Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Women, church and communication

Some interesting thoughts from Jenny Baker via Jonny Bakers blog:

a post from the archive, 'what women want', on how men and women relate in church, and the effects of our nervousness about friendships between men and women:

Because there has been such an unspoken fear of inappropriate relationships between men and women developing, most opportunities for strong healthy relationships have been squashed as well. Women are safe to converse with in larger groups but not one to one. It's OK to encourage them but not to mentor them. You can chat over coffee at the dinner table but not go down the pub and have a beer together. Single women are, of course, especially dangerous. And so the conversations and networking tend to happen in separate gender groups and are all the poorer for it.

and more recently, a review of 'the myth of Mars and Venus', a book examining the evidence or otherwise behind John Grays bestselling franchise on how men and women relate and communicate. A snippet:

The belief that women talk more than men, for example, was boosted by a book called The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine which claimed that women utter 20,000 words a day while men utter 7,000. The claim got huge publicity because it made great soundbite science, but was not based on any actual research. When the author was challenged to reveal her sources, she admitted that there was no evidence for the claim and withdrew the statistic from subsequent editions of the book. But in terms of perpetuating myths, the damage has been done and the ‘fact’ of women’s talkativeness has entered our common mythology.

I wonder what proportion of accepted 'facts' are false? There are now various websites devoted to exploding urban legends, including Snopes, truthorfiction, and a recent example from Urban Legends. They're normally my first point of call when I get one of those 'this is such a scandal you must forward to all your friends immediately' emails. 99% are hoaxes.

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