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Monday, October 15, 2007

Chris R. Henley, Nancy & Jo Freeman. The Sexual Politics of Interpersonal Behavior. pgs 84-93

Chris Refsdal
WGS 220-05


  • Components of social interaction, both verbal and nonverbal, serve to continually remind women of their inferiority, so much so, that it becomes habitual. (pg. 84)


  • The posture and dress of women has generally been perceived as “restricted” and “confined”. While clothing from the beginning of the 20th century concealed much of a woman’s body, modern dress can still be seen as “confined”, being that most women’s clothing is made to be tight in order to highlight her features. (pg. 86)
  • Touching is seen as the action of a superior towards an inferior, so men generally initiate touching towards women. In this way, it is seen as an act of power. However, if women initiate touching, it is seen as an act of intimacy. (pg. 87-88)
  • Forms of verbal dominance, such as swearing and interrupting, are most often seen in men. Swearing allows men to vent their anger without resorting to physical violence, yet women are encouraged to simply direct their anger inwards. Likewise, men were found to more often interrupt conversation than women. (pg. 89)


  • Implied. The asymmetry in the interpersonal behaviors of the sexes should be eliminated. One sex should not have so many means of power and dominance over the other.


  • Simply acknowledging that an asymmetry exists is the first step towards change. However, this does not mean that women should simply start using the actions of power and dominance that men have used. As shown, these actions could be misinterpreted as signs of intimacy or otherwise. Instead, the gradual revealing of emotions and increased expressivity in both sexes could better both the individual and society as a whole. (pg. 91)

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