Date of Award

8-3-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Jaye Atkinson - Chair

Second Advisor

Marian Meyers

Third Advisor

David Cheshire

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to discover whether the phrase "men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” from John Gray’s book, had become a meme and to explore what its usage implied. Analysis of 510 references was guided by grounded theory. Coding over a decade of newspaper usage of the phrase into seven emergent themes allowed examination of usage against the theories of gender research, communication research, media research and meme theory research. This analysis revealed that this phrase meets the requirements to be considered a meme, and as a meme it has successfully assisted the survival, evolution and permeance of Gray’s premise that communication differences are inherent and immutable. While this premise is not based on established clinical and academic principles, it is an example of how incorrect and baseless ideas can displace good reasoned thinking based on research.

Included in

Communication Commons

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