Women as marginalized group

Chapter 34
Women As A Marginalized Group (Pages 444-446)

I like that Wood uses relational dialectic theory as a framework for her standpoint studies because it is one of the theory’s I chose for my Comm theory & Me assignment. She focuses on autonomy versus connectedness to highlight gender differences regarding communicative styles. “Men tend to want more autonomy; women tend to want more connectedness” (444). Is this biologically engrained within genders, or is it the “result of a cultural expectation” (444)? I agree with Wood, in that, “biology is not destiny”(445). The problem is that the minute we are born, we have got the majority of the world telling us who and what we are based upon or gender. It is the first thing that our parents or anyone know about us at birth. It may not be destiny, but we are going to be hard-pressed to fight those labels. Do we ever wonder where the definitions of “what it means to be a girl/boy,” come from? I think that is what scares me the most, is that we do not question the definition, nor who created it. In doing so we further perpetuate it. Griffin sums it up when saying, “People at the top of the societal hierarchy are the ones privileged to define what it means to be female, male or anything else in a given culture” (445). This is similar to “making meaning through discourse” and the power of the press in Chapter 26. Those who are privileged and powerful enough to have a platform are the ones who ultimately create these cultural identities, which are then perpetuated. These cultural identities have the power to, “draw people to the center of society or push them out to the fringes” (444).


  1. Thanks for the insights about this interesting concept. I wish I had chosen this theory for my paper. Also, I agree with you and Wood that “biology is not destiny”. I also agree that, sadly, the majority of the world keeps reinforcing gender roles. Wood states that gender is a social construct. The discussion about care giving goes to this point. Society expects certain roles of men and women. In Wood’s book about this subject, she explains how a woman is “good” when she sacrifices her work for care giving, but a man is not. A man is “good” when he focuses on his work instead of care giving. I know many couples where the woman is more educated and more accomplished than the man, yet the roles at home are as traditional as in my grandparents’ days.

    On a related note, at the end of chapter 33, Gilligan states that women and men think and speak in ethically different voices. Like Tannen, Gilligan believes that most men seek autonomy whereas most women seek connection. Gilligan further asserts that men’s moral compass is focused on justice whereas women’s moral orientation is directed by care. That is because, men are driven by impersonal and absolutist values, such as justice, which sometimes disregard human aspects. Women, on the other hand, are driven by sensitivity to others. Gilligan’s colleague, Kohlberg, presents a premise that women are less morally mature than women, which is a shocking perspective.

  2. I agree that biology is not destiny. We are raised a certain way and that makes us who we are. Our traditions of our cultures and societies are deeply ingrained in our minds and its hard for us to ever find a reason to question the norm. Who were those powerful people that decided how we would act? Their standpoints definitely made a difference in the way we all act today.