They Cant be the SameIn communication between men and women, the two genders always communicate differently. Traditionally men communicate facts directly and are less likely to discuss details that have little to do with the conversation. Women traditionally are more careful about what they say and seek to build relationships by the way they communicate. These two forms of communication, direct (traditional male) and indirect (traditional female), are consistent throughout most cultures.
There are cases where the men communicate indirectly and the women directly but not where both the genders communicate in the same way. (Lakoff 627) If the two genders do communicate in the same way, there is bound to be serious conflict that usually involves violence. The movie Thelma and Louise tells the story of two women who have run away from their traditional roles as women. They have been put under too much pressure from society and especially men. Both Thelma and Louise feel a need to change their position in society and they do it by changing the way they communicate.
This change in communication between men and women causes the women to take on a stronger and more direct language which also included robbery and murder. They change from the traditional female forms of communication to a more masculine form of communication. Once they change, the men who they come into contact with change the way they communicate as well, or they face serious consequences. This demonstrates the fact that men and women are bound to communicate differently.
In the movie, Thelma and Louise react violently to men who communicate directly to them after they have changed their form of communication. These violent reactions are a result of the men breaking the cultural ideal that men and women are bound to communicate differently. At the beginning of the movie Thelma and Louise, Thelma and Louise were women who lived lives of typical American women and communicated like one would expect a woman communicate. They were concerned mainly about their relationships with men and tried not to make them mad. However, they needed a break from their lives and the two women decided to take a quick vacation. Their lives change when Thelma is raped by a man she meets at a bar.
When Louise shoots and kills the rapist, after he mocks them, they change the way they communicate and act with other men. They can no longer afford to seek or further emotional ties with men because they are forced to make quick and decisive decisions. This creates a clear goal they must achieve, and that is to get to Mexico to avoid being caught by the law. Once they have this clear and concise goal (a trait that a man would have), they begin to communicate with men more directly. They are less concerned with the emotional ties they have with men, and they become focused on a single goal, which is leaving the country. The two cases where Thelma and Louise cause serious pain and sorrow to men are the result of men not understanding that Thelma and Louise have changed the way they communicate.
These cases are when the Thelma and Louise pull the truck driver over and when Louise shoots the rapist. The only chance any man has to convince them of something, was if a man communicated like a woman usually would. But since Thelma and Louise have changed their communication style to a more direct style, they see the direct form of communication towards them as a threat and act to eliminate that threat. In the case of the rapist Harlen, he got caught in the cross over. Louise decided to communicate very directly to the rapist which included shooting him in the heart. By threatening to shoot him, it displays that she changed from an indirect form of communication to a direct form of communication.
Though violence is not generally thought a form of communication, it conveyed the her feelings towards him very directly and clearly. Harlen did not know that Louise had changed her form of communication and preceded to communicate to her very directly by insulting her and using very obscene language. When she changed the