were louder, controlled the conversations and bossed the boys around (told them to move seats or what to order or not sometimes). The boys were so nervous around the girls that when they were talking the boys were pretty quiet and did not have much to say. They were not interested in talking to the other boys in the group while their dates were interested in talking to everyone in the group. I could even see some boys get upset that their dates were not talking to them as much as they would have liked.

    The girls were also more friendly and likeable. a few of them even came over and talked to our table some when we asked if it was prom but the guys just nodded or said yeah and stayed at the table.

    I think the reason for the girls being so outgoing and powerful and the boys being so submissive and quiet was because girls are just more comfortable at prom. First off girls are better at getting dressed up and love to do it. For guys it is so out of the norm to dress up that they get uncomfortable and uneasy and did not know how to act. Also I would guess that 3 of the guys were actually dating the girls because 3 guys were more relaxed and talkative with eachother. The other 3 guys I think liked the girls they took and were nervous about how the rest of the night was goign to go.

  20. tgbaldwin32 Says:

    This weekend I went to Starbucks for a time in order to observe men and women interacting. There were two couples of particular interest they sat two tables apart so that made paying attention to both of them at the same time fairly easy. I came in after they sat down so I cant say how they ordered but the nonverbal components given off of these two couples was staggering.

    The first couple I am going to say is a much more stereotypical couple than the second couple that I will talk about. The first couple it defiantly looked like the guy was the dominating one; he took up the most space and seemed very disinterested in what the female was saying. While the female acted like he was the only person in the room, it seemed like her whole undivided attention was focused on him. In the ways this couple acted over the next half hour or so, it seemed like the man saw far more independent and powerful in the relationship, they left when he wanted to leave but he was as kind as possible to the female. I couldn’t hear their full conversation only a few words here and there, but from what I could tell he was trying to make her as comfortable as possible, so I would say he is a friendly guy. The female was definitely more submissive of the two but she did have a power over him, she asked for another drink and he got up and got it for her.

    The second couple I observed was the exact opposites of the first couple. The female was the far more independent one and the male was very submissive to her. It was the female that seemed disinterested in what the male was saying and she took up the most space. While the male sat strait up at the edge of his seat focused all of his energy on her with his back to the rest of the room. I couldn’t tell what they were saying but I think the male was trying very hard to apologize for something and the female was taking full advantage of that. She had complete power over him and he was very submissive about it. I had to leave before they left because I had other arrangements but I left wondering what he did, or if this was just how there relationship was.

    I think gender stereotypes played a major part in the observation of the first couple because it seems like they were the norm “significant relationship” with each other. Although the second couple I don’t think stereotypes played a major part because they were so far out of the norm, at least out of the norm from what I have seen.

    • mbest88 Says:

      I thought how you talked about two completely different couples was pretty interesting. Even though stereotypically men are the powerful and strong ones it is important to remember that in some relationships women are the strong ones. There are definitely a whole lot of “wipped” men out there. There are a whole lot of very independant, strong women out there who have complete control over their submissive men. Even though there are many stereotypes about the men being more powerful, I think that in this day and age those are not always true.

  21. sbarmstrong Says:

    Like many others, I went to a coffee shop to conduct my observations. The couple I observed appeared have a business relationship. The woman was professionally dressed in a fitted blazer, pencil skirt and heels. The male was dressed in a more casual business attire consisting of khakis and a polo. The proxemics of the two were classic examples from the text. The woman uses less personal space as she sits in an upright, rigid position with her legs crossed and her arms close to her body. In contrast, the male is sitting in a more relaxed position with slouched posture, open arms and uncrossed legs. He uses a lot of hand gestures as he explains and converses with the female. His eye contact remains farly consistent as he talks, with an occasional glance down or to the side. The tone of his voice is also very consistent and doesn’t tend to vary.
    As the male does approximately 95% of the talking, the woman sends nonverbal cues of listening as she nods and inserts filler language such as “yes” and “uh huh” to ensure she is listening. She has very consistent eye contact with the male even as he looks away at times. She does not speak unless she asks a question. Both people seem engaged in the conversation but in different ways: the male talking, and the female listening.
    The male is definitely dominant in this setting. He does practically all the talking as the woman shows more submissive qualities as she only listens. The man is deemed more powerful/knowledgable as he is the only one talking. No touching is incorporated (with the exception of a handshake at the end of their discussion) and would probably be inappropriate for the business relationship they seem to hold.
    The gender roles are very classic in this situation, thus making me curious about the position in business each couple holds. Is the male dominant for the pure fact that he is a man, or does he hold a higher position than the woman in the possible business they are employed by? Would the dominance change if a woman CEO went to lunch with a male in a lower position? I would think the dominance in that situation would change by power and not by gender.

  22. flipmyflops06 Says:

    I used a previous observation on a trip to Cracker Barrel to observe a male and female couple interacting. A group of females including myself went out to eat breakfast and one of the females boyfriends met us later. The girl was vegetarian and ordered before her boyfriend arrived. The waiter said that it might not be possible to substitute the meat in the meal for something vegetarian but that she would try because the men in the back thought she was cute. The girl argued saying that it was ridiculous that vegetarians were not catered to and that it was simple to substitute meat for bread. The boy arrived and kissed his girlfriend before sitting down. He then looked at the menu and decided what to order. The girl pointed out things that the male might be interested in getting and told him of her previous experience. The male then ordered and asked to substitute the meat sides for something vegetarian but in a less aggressive way than his girlfriend did and the waiter said she would try. He then turned to his girlfriend and asked, “Did I do good?” referring to ordering vegetarian and his attempt to make a point to the waitress.

    This was interesting because the female seemed more dominant and aggressive than the male. The male was more dependent on his girlfriend’s approval than the female was of the males. He seemed to cater to what he thought she would approve of. This situation contradicts traditional gender stereotypes. The gender-roles seem switched in this particular situation.

    The male made more eye contact that the female in this situation. He seemed to be seeking approval by adhering to what his girlfriend wanted. The eye contact also showed that he was trying to be more attuned to what his girlfriend wanted. Also he initiated intimacy by kissing his girlfriend first though this could just be because he arrived later than her. This scenario differs from many of the above observations. This behavior doesn’t really seem to be the norm for more female-male relationships.

  23. kmacklin1107 Says:

    During the weekends I work at a skydiving facility, so this is where my observation came from. This past weekend was a four-way competition in which groups come together and then perform different actions in the air. One team was all female, two teams had two males and two females, and the final team had one female and three males. The team of all females were very comfortable with eachother while practicing (you have to grab on to the another person’s clothing, and sometimes this involves grabbing around the butt area or grabbing a chest strap which is of course by the breasts). They had no issue when having to grab these places and made firm grabs. The team that only had the one female kind of just guided the female around and told her where to go. She was an older female and they tried not to give her too much work. The youngest guy on the team would roll his eyes every so often when the lady was not catching on to what was happening. In one of the groups that had the two females and two males, they allowed one of the women the position of being in the lead. She is of course a fantastic skydiver with over 16,500 jumps so that had a lot of respect for her. At first the grips that they held on each other was a little light, like they weren’t quite sure if they should be grabbing these people in these places.

    Overall it was rather interesting to watch, because in one group the young guy was annoyed with the elder woman, but tried not to let her know. I only knew because I was watching what was going on. In the group of all girls there was no definate leader, they all just got a long and kind of let each girl have a turn at leading. It was interesting that the group that had the eldest female lead did that. There were two males in the group. I think that it goes to show how much they respected this woman.

    • mbest88 Says:

      First of all I think watching people at a skydiving place is awesome, that gives a totally different perspective from most people. In general I think that women are definitely more comfortable with touching than men. When I hang out with my roommates were all very touchy feely people. I don’t even think about it. We are all straight, and don’t cross the line with being touchy feely, but sometimes guys make comments about the touching saying stuff like oh look girl on girl. I think it’s stupid whats wrong with hugging and joking around. Most guys are too insecure to touch other guys. I think it’s so awesome when a guy is secure enough to hug or touch another guy.

  24. sam1503 Says:

    I chose to observe people while eating on my lunch break and the delicious Moe’s 🙂 The crowd that was dinning during this time were middle aged men and woman that seemed to be also on their lunch break. They were all dressed nicely, woman wearing more colors and patterns, while men wore plain colors with the occassional stripped shirt or bright color. For the most part the men were very polite. They opened the doors for the women, paid for the meals, and were the ones who got up for the ocassional refill or napkin run. I noticed that while dinning the women tended to control the conversation while the men threw a comment or two in every once in awhile. Most of the women smiled throughout the whole conversation (when they were not eating) while the men normally sat there with a blank stare on their face. Like i had mentioned earlier, the male employees were extra nice to the good looking women who came in alone, as compared to the couples or men that came. It was interesting to me to see how the men and women sat while eating and conversing. Most women sat leaning toward the table or the man across the table. The men who seemed interested in the conversation would also lean towards the table, however the ones who were not would slouch or lean back in their chairs. The few groups that came in with all females were interesting to watch also. Their conversations were very sparatic because each female would interupt the other trying to put her opinion into the conversation. I also noticed that the women did not mind sitting close to each other in comparison to the males who tended to sit farther away from each other.

    While I was dinning I did see one man sitting by himself, which I thought was pretty typical. Men tend to be more comfortable with sitting alone. I think this shows that normally men are more independant than women who usually need to go places in a group.

    After my observations I would say that women are definitely more submissive and emotional than men are. During my lunch I noticed that I could tell the woman’s emotion during the conversation, which i also noticed changed rapidly as topics changed.

    I would like to think that stereotypes did not effect my observations but in all honestly I’m sure that they did. I think it is hard for them not to. They are drilled into our brains for the majority of our life, and even though we may not agree with all of them, our knowledge of them effects our perception of how people act. I think that most of the stereotypes presented themselves in my observation, for example the stereotype that woman interupt more than men, which was proven false in our textbook.

    While I was reading our responses I started to wonder what the men in our class were thinking about some of the things that are said? With most of us being females it is easy for us to agree because we tend to see things from the same perspective, but I’m sure that some things that are said you may not agree with.

  25. catherineporter07 Says:

    My observation was done at a breakfast/coffee shop place at a resort I was staying in at the Bahamas last weekend. We were staying on a very remote part of the island, so the majority of the people who came in were locals rather than tourists. For that reason, I found the experience more interesting, as perhaps the dynamics between what stereotypes are established within their culture differ.

    In every instance, if a couple came in together -the male went to sitdown on the patio outside, and the women would go order the food and drinks for her and the man, and bring it to him to sit down. I noticed this on 8 different occasions. The onyl time in which this did not happen, was if a man came in by himself.

    The body langauge displayed by the women appeared to be service-oriented, perhaps submissive in approach, as she brought the food over and took it away when they were finished. Any sense of competitiveness was hard to note. The couples generally seemed very happy with one another and friendly with eachother, almost as if there was an acceptance of their different roles within the family, and in this case the women’s to serve the man during meal times. The man was thankful and appreciative when the women set his meal before him, and they sat and enjoyed conversation, laughing and carrying on. Because they have a different accent than do I, it was tough for me to pick up on what was actually being said, but the nonverbal communication seemed to be quite pleasant, respectful, and enjoyable for both individuals. I’m not sure that I could argue that either party was more independant than the other, as the man independantly chose where they would sit, while the women took care of the transaction.
    Although I do not feel confident making this judgement based on 30 minutes of observing in a foreign countries coffee shop, it did seem that perhaps the women is more “strong” emotionally than the man. When the man would thank the women for bringing him the food he was very appreciative, looking her in the eyes and smiling, almost with a deep sense of gratitude, while the women said you are thank you and continued on with conversation. This particular exchange I noticed 5 times out of the 8 different couples I observed.

    I’m not exactly sure how gender stereotypes influenced by observations, as what I observed was not what I expected to see. If anything, based on stereotypes I would have thought the man would take care of the transaction, where instead the women did. It certainly caught me off guard!

    • mattymac Says:

      Do you think that by the women ordering the food and drinks for the man (and thus, pay for the bill as well?), while he is left to “hold the fort,” it demonstrates that the women have more power in those particular relationship?

      Or, as you mentioned, does it demonstrate their submissive position in that, like a housewife, they bring the food to the table and serve it to their partners?

    • mattymac Says:

      Do you think that by the women ordering the food and drinks for the man (and thus, pay for the bill as well?), while he is left to “hold the fort,” it demonstrates that the women have more power in those particular relationships?

      Or, as you mentioned, does it demonstrate their submissive position in that, like a housewife, they bring the food to the table and serve it to their partners?

  26. chloea Says:

    I, too, didn’t really have time to set aside for this exercise, but I love to people watch. I did a lot of observing of the relationships surrounding me as well as the relationships in which I’m a part.

    My first observation is of a group with which I spent most of the weekend. We watched some movies, played games, and ate a couple meals together throughout the course of the weekend. When watching the movies, I found that the girls would pile on a couch together while the guys sat behind them in separate chairs. This same idea was displayed in my second observation group which I will get to in a minute. While the group was playing games, I noted my own comfortability with one of my guy-friends that is like a brother to me and compared it to another guy among the group that I was not comfortable with. I noticed how I recompensed for the personal space the 2nd guy encroached upon, while decreasing my personal space with the 1st. I also must say there was equal competitiveness around the table, both male and female. The guys were also willing to sacrifice their seats when eating dinner at my house. On another occasion I took note of eye contact and facial expressions. Eye contact clearly cued speaking rights. While I know that guys don’t make as much eye contact with each other, I found that conversing in a small group at a table allowed them to constantly redirect their attention with their eyes as the conversation moved from one to the other. I also noticed the girls breaking eye contact with the guys first or avoiding it as much as possible. Facial expressions were also used. The most notable was when one girl was smiling and laughed a little at nothing. One of the guys even asked her what was funny, and she had no logical response. That reminded me how our text states that women smile even when there’s nothing to smile about, but displays their friendliness.

    The other group I observed consisted of the patients and employees of Eye Care and Surgery (where I work). In general I found that the male patients made more eye contact with the female technicians than the technicians would make with them (supporting the research presented in the text). I also noted the personal bubbles of men in relationship to women again. We have a room we refer to as the dilation room where we let patients pass the time while their eyes dilate. At one point I recall a guy sitting in the middle of the longest bench while a tiny lady sat in a small chair in the corner of the room. It was obvious that the guy demanded more space than the woman and was less protective of his body (unlike the folded arms and crossed legs of the woman) and more comfortable.

  27. mbest88 Says:

    For this assignment I sat in Starbucks for about an hour, while I was finishing up today’s reading response, and observed the customers. It was interesting seeing the way that people conducted themselves. I noticed an obvious difference between the way that women and men walked in. Women were more dainty and smiled much more often. They tended to approach the counter slower. Men walked in much faster and acted much more masculine. They tended to have more serious facial expressions. Women also came in groups more often then men. The majority of the women had at least one other person with them. When women were in a group they standed closer together and touched much more often than men. The majority of them men kept their distance from each other even when they cam in together. Women definitely displayed more emotion than men, which goes along with that stereotype. This causes me to think that the women are more friedly and likeable than men. Someone who smiles and shows more emotion is more approachable than someone who doesn’t. Men come in groups much less often and therefore I would say that in general they are more independant. Men come across as more powerful because of the way that they approach the counter. They tended to walk right up to the counter. Pretty much all of what I witnessed goes along with the typical gender steroetypes. Women are more emotional and men have to be more powerful and strong. It was interesting watching everyone come in, but everyone acted pretty much how I would have expected them to.

    • mattymac Says:

      I also observed that women smiled much more frequently than men. When I first entered Panera, I was greeted by two females who were not saying anything and were not carrying on a conversation, yet they both had big, bright smiles on their faces.

  28. lckupke Says:

    I observed the employees and patients at Wallgreens while waiting for a prescription. The three female workers would smile every time when they greeted a patient at the counter and at the drive up window ( I could see their reflection). The two male employees were the opposite; they only offered a smile a couple of times, once to an attractive female customer, and another after a man cracked a joke. These distinctions caused the females to appear more friendly, approachable, and likeable, and the men to seem more in power and less emotional.
    All of that changed when the patients dispersed and the male and female employees were left to interact with each other. The three females completely dropped their smiles, stopped their chit chat, and began working diligently. The two men on the other hand, started joking around and laughing with each other. When one of the males tried to illicit a response from one of the females, the female didn’t smile or even respond politely to him, in fact she just kept staring straight at her computer monitor and muttered something under her breath…drama at the pharmacy! Also, the women did stand in a closed position with their arms and legs held in, while the men were more relaxed in their movements. These body movements would usually indicate that the men were more dominant than the females, but in this case I don’t think that assertion is correct.
    In this behind the scenes view of pharmacy technicians, the females came across as having a harder work ethic and being more competitive than the males. Seeing the females take their jobs more seriously made them more credible and trustworthy in my eyes. The females were the ones who claimed a dominance role and seemed to have more power when patients weren’t around. The women also probably came across as being more dominant because they had power in numbers; there were 3 of them vs. the 2 men.
    These nonverbal cues were generally opposite to the stereotypes we learned about, but nonetheless, I think it was advantageous for the females to change their persona when they interacted with patients. Employers are more likely to hire and promote hard-working, diligent, individuals who come across as likeable and approachable in social settings.

  29. mattymac Says:

    I really enjoyed this activity, as you might be able to tell from my lengthy response =)
    I observed people eating lunch at a Panera, and for most of the time, my attention was devoted to three to four groups of people, but I specifically analyzed one group in particular.

    One group consisted of two men and one woman. From my very first observation, I knew that the reason for their meeting was a business or financial matter based on the artifacts all three carried. They were all dressed in nice, professional dress. The men wore dress pants and shirts with ties while the woman wore what appeared to be a type of business jacket blouse, which in a way made her appear more masculine. However, she had long hair that she had clipped and let fall beyond her shoulders and she also wore a knee-length skirt, thus emphasizing that she is indeed a woman.

    At one point in their meeting, one of the men was the focus of the topic of conversation. While he spoke, he maintained eye contact with the woman only, and never once looked at the other man at the table. The woman also maintained eye contact with him. The other man maintained eye focus on the man who was speaking, but would often make aversive glances at the passersby. This demonstrates how when men are interacting with women, they tend to make more eye contact with women than with men. Also, when men are interacting with other men, they tend to make more aversive glances than if they were to be interacting with women.

    Throughout this meeting, one man appeared to dominate the majority of the conversation. He spoke the most, and his voice was the only one I heard through the crowd. Thus, he had a very resonant, deep, and full voice. He was also the most animated in his verbal communication, making a variety of gestures and facial expressions. It gave me the impression that he knew what he was talking about, was very outgoing, and very self-assured.

    One general nonverbal cue that I noticed in all the groups I analyzed was the fact that men operate in a much larger personal bubble than women. In the group above, both the men had their elbows and arms on the table while the woman kept hers at her side or in her lap. When the men gestured, it was very broad, whereas when the woman gestured only to her side and most of her gestures actually occurred beneath the level of the table, almost out of view of the men. The fact that most of her gestures were to her sides, compared to the men’s gestures which were to the front of them, made me think of a point Gamble and Gamble (2003) make: “Another difference in personal space is that women tend to react more negatively when their space is violated from the side, while men tend to react more negatively when their space is intruded from the front” (p. 101). Perhaps the men gestured to the front and the woman gestured to the side as a subconscious means to demonstrate that particular space was most protected.

    Another general nonverbal cue I saw all groups demonstrate was the body posture of those in the groups. Almost all the women were leaning in, demonstrating their role as the submissive listener and almost all the men were sitting upward, demonstrating their role as dominant communicator. Something that I thought was of interest was that in same sex dyads, there was almost always one person who was leaning in (playing the feminine role in communicating) and almost always one person who was sitting upright (playing the masculine role in communicating). Throughout the conversations, these groups and couples of people maintained these positions for the entire time. It made me wonder, primarily in the same sex dyads, what would cause for a male to play the feminine role and what would cause a female to play the masculine role. None of the men or women who crossed these stereotypical gendered roles reflected any other characteristic that is typical of their opposite sexes, so what could possibly contribute to the switch in role playing?

    Overall, men appeared to reflect the majority of the characteristics listed above than women (independent, competitive, rational, friendly, and likable being the primary characteristics observed). This is most likely because most of the groups I analyzed were business groups, based on the artifacts of the persons in the group. I typically associate the business world with men, since that is the gendered association I have grown up with. Also, seeing men using such a large personal space made them appear more dominant and more powerful than the women who mostly kept their spaces to their sides.

    A part of me wonders if I would have come to this conclusion if it were not for the fact that I had read the chapter before analyzing the nonverbal cues of others. The ideas purported by Gamble and Gamble might have influenced my interpretation of the cues. Instead of coming to my own conclusions, I followed the already established common meanings of the nonverbal cues discussed in the text.

  30. mattymac Says:

    Oh! I forgot to include the reference citation:

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

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s