Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Cross-Gender Communication: A Gateway to the 21st Century

Academic journal article Journal of Research in Gender Studies

Cross-Gender Communication: A Gateway to the 21st Century

Article excerpt

"One is not born a woman, one becomes one.''''

Globalization refers to the integration and interaction among people of different nations, covering political, economic and cultural trends, with effects on the environment and on the well-being of the individual.

Globalization often functions as little more than a synonym for one or more of the following phenomena: the pursuit of classical liberal (or "free markef') policies in the world economy ("economic liberalization"), the growing dominance of western (or even American) forms of political, economic, and cultural life ("westernization" or "Americanization"), the proliferation of new information technologies (the "Internet Revolution"), as well as the notion that humanity stands at the threshold of realizing one single unified community in which major sources of social conflict have vanished ('global integration').2

The process of globalization involves major changes in the social existence of the individual and it represents a consequence of a progress. In the last years, society has changed a lot due to the many developments in technology, science or transport.

On this background emerged the problem of women's emancipation and their desire to be part of the society with equal rights. In the past women were not allowed to vote or to study at prestigious universities like Oxford or Cambridge. They studied at other universities but they did not receive a degree until 1947. Their main preoccupation and role was to be homemakers. Some of the women from the lower classes could work in factories - a pleasant thing at that time - as it meant an escape from chores of a housewife. But the situation has changed. Nowadays more and more women go to study at universities, they run companies and are members of Parliament. Freedom of choice is a basic requirement for a democratic society. The process of urbanization has also contributed to the emancipation of women and therefore, the situation has evolved if comparing it with Jane Austen's milieu.

When discussing about the Victorian period the focus of any reader is on women, because they had a different place in society. The only possible career for them was marriage and their sole preoccupation had to be learning to sing, to dance, to speak foreign languages or to behave as innocently and ignorantly as possible. They also had to wear nice and fashionable clothes as this reflected their husband's wealth and position in society. The ideal woman was a weak and delicate one, incapable of making decisions and wholly dedicated to family life. Their single duty was to procreate, bring up children and to take care of the household, while the man was regarded as the breadwinner in the family. They had to follow etiquette rules like wearing a different gown on each occasion, moment or meal of the day. Some of them would change their outfit even six times a day. But by the 1900s, the situation has changed. The railway, the telephone, the camera or the bicycle led to new thinking, revolutionizing women's lives. Some of them sought reform, demanding rights for voting, and access to birth control information or better job prospects.

Gender Studies analyses the way we view and interact with the world. It focuses on both genders, considering social, economic, political or cultural differences and similarities in the past, present and future. They might provide solutions to the problems our contemporary society has to cope with nowadays such as: the different needs of men and women; difficulties in having both a satisfactory family life and a good position at work; the skepticism regarding women who enter leading positions. All these factors lead to an alteration of the relationships between men and women who fail to cooperate successfully or to sort out interpersonal conflicts.

If in the past gender was strictly referring to women, today, the significance of the word broadened. The term gradually expanded:

Everything began with a simple dichotomy sex/gender. …

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