Communication Between Men and Women: They Can\'t be the Same


In communication between men and women, the two genders always
communicate differently. Traditionally men communicate facts directly and are
less likely to discuss details that have little to do with the conversation.
Women traditionally are more careful about what they say and seek to build
relationships by the way they communicate. These two forms of communication,
direct (traditional male) and indirect (traditional female), are consistent
throughout most cultures. There are cases where the men communicate indirectly
and the women directly but not where both the genders communicate in the same
way. (Lakoff 627) If the two genders do communicate in the same way, there is
bound to be serious conflict that usually involves violence.
The movie Thelma and Louise tells the story of two women who have run
away from their traditional roles as women. They have been put under too much
pressure from society and especially men. Both Thelma and Louise feel a need to
change their position in society and they do it by changing the way they
communicate. This change in communication between men and women causes the
women to take on a stronger and more direct language which also included robbery
and murder. They change from the traditional female forms of communication to a
more masculine form of communication. Once they change, the men who they come
into contact with change the way they communicate as well, or they face serious
consequences. This demonstrates the fact that men and women are bound to
communicate differently. In the movie, Thelma and Louise react violently to men
who communicate directly to them after they have changed their form of
communication. These violent reactions are a result of the men breaking the
cultural ideal that men and women are bound to communicate differently. At the
beginning of the movie Thelma and Louise, Thelma and Louise were women who lived
lives of typical American women and communicated like one would expect a woman
communicate. They were concerned mainly about their relationships with men and
tried not to make them mad. However, they needed a break from their lives and
the two women decided to take a quick vacation. Their lives change when Thelma
is raped by a man she meets at a bar. When Louise shoots and kills the rapist,
after he mocks them, they change the way they communicate and act with other men.
They can no longer afford to seek or further emotional ties with men because
they are forced to make quick and decisive decisions. This creates a clear goal
they must achieve, and that is to get to Mexico to avoid being caught by the law.
Once they have this clear and concise goal (a trait that a man would have),
they begin to communicate with men more directly. They are less concerned with
the emotional ties they have with men, and they become focused on a single goal,
which is leaving the country.
The two cases where Thelma and Louise cause serious pain and sorrow to
men are the result of men not understanding that Thelma and Louise have changed
the way they communicate. These cases are when the Thelma and Louise pull the
truck driver over and when Louise shoots the rapist. The only chance any man
has to convince them of something, was if a man communicated like a woman
usually would. But since Thelma and Louise have changed their communication
style to a more direct style, they see the direct form of communication towards
them as a threat and act to eliminate that threat. In the case of the rapist
Harlen, he got caught in the cross over. Louise decided to communicate very
directly to the rapist which included shooting him in the heart. By threatening
to shoot him, it displays that she changed from an indirect form of
communication to a direct form of communication. Though violence is not
generally thought a form of communication, it conveyed the her feelings towards
him very directly and clearly. Harlen did not know that Louise had changed her
form of communication and preceded to communicate to her very directly by
insulting her and using very obscene language. When she changed the way she
communicated, she felt compelled to shoot him. If he would have changed his
communication style to one which is more understanding and concerned, he would
have not been shot because Louise would have not felt threatened by the him.
In the other case where a man does not recognize that Thelma and Louise
have changed their form of communication