analysis of women talk too much

Analysis of “Women Talk Too Much”

In “Women Talk Too Much” Janet Holmes debunks the stereotype of the garrulous woman, which reflects sexist prejudice rather that objective reality (301). Holmes dispels the “language myth” that women talk too much. Holmes provides proverbs from different centuries, cultures, and countries to show that the perception that women talk more is a universal stereotype. Holmes provides research studies and facts to prove the amount of a talk depends. From this article we learn that the context of communication and situation is a first reason of gender language use. Second, the social confidence and topic familiarity are other reasons why women speak less than men. The last main point is that women tend to be silent because men think they talk too much when they just talk. The author asserts that the claim that women talk too much is inherently biased.

Although people think women talk more than men, Janet Holmes asserts that it is a myth and, to support her claims, she provides relevant evidence in a logical manner. Her answer to “Do women talk more than men?” cannot be answered easily; the answer is “ it depends.” Holmes claims that the idea women talk more than men is a universal stereotype. To debunk this stereotype her opposing argument is that men tend to talk more than women, which is clearly stated in her article. Holmes argues that it depends on situation and context of the communication whether women talk more or men. Men talk more in public and in formal contexts, to develop their social status and show their power; however, women like to talk in private and in informal contexts with people they are close to where they develop their social connections, reinforce private relationships, and maintain their close family relationships. Second, women tend to talk when they have social confidence and are familiar with the topic of the conversation. Third, men unconsciously compare women’s talk with silence, so whenever women are speaking men perceive them to be talking a lot no matter how much women are talking. The purpose of her article is to debunk and dispel the stereotype that women talk more than men. Holmes states her purpose explicitly and accomplishes the purposes very well.

To support her argument Holmes uses proverbs from different countries and cultures to prove that the idea women talk more than men is a universal stereotype. One proverb from China attributes power to the woman speaker: “The tongue is the sword of a woman and she never lets it become rusty” (300). She states that some people think women’s talk is not valued but is rather considered noisy, irritating prattle, and she gives Japanese proverb: “Where there are women and geese there’s noise” (300). Holmes uses proverbs from different cultures to show how wide spread the stereotypes are. In addition, Holmes supports her opposing argument that men talk more than women by providing relevant evidence. Her evidence against the stereotype are statistics based on research from different countries. A research study by two Canadian researchers, Deborah James and Janice Drakich, showed that from sixty-three studies, which examined the amount of talk used by American women and men in different contexts, women talked more than men only in two studies out of sixty-three. It shows that men talked more than women in sixty-one studies. This evidence proves Holmes’ second point, women tend to talk when they have social confidence and are familiar with the topic. Her second evidence comes from British company, which appointed four women and four men to the eight most highly paid management positions. During company meetings men tended to dominate the conversations and patronized the women by ignoring women’s opinions. The men tended to talk more because they perceived participating and verbally contributing in formal situations to show their status to the public, and show their knowledge of their specialty. This evidence proves Holmes’s first point that men talk more in formal contexts, public situations to show their social status and power. The variation of gender talk is even true in private discussions. Holmes also gives another piece of evidence that supports this interpretation of the kind of talk women and men contribute in mixed-sex discussions.

The evidence is based on research that men tend to contribute more information and opinions, while women contribute agreement and supportive talk. In other words men’s talk is more referential and informative, while women’s talk is more supportive and facilitative. The experience of a sixteen-year-old girl in a high school class was evidence for Holmes’ last point. The girl pretended to not understand the teacher or the topic in order to avoid negative attention from boys and the teacher. According to the girl, girls speaking up in class is often perceived as “showing off” and that is why girls have preferred to keep a low profile. This evidence proves Holmes’s last point for the opposing argument; women tend to be silent because of men’s prejudice; women tend to avoid men’s discrimination and judgments by being silent. Holmes’ article is well organized for general audience and it is very easy for readers to read it and understand. Holmes starts her article with the question “Do women talk more than men?” which introduces the topic of the essay. In her essay, Holmes uses subheadings in order to make sure readers will not get confused while they are reading the article. The subheadings help readers know what the next paragraph is going to be about. For example her first subheading is “The Evidence” and it is clear to readers that in that paragraph she is going to talk about the evidence. Her second subheading is “Looking for an Explanation.” She starts this section with a specific question: “Why is the reality so different from the myth?” (301) and to answer this question Holmes in the rest of the essay goes beyond broad generalization and looks more carefully at the identified patterns.

Holmes does not use academic or scientific vocabulary; instead, she uses simple words, which allows the readers to read the article and understand what the author is trying to tell us. Holmes does not use academic or scientific words because, as I mentioned earlier, the article is written for general audience and it would be hard for normal readers to comprehend academic words and follow the author’s ideas. Over all, the organization of the essay is very effective, and it is very easy to follow the author’s thoughts. In conclusion, the article “Women Talk Too Much” by Janet Holmes is an essay that debunks and dispels the stereotype of the garrulous woman, which reflects sexist prejudice rather that objective reality. Holmes claims that this stereotype is a myth and to support her claims she provides relevant evidence in a logical manner. The evidence from British company, two Canadian researchers and experience from sixteen-year-old high school girl supports all her three points about women’s language use. The final answer for to question “Do women talk more than men?” cannot be answered by “yes” or “no.” The answer is “it depends.” It depends on different factors such as social context, the social confidence, and familiarity with the topic. Although this article gives an answer to the question but still a lot of men and women argue over and over about who talks more.

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