Purpose of this group and Y not?

dr._margaret_martens at FTDETRCK-CCMAIL.ARMY.MIL dr._margaret_martens at FTDETRCK-CCMAIL.ARMY.MIL
Tue Feb 20 16:26:19 EST 1996

     Our mail server went down last Friday, so I ended up reading all of 
     the posts in these two threads today (wow, what a task).  I found that 
     reading the posts en-masse provided me with a somewhat different (and 
     interesting) view of the discussion.  It seems to me that what 
     occurred here is just the type of male-female communication problem 
     that Deborah Tannen discusses in her books.  That is, Ed McNalley's 
     initial criticism of this group was that (please correct me if I 
     misinterpret) he was seeking specific information and that instead of 
     providing information the group spent most of its time complaining.  
     On the other hand, the women posters resonse was that this is the kind 
     of useful discussion that we as women need and desire.  According to 
     Tannen, the former (seeking and imparting information) is one of the 
     main objects of conversation for men, whereas the purpose of 
     conversation for women is connection and validation.  In fact one of 
     the posters (I don't recall who) said that she appreciated knowing 
     that she was not alone in her experiences as a woman scientist - a 
     very female point of view.  Because focus of the discussions and the 
     conversational style used in this group are typically female they can 
     be easily misinterpreted as complaining when viewed from the male 
     I think that at least some of the acrimony that occurred was a result 
     of just this type of misunderstanding and misinterpretation on both 
     sides.  It points out that we all should be more careful when reacting 
     to statements made by persons of the opposite gender, recognizing that 
     men and women communicate very differently.
     Margaret Martens, Ph.D.

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