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Action or Drama: Gender Differences in a Video Store

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The difference between male and females was examined in five investigations in a large, well known video store chain. Different genders were looked at in groups of all male or all female, single men and single women, and then groups of mixed gender. Differences between the two were measured in actions, words, and attitudes. The findings were in sync with what society generalizes so broadly as: men and women differ in everything they do. The research was conducted not to prove this familiar concept wrong but to show how men and women differ in a general setting of a video store. The data was quite rich in that the customers did not hold back what needed to be said and actions tended not to be restricted. The findings revealed that not only do men and women pick out different movie titles but they go about the whole process differently as well.

The belief that men and women differ in practically

everything they do is widespread throughout the United States. There have been many studies on how they differ in certain aspects, which never seem to be a surprise to the reader. We are so used to findings that prove time and again the differences that we are ready to offer up a proposal such as a professor of mine once said ?If you find in your setting that there is not a difference between men and women then that is something that needs to be published right away.? However, in the setting of the video store gender differences were found.

Investigating the male-female relationship in a video store has a few different aspects. First, all male groups

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that came in to the store were quite different from the all female groups that came in to the store. They differed not only in the way they talked to each other and what they said to each other but also the type of movie title they chose.

Second, when a single (single referring to coming in alone) man or a single woman came in there were considerable differences in the amount of time they spent in the store to their conversations with the workers. A man was more likely to know what movie he was looking for before he came in than a woman was. This was proven in countless conversations that a woman would initiate with a worker. A woman would spend a considerable longer amount of time in the store than a man. Couples that came in were the same in that the woman and the man of the couple would show the same actions as another woman or another man in different couple.

In this paper I not only show the gender differences in customers at a video store but I also back those findings up by the observation that was conducted. The findings of the paper can also be taken outside the video

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store setting and can help us understand the age-old question of ?What makes men and women different?? My thoughts going into the research was of course men and women would differ to some extent. The extent to which they differ is what powered the research and thus the paper.

First Investigation: Basic Gender Differences

The purpose of this first investigation in a large well-known video store in Manchester, CT, was to scope out basic surface differences, establish what I needed to look for, and get an overall sense of the setting.


The first investigation was done in the middle of the week between the hours of 10am-12pm. This gave me a chance to really pay attention to specific details of the first customers that I studied. At this point I did not know what I was looking for so every detail was important. I recorded how the people were dressed, whether they had wedding rings on, details of their features, whether they had a child with them or not, and anything else that was visible to the eye.

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Second Investigation: Length of Time in store

The second investigation came with more familiarity in the research setting. At the end of the first investigation I began to notice a repetition in the pattern of the length of time spent in the store between the two genders. I focused in on this aspect during the second investigation.


The second investigation I walked around the store more than the first one. I browsed the aisles like a customer so I would have little or no effect on the situations around me. I paid more attention to the amount of time that a man spends picking out movies versus a woman. I didn?t write down in minutes how long they spent but took more notice in how the women read more cover boxes, which gave them a description of the movie. They took more time to look around the store to see what was available than the men did. The men were very quick in the store and if they spent even a few extra minutes it was to check out video games, magazines, or video game cheat magazines.

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Third Investigation: Mixed gender groups

I decided that I needed to experience the video store on a busy weekend night at peak hours. I went to the store on a Saturday between 6-8pm. There were so many people in and out of the store that night that I focused on groups of mixed gender. I observed groups that had about the same amount of men and the same amount of women in it. I focused on who was leading the group, who was making the movie decision, and who was paying.

Fourth Investigation: One-gender groups

This investigation was conducted during a weekday and weekend day. I focused on female groups of ages ranging from early 20?s to mid 40?s. I listened to their conversations, watched their actions, watched and listened to how they picked out a movie for the group, and who took care of the bill. I also focused on male groups who were mainly in their 20?s to early 30?s. I looked for the same characteristics in these groups as in the female groups.

Fifth Investigation: Couples

Throughout the investigation process I took field notes on couples. I focused on the attitudes of when they first

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walked in the store, who picked the movie, what type of movie they went home with, and who paid for the movie.





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