How the “Women are Emotional -Men are Visual” Narrative has Ripped Our Interactions Apart
Riddle me this…if you could list out a set of basic human emotions what would that list contain?
My guess is something along the lines of:
Yep, I thought so and I’m sure you have more up your sleeve that you could call out.
Let’s Set The Scene
According to a quick Google search, there are upwards of 60 different emotions that are possible. And it has been my experience that many of these emotions, no check that, all of these emotions have been displayed in both male and female.
Did I just say that I’ve seen emotions from the male species??
You see contrary to popular opinion, I don’t stand by the blanket statement that men are not emotional beings.
Furthermore, I don’t back the culturally infused notion that women are more emotional than men.
I just don’t buy it.
It’s hard pressed for me to believe this as both my experience and understanding has shown me otherwise.
You see what I’ve seen happen is a culturally influenced teaching that has fed the minds of the masses to believe that if you’re on one side of the gender equation you’re this and you most certain can’t be that- and vice versa.
In other words if you’re a man, you can’t be (inherently) and are not emotional. But if you’re a woman then you automatically and solely operate emotively.
Neither can be further from the truth.
What we’ve done is strip away the cultural impact of environment, societal norms, and learned behavior when we’ve made these conclusions.
We’ve taken blanket statements of oral cultural tradition and have listened to its message as the single source of truth; without questioning the validity and rationale behind the statement.
Here’s What’s Probably Happening
Now I know what many people reading this may be thinking: well the science is there! It’s been scientifically proven that men are not inherently emotional but women are.
Well, my counter argument to this is simple: anyone can publish scientific evidence to back a narrative.
Science has pulled the wool over our eyes to convince us that we haven’t seen or experienced what we’ve actually seen or experienced.
Many of us have personally experienced the dismantling of this very scientific claim throughout our lifetime. So why do we keep promoting this claim?
Two words: Cop out.
That’s my belief.
It’s much easier to sit in the pocket of a claim that allows you to lean into a part of you that fits your narrative; that’s culturally beneficial for you.
Any departure from this is seen as strange, inhuman and quite frankly dismissive.
But Why Is This?
Self preservation and a power play for control are my two best inclinations for the answer to this question.
You see if a man can hide behind the guise of the narrative that they simply aren’t emotional, then they can excuse themselves from being held accountable for things such as:
- Checking out emotionally from a conversation
- Not “knowing” what to do or say in a particular situation
- Responding indifferently to a crisis or a highly-infused emotional experience
- And so on and so on…
Now before you leave a comment below about how I’m male bashing let me toggle on over to the female side and address a few agenda items there as well.
Making It Even
Women who ascribe to this notion, hurt society just as much because they typically are the ones lashing out in resentment in passive aggressive ways towards men who don’t show enough or adequate emotion. These responses, most often, tear apart relationships and are often the foundation for how children in the relationship are indirectly reared.
On the other hand, I’ve actually seen, heard and experienced a plethora of women who suppress their emotions and live life unapologetically stoic; confounding the cultural trope at its highest level.
Oftentimes these women have either been raised in an environment that does not promote extraverted emotive behavior or it is simply a part of their innate personality that has matriculated through time.
Bringing It Full Circle
Taking it back to the collective, when we all subscribe to this belief we hurt the global society at large and weaken real and progressive intimacy with one another.
My colleague on Medium, Kern Carter regularly writes about how emotional men are and how they are dying to let it out. Yet, we as society are still pushing back on this breakthrough for men because somehow we feel that we will weaken society and crumble to ruins if we do.
I truly believe that this breakthrough will not weaken us but will unlock a new level of growth and progress in all areas of our lives (professionally and personally).
No longer would we penalize women for crying at the job or showing emotive facial expressions in response to something egregious or hurtful.
No longer would we make fun of men for crying or showing any level of vulnerability for not “being strong enough,” not knowing how to do something, or saying something hurt their feelings.
I know this is a long shot for people to change their mindset on and there is still quite a bit of unconscious bias lurking in our bodies surrounding this very topic. Yet, I believe that we can truly take mini-steps towards a more holistic and balanced approach to undo the damage we’ve caused for centuries. We can do this by committing to being open to slowly change our mental responses and judgements to the people around us — both male and female.
Encouraging everyone to grow in emotional intelligence and responsive behavior will undoubtedly makes us all a better people and better society.