Gender, Power, and Communication in Human Relationships

By Pamela J. Kalbfleisch; Michael J. Cody | Go to book overview

were these particular tactics useful on the men? Clearly, if the typical male simply wants to buy several objects as quickly and as efficiently as possible (and get out of the store), an effective approach is simply to help him find the desired object, praise his selection when he picks a particular shirt, sweater, or whatever, and then recommend an accessory that complements his choice.

Our observations also suggest that individuals' beliefs play an important role in determining the effectiveness of a salesclerk or a particular tactic. For instance, male (clothing) shoppers do in fact spend more time and money when clerks are female, rather than male -- either because they believed female clerks are more knowledgeable concerning fashions and clothing, and they deferred to them because of this expertise, and/or because men are susceptible to the praise statements and other statements of ingratiation used on them.

What, then, does our chapter say about the relationships between men and women? Clearly, the two most significant statements we can make about relationships are (a) that shopping should not be, and in the future will not remain, solely in the domain of "women's work;" and (b) that shopping should be recognized as a necessary, valuable task that should not be devalued. Changes in expectations for who is responsible for shopping, however, will not be implemented easily. Indeed, despite the fact that the media may portray men shopping, cleaning, and vacuuming (e.g., Tony Danza in "Who's the Boss?" and the "Tanners in Full House"), expectations concerning who and how basic daily tasks are assigned to and completed by men and women have not been significantly altered (also see Rogers, Hirata, Chandran & Robinson, this volume). We've already noted, for instance, that fathers rarely shop with their children, and teenage boys rely on their mothers to shop. Why should such a bias continue? Ironically, women have learned (over the decades) to purchase their own automobiles, computers, and so on, whereas many males have not learned to engage in basic and necessary activities such as buying clothes, or buying gifts (that will be not returned or exchanged). However, as the number of working women continues to increase, and economic and/or other conditions produce families with more than one "bread-winner," changes are inevitable. As such conditions induce more men into the marketplace, we may not only witness dramatic shifts in individuals' goals, plans, and resources for shopping, but also in individuals' beliefs about the importance of sharing shopping duties. If so, there will be fewer gender differences, and a movement toward greater gender equality.


REFERENCES

Barak B., & Stern B. ( 1986). "Women's age in advertising: An examination of two consumer age profiles". Journal of Advertising Research, 25,38-47.

Barry T. E., Gilly M. C., & Doran L. E. ( 1985). "Advertising to women with different career orientations". Journal of Advertising Research, 24,26-35.

Becker B. J. ( 1986). "Influence again: An examination of reviews and studies of gender differences in social influence". In J. S. Hyde & M. C. Linn (Eds.), The psychology of gender: Advances through meta-analysis (pp. 178-209). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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