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Film Catalog » Subject Areas » Sociology » Marriage and the Family » Gender and Relationships: Male-Female Differences in Love and Marriage

Gender and Relationships: Male-Female Differences in Love and Marriage

Gender and Relationships: Male-Female Differences in Love and Marriage - Image Produced by Dane Archer.
42 min. Color. 2002.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: Yes
Catalog #: 0011
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Sale Price: $295.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

One of the most important journeys in human life is the quest for a satisfying, enduring love relationship. This search is nearly universal, and a lasting love is the goal of most people in most societies. This search has an unparalleled power and immerses us in many of the strongest emotions we will experience in our entire lives.

This often humorous, often poignant, and always profound video explores the differences in the ways that men and women experience the love relationship. It goes beyond mere analysis and examines ways to make a relationship work better for both men and women. Some potential problems reflect important gender differences and needs, while others involve gendered expectations about the love relationship itself.

The video features men and women from a variety of cultural and social backgrounds who provide eloquent -- and sometimes rueful -- testimony on how gender differences affect love, courtship, "couplehood," marriage, emotions, understanding, and sensitivity. In powerful and revealing interviews, they discuss what women believe is the most important thing a man needs to know about women, and what men believe is the most important thing a woman needs to know about men.

The video begins in infancy, with the ways society constructs boys and girls with gendered ideas about who we are, what is important about us, and what we need. It goes on to illustrate how the differential treatment of boys and girls ensures that they will bring to a love relationship different gifts, needs, and goals.

Our search for love relationships is also influenced by deep-seated ideas about how women and men "should" behave in courtship, love, and marriage. The video examines this socialization process by looking at "etiquette" guidelines for women and men. One hilarious scene follows a young woman as she tries to use the advice she has read on how to attract a man -- but with dubious results.

The video also explores how women and men detect "attraction signals." These are subtle, fleeting, critical nonverbal cues that can lead to a relationship -- but only if they are detected and accurately interpreted. Verbal communication is also examined, especially the presumed goals of conversation. The video demonstrates how gender differences can lead one partner to regard a conversation as enjoyable, while the other person sees the very same exchange as confusing, enigmatic, or even irritating.

In powerful sequences, children give their views on love and relationships and adults describe lost loves and their devastating impact on their lives. One extraordinary young woman confesses that she has created -- after an important relationship has failed -- a series of secret "tests" to determine quickly if any man she meets is even capable of deeply caring for her needs.

The video also introduces non-traditional couples, considers evolving meanings of "marriage," "family," and "parent," and reveals the anguish and problems caused by the denial to non-traditional couples of the rights and privileges routinely given to traditional couples.

There is a consistency, power, and persuasiveness in these revelations, and all viewers of "Gender and Relationships" will emerge with an enhanced understanding of what women and men bring to a love relationship, and -- just as important -- what they need to get from it.

This work is destined to become a classic and a "must-see" for students in many disciplines, including psychology, sociology, women's and gender studies, communication, nonverbal behavior, anthropology, and many others. It was produced by Prof. Dane Archer, of UC Santa Cruz, and is imbued with the same flair, instructional effectiveness, and vitality that have made all of his best-selling videos on nonverbal behavior, cultural differences, and communication favorites of students and faculty alike.


"I have used many of Professor Archer's excellent videotapes in my courses over the past decade, and I have always found them to be both highly informative and thought-provoking for my students. This newest one discusses (and demonstrates) various aspects of gender differences in relationships in ways that will interest students and challenge their preconceptions. This video raises issues that are at the forefront of our students' lives, and it will be a powerful pedagogical tool in the classroom. -- Robin Akert, Prof. of Psychology, Wellesley College, author of Social Psychology: The Heart and the Mind

"Prof. Archer's method of showing real people uttering their real thoughts works superbly in this film. No experts talking about gender and relationships could be a fraction as powerful as hearing people reflect on their own perceptions and relationships. Every segment offers food for discussion and debate. Many important topics are brought up in an engaging, provoking, yet highly personal way. No one in the audience can come away feeling untouched by one -- and probably many -- of the themes discussed in this film." -- Judith Hall, Prof. of Psychology, Northeastern Univ., author of Nonverbal Sex Differences

"There are few topics more interesting to students than gender differences and romantic relationships. In this wide-ranging video, Dane Archer explores gender and intimacy in a way that is sure to engage and enlighten students. In scenes that range from silly to sad, this video looks at gender differences in flirting and seduction, dating and marriage, breakups and divorce, and even attempts to answer the questions, "What do women want?" and "What do men want?" Archer has managed to capture people's honest assessments of the joys and disappointments of intimate relationships. Students are sure to have strong reactions to the statements made by people who appear in the video, so each brief segment of the video can serve as a springboard for class discussions. The video summarizes important research findings and gives teachers a terrific new tool for provoking student discussions." -- Mark Costanzo, Prof. of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College

"Undergraduate students will find this film accessible and engaging. It looks at gender and relationships from multiple viewpoints across age, sexual orientation, and race. I can use it in my 'Introduction to Women and Gender Studies' course to open up dialogue about constructions of masculinity and femininity, roles within relationships, and notions of privilege. The section that raises the question: 'If you (women) suddenly had a chance to tell one million men one thing that would help them understand women better, what would that one thing be?' was particularly interesting in terms of the consensus among the women and the lack of consensus/response among the men. Given that dating is a 'hot' topic among undergraduates, the sections pertaining to 'Who calls first or not?'; 'How did you know s/he was the one?'; 'How did you meet?'; (etc.) will certainly spark interest!" -- Charlene Tung, Prof. of Women's and Gender Studies, Sonoma State Univ.

"Students will love this video because it hits them where they live. What does it mean to be male and female today and what does that have to do with forming and sustaining a close relationship? Teachers will love this video because it raises provocative issues in a way that will make students think. The video features an amazing variety of people who talk about themselves and their relationships. It is filled with humor, pathos, and challenging issues and it virtually guarantees lively and stimulating classroom discussions." -- Mark L. Knapp, Jones Centennial Prof. in Communication, Univ. of Texas, Austin, co-author of Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction

"Students will appreciate this film's authentic look and feel: these are real people talking about life and love in ways that will generate useful discussions about underlying sociological principles. The film lays bare the essential features of gendered communication and mis-communication. How do men and women talk, act, and feel differently, and why do they seem to talk past one another? The video provides an illuminating window on relationships that allow students to integrate their own experiences with an understanding of the social forces that produce gender inequality on the most intimate levels. Because the video presents such raw honesty from both men and women, the discussions it will stimulate are likely to further students' education more than any message received from a standard lecture." -- Scott Coltrane, Prof. of Sociology, Univ. of California, Riverside, author of "Gender and Families" and Family Man: Fatherhood, Housework, and Gender Equity

"Students will find this video real, honest, down-to-earth, and above all, provocative. Rather than focusing on abstract discussions, it foregrounds average folks who speak candidly about what works and what doesn't in their relational lives. Students will see themselves in this film. Its strength lies in the voices of the subjects who speak for themselves "from the gut." I would use this film to initiate spirited class discussion about the differing ways men and women approach all phases of relationships, the realities of straight privilege, and the persistence of gender norms over time. Finally, the film could nicely serve as a springboard for discussions of gendered power dynamics in relationships by guiding students through what was both said and left unsaid by the interviewees." -- Chris Bobel, Prof. of Women's Studies, Univ. of Massachussets, Boston

"Falling in love, staying in love or, unfortunately for some, falling out of love. This is the raw material for Gender and Relationships, and the film will capture all who see it. This is a first-class blend of social science and video. It shows that even the way we nuzzle our babies is gendered and sets our children down the path of differential expectations of the love relationship. These gendered expectations begin in childhood and continue through young adulthood to what some might think to be the sweetest love -- that of growing old together. The film powerfully illustrates the pain that follows when love lets us down, or when society disappoints us in the first place by denying us the right to fall in love with and marry whomever we choose. Students will be moved by this film and they will still be grappling with its portrayals long after it is over." --Cynthia Siemsen, Prof. of Sociology, California State Univ. at Chico.


  • American Psychological Assn. honoree
  • Western Psychological Assn. honoree

Additional Material

For additional information, please visit http://nonverbal.ucsc.edu



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