Gendered Expectations Make It Harder To Express Ourselves

Gendered Expectations Make It Harder To Express Ourselves

Masculine and feminine communication is encouraged by societal norms, which can make it hard to be our most authentic selves.

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I'm a communications major. In actuality, I'm a communication management major, which is confusing to explain to those who are not familiar with the program, or in the program, themselves. Communication management, to me, involves learning how to communicate effectively on a more interpersonal level, with a focus on micro-communication. This is a different level of communication than that of how the media communicates messages to us on a macro level. Because my major is so focused on the day-to-day, interpersonal interactions, I find myself pointing out communications theories, in real life, to the people I feel comfortable with. I totally own this nerdy and dorky side of myself, and it does not stop me from applying the concepts learned in class, to my life.

Last semester, I took a gender communication course with one of my favorite professors. One of the concepts we learned that really stuck with me is this notion of gendered speech communities, which translates to more masculine communication on one side of the spectrum and more feminine communication on the other side of it. I have a running joke with my parents when I identify a more masculine or a more feminine communication pattern in a conversation with, that that's just gendered speech communities at it again!

The further individuals get into their selected majors, the more overlap there is in different courses. This idea of gendered speech communities followed me into my communication and negotiation course, which I have written previous articles about because I have come to adore this class so much. At one point in the semester, this professor encouraged the idea of the "neutral no," which is simply saying no, with no emotion and no explanation behind it. More feminine communicators, who have been encouraged by societal norms and expectations, have fallen into this role of following the word, no, with an explanation, an excuse, or an apology.

My communication and negotiation professor brought to light this idea of how women have been conditioned and encouraged to be agreeable and soft, while men have been conditioned to be more stoic and less expressive about their emotions. From the evolutionary standpoint, women are the nurturers, the gatherers, the ones who are supposed to be warm, the caregivers, while men were the hunters, the fighters, the protectors. These roles have been encouraged by gendered speech communicators in modern day society.

Women who go against this societal expectation and norm, who are more masculine communicators tend to be colder, more stoic, can set clear boundaries, have no problem saying neutral no's, with no explanation and no apology; they are not afraid to be direct and to the point, which can sometimes be offputting to people who are not used to that kind of communication from a woman. They can be perceived as an "iron maiden" who can't be hurt and don't express emotions since it's a sign of weakness.

At the end of the day, no matter what kind of communicator you are, we all are human. We all have feelings. We don't owe anyone anything, including explanations or apologies along with our no. Men fall into the trap of societal expectations and norms as women do, with being encouraged not to express emotions or show vulnerability, because it is a sign of weakness, and you aren't a " real man" if you do do that. That isn't fair, either, because, again, at the end of the day, we're all human beings.

We all experience heartbreak, joy, sadness, loneliness, happiness, and should be able to express that and more, and just be our complete and most authentic selves with no shame. We all should be able to say yes to what we want and no to what we don't want without it being an issue of obliging to social cues, norms, and expectations. No can actually be a love word, as it's been said before, and it can be so empowering to simply say it, with no explanation or apology. Those who really care about you and value you will respect your no, no matter how you choose to say it.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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