When do Chinese girls order boys around?
Culture and context in gender differences in communicative strategies by 5-year-old Mandarin-speaking children
The study examines gender differences in communicative strategies of Mandarin-speaking children in Beijing, China. Five-year-olds naturalistic discourse shows that both girls and boys can be bossy and demanding on the one hand, and submissive and tolerant for impositions and chastisement on the other, depending on contexts. Girls are impositive and chastising in the social/moral domain, where boys are most tolerant of and submissive to imposition. In contrast, boys are most impositive and chastising in the technical/problem-solving domain, where girls are most tolerant of imposition and admissive of inferiority. These gender differences make mixed-sex group interactions appear smooth and uneventful, and make same-sex group interactions appear competitive and problematic. These results call for a theoretical shift from an Essentialist universal perspective to a more culturally-sensitive, local and contextualized approach in research on gender and language communication, short of falling into a completely relativist Postmodern approach.
Cited by 2 other publications
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