First Advisor

Susan B. Poulsen

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication




Communicative competence, Communicative competence Women -- Communication



Physical Description

1 online resource, (112p.)


The author argues that the hegemonically-constructed criteria of "appropriateness," as related to communication competence, is not palatable or functional for female communicators much of the time for it serves a social milieu which marginalizes women. Spitzberg and Duran (1993) state, "appropriateness seems spring loaded towards the status quo'' and may work against the interests of certain groups. In this paper, the author attempts to illuminate evidence of power imbalances covertly imbedded in the ideologically complex determination of appropriateness as a central criteria for communication competence in women. Competence theory is problematic and must be re-evaluated: it is contradictory and confusing, perpetuates hegemonic ideals and gender distinctions, and discounts feminine perspectives. Meade finds that, although the women in this study are aware of the hegemonic devices which work against them in academe, they continue to participate in their own domination. The findings suggest that the graduate school experience creates anger, frustration, and a lack of personal fulfillment in too many women ... rather than overcoming through education ... they must overcome their education. Meade makes pedagogical recommendations which serve to empower women and enhance their communicative outcomes.


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