Speech Study Guide

innate identification as a man or woman and the differences and similarities in how men and women behave, what they value, and what they believe. Behavior has changed over time. It used to be unacceptable for women to speak in public or for men to take care of children. Gender roles are the specific role that are prescribed by their culture. These differences and similarities are influenced by society. As society changes, the expectations of how men and women behave and what they value change with society. In modern culture and in many places, it is acceptable for women to venture into public alone or to speak in public. Socially constructed ideals about roles, behaviors, and modes of dress are influenced by different cultures and vary from culture to culture. In regard to sexual orientation, sometimes men and women deviate from widely acceptable socially constructed norms. Sexual orientation refers to a person’s sexual preference in relation to the gender they are attracted to. This includes being heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. An audience’s gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation affect their experiences, values, and issues they may be passionate about and how they will receive a speech. Women may be more concerned about certain women’s health issues while menmay be more concerned about men’s health issues. Women also tend to be more concerned about providing a nurturing home rather than the most technologically advanced home. Sometimes men are more concerned about the stock market and the economy. A good speaker will convince men to participate in topics, events, and causes which are usually women’s concerns and be able to convince women to do the same for men. Additionally, a good speaker will be able to address those of different races and ethnicities. Race is a complicated concept. In order to define the term, it can be said that race is associated with biology. Race refers to a group of people that have distinct physical characteristics, which can cause people to treat other people differently because of these biological traits (racism). Due to encompassing political, social, and personal definitions, race has come to be about more than biology and genetics. When someone identifies with a particular race this provides some indications about how they view themselves and the world around them. The United States is commonly referred to as a “melting pot” but today’s trend is giving way to some new metaphors, such as, the “salad bowl.” The term “melting pot” first came about due to an immense immigration the U.S. experienced. It was believed that cultures just melted and meshed to become one big culture. As years passed, it was realized that different racial groups have not melted together, but maintained their own culture while adopting certain attributes of their surrounding culture. In other words, a “salad bowl” concept where each group maintains themselves and adopts part of the whole around them, so eventually there are many microcultures within the larger culture. The “salad bowl” mentality has led to racism. Racism is the belief in the superiority or inferiority of particular races, which leads to prejudice, antagonism, fear, and oppression. It denies essential humanity of those who are different and limits their potential for successful communication. Racism comes about from individuals who are not tolerant of those who are different. In order to be an effective speaker, one must be able to address someone of a different race. Regardless of race, everyone has a different experience with life, even if those lives occurred within blocks of each other. A speaker of one race who is addressing an audience of people of a different racial background has to be able to take into account the different experiences and perspectives the audience members will have due to their race. Similar to racial identification, ethnicity affects how an audience will receive a speech. Ethnicity is the cultural background of an individual, where they are from, and where their family is from. An individual may choose to identify closely with the ethnicity of their parents, where the individual


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