Going back to my original post regarding Looking while Talking and Listening, I found something specific relating to men and women and different interactions in different social power situations (Dovidio, Ellyson, Keating, Heltman and Brown, 1988). From my reading of this article, men and women exhibited equal patterns of dominance if in the dominant interaction and appeared to be equally submissive when in the subordinate position, relative to the one (of opposite gender) they were interacting with. However, when men and women were of equal standing within the interaction, men showed the dominant behaviour, while women displayed the more submissive behaviour. (Dominant behaviour in this article was demonstrated by the ratio of looking while speaking to looking while listening, as described earlier (Ellyson and Long, 1975). High visual dominance ratios are associated with high social power.)
I guess the next question I have is why? Does this research imply that women generally feel subordinate to men, even when they are of equal position, say in a work situation? Is this why we still have women working in the same positions as men and getting paid so much less? This is particularly evident in the higher powered occupations where you might expect to see some formidable women, not as, this research shows, women displaying subordinate behaviour! And what does this research tell us in terms of “equal” partnerships between men and women, in marriage, as parents? Is the difference only between heterosexual males and females?
So many questions…but that’s what makes it all so fascinating and keeps us going and looking for more!