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Sara Tejada
John Kubler
English 115
16 October 2014
Pink VS. Blue: Ethnography Report on Dominance in Relationships
The purpose of this study was to use ethnographic research techniques to discover
correlations between the power dynamics in real-world gendered relationships and self-reported
attitudes and values regarding female gender equality and sexual expressions or behaviors. In
particular, this study intended to find out if gender dominance in a relationship affected the
beliefs of each gender.
My first observation took place at a coffee shop called, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The
couple I studied were named Josh and Jamie, who are also friends that I have known for a few
years. I made plans to get coffee with them, but I called them at the last minute and told them I
would be late. I actually showed up on time, and sat outside of the coffee shop so that I would
remain hidden. I used this chance to observe the couple. The first observation that I noticed was
that Josh pulled out a chair for his girlfriend to sit in. He ordered both of their drinks and brought
them back to their table. When the couple was both sitting down, I noticed that Josh has
excellent posture, while Jamie slouches her back quite often. Next, I noticed their eye contact.
When Josh would speak to Jamie, he would look directly at her, while Jamie frequently looked
down at the table when she was talking. The couple both laughed a fair amount and seemed to
always be talking; they looked as if they really enjoyed each others company because both of
them smiled throughout the entire observation. Another detail that caught my eye was how
Jamies purse remained in her lap the entire time I watched them. After they finished their

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drinks, Josh got up and threw both empty coffee cups away. Josh looked at his phone several
times during the time I observed them, while Jamie used her phone twice. Towards the end of the
observation I noticed Josh becoming more restless as he began tapping his feet against the floor
and looking at his watch several times, as they waited for me to arrive. This ended my 20 minute
observation.
Josh and Jamie were the first couple that I interviewed, along with five other couples. All
of them were from the Santa Clarita Valley. Josh and Jamie spend a very large amount of time
together; when they are not working or in school, they are always with each other. Kevin and
Leah, as well as Ben and Savannah, spend a few hours together Monday through Friday, and
spend the entire day together on the weekends. Garrett and Amy rarely see each other on
weekdays, but always spend time together on weekends. Nick and Madison see each other as
much as they can, but it varies due to their work schedules.
On romantic nights out, Josh and Jamie usually will go out to dinner and then drive to a
place to practice their photography. Both Josh and Jamie are interested in photography, so
finding places to take pictures of each other and friends is very common in their relationship.
Josh made the first move in their relationship by asking Jamie out on a midnight pancake trip at
Dennys. This became a ritual, and happened every weekend over the course of four months.
Josh is usually the person who decides where to go on their dates.
Kevin and Leah enjoy going ice skating or on bike rides and seeing movies. They met
each other at their work, and Kevin asked Leah to get dinner with him on their break one night.
They were both interested in each other after that night. Now, Kevin is usually the person who
decides where to go on their dates, and they make sure to go out on dates a few times a month.

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Garrett and Amy met at their church, and some friends set them up together. They both
agree about where to go on dates. Garrett and Amy spend their romantic dates by going on
picnics and then hiking. Garrett made the first move to start their dating relationship when he
asked Amy to be his girlfriend at dinner one night.
Ben and Savannah knew each other in high school, but met face-to-face at a friends
party. Ben drove Savannah home and asked for her phone number so he could take her out on a
real date. Now they enjoy making dinner together and going to the movies. Savannah is usually
the one who decides where to go on their date nights.
Nick and Madison met in their physics class in high school. They studied together and
became great friends. Nick made the first move by asking Madison to go to prom with him. They
have been dating ever since high school and are now engaged to be married. Nick usually
decides where to go on dates. He is in the Air Force so they dont get the opportunity to go on
romantic nights out very often, so when they do Nick surprises her by taking Madison to
Disneyland or a fun amusement park for the weekend.
All of the couples I interviewed seemed hesitant to say who was more dominant in the
relationship. Five out of the six couples agreed that the male was more dominant in their
relationship. Ben and Savannah were the only couple who said the female, Savannah, was more
dominant. Seven of the twelve people, including Josh, Kevin, Ben, Nick, Leah, Madison, Jamie
and Amy believe that women should not be allowed to race on mens track teams or fight sideby-side with men in the armys infantry combat forces, while the other five people think that
women should be allowed to do whatever activities she is capable of doing if it is what she
desires. All six couples disagree with letting women go topless on Los Angeles beaches and do
not think that prostitution should be legalized in Los Angeles. Every couple has seen some

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performances by Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj. Three of the six couples think that their sexual
exhibitionism in performances is going too far, while the other three believe it is just a
performance. All of the couples except Garrett and Amy think that girls should be allowed to
wear cut-off shorts to school and tight-fitting micro skirts during a night out.
The overall secret to a lasting relationship was different for all couples. Josh and Jamie
said letting the other person know they are important and forgiveness makes their love possible.
Kevin and Leah said the communication and honesty helps their relationship stay bonded
together. Garrett and Amy said that their relationship with Christ and treating each other with
respect is their secret to their lasting relationship. Ben and Savannah believe that communication
is key for their love. Nick and Madison said that putting their significant other before themselves
has made their true love possible.
When I showed each couple a colored ad that my group chose to perform, five of the
couples agreed that the male was in more control than the female. Ben and Savannah were the
exception, because they believed that the female was more dominant and in control.
My observation of Jamie and Josh has led me to believe that Josh was more dominant in
the relationship. My observation lead me to this conclusion because of body language I noticed
when I watched them for thirty minutes. The fact that Josh gave Jamie direct eye contact at all
times showed confidence and assertiveness. Jamie seemed to avoid eye contact which led me to
believe that she was the timid and apprehensive in their relationship. When someone has their
head tilted downwards towards another person, it is often a signal of criticism usually from a
position of authority. Jamie also had her handbag in her lap at all times which can act as a type of
barrier or protective symbol. This could be a result of nervousness or insecurity. Josh was the
one who ordered their drinks, threw them away, and pulled out Jamies chair before she sat down.

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This was another reason why I believe Josh is more dominant in their relationship, because he
was the person who always made the decisions about where to sit, what they would drink, and
when the time was getting close for them to leave.
Based on my observation and interviews of these couples, I believe that the correlations
between the power dynamics in real-world gendered relationships and self-reported attitudes or
values regarding female gender equality and sexual expressions or behaviors exposed that
females are less dominant in relationships, because males were taught chivalry which gives them
the authority to pay for women, open doors for women, and provide for women. This fact give
men more power in relationships over women.