Is Mediation Too “Feminine” for Him? Men and Masculinity During Mediation Communication

  • Brett H. ButlerEmail author
  • Aza Howard Butler


Few studies focusing on conflict resolution and communication explore how mediation affects male participants. Applying research on masculine and male studies, this article identifies how the mediation process itself may alienate, intimidate, or offend participants by virtue of their gender identity, regardless of the gender of the mediator(s). The article concludes by providing insights and tactics for mediators who wish to encourage male participants to communicate more actively, fully, and honestly in order to conclude the mediation process with a greater sense of fairness for all.


Alternative dispute resolution Gender Sexuality Mediation Divorce 


  1. Brizendine, L. (2010). The male brain. New York, NY: Random House.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, P., & Levinson, S. C. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butler, B. H. (2010). Gendered discourse in the confessionalists and new journalists (Doctoral dissertation). Department of English and Language Arts, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD.Google Scholar
  4. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Coates, J. (1996). Women talk. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. Coates, J. (2003). Men talk. Malden, MA: Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Connell, R. W. (2005). Masculinities. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Dijk, T. V. (1985). Handbook of discourse analysis: Dimensions of discourse. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  9. Ekman, P. (2001). Telling lies: Clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  10. Fairclough, N. (2013). Critical discourse analysis: A critical study of language. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Holmes, J. (2013). Women, men, and politeness. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Kimmell, M. (2008). Guyland. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  13. Lakoff, G., & Johnson, M. (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Lakoff, R. (1975). Language and a woman’s place: Studies in language and gender. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Maltz, D., & Borker, R. (1982). A cultural approach to male-female miscommunication. In L. Monaghan, J. E. Goodman, & J. M. Robinson (Eds.), A cultural approach to interpersonal communication: Essential readings. Malden, MA: Blackwell. Google Scholar
  16. Rajmohan, V., & Mohandas, E. (2007). Mirror neuron system. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 49(1), 66–69. Available at:
  17. Schulte-Ruther, M., Markowitsch, H. J., Shah, N. J., Fink, G. R., & Piefke, M. (2008). Gender differences in brain networks supporting empathy. Neuroimage, 42(1), 393–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shamay-Tsoory, S. G., & Aharon-Peretz, J. (2009). Two systems for empathy: A double dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in inferior frontal gyrus versus ventromedial prefrontal lesions. Brain, 132(3), 617–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Spender, D. (1980). Man made language. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Tannen, D. (1990). You just don’t understand: Women and men in conversation. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  21. Tannen, D. (1994). Talking from 9 to 5. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  22. Thomas, C. (2013, July 19). Emotional empathy and cognitive empathy. Blog—Teleos Leadership Institute. Available at:
  23. Tiger, L. (1971). Men in groups. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar
  24. Tiger, L. (1999). The decline of males: The first look at an unexpected new world for men and women. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentMorgan State UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Aza Butler Mediation and Conflict Resolution ServiceTowsonUSA

Personalised recommendations