We will write a custom Research Paper on Gender Stereotypes and Human Emotions specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Human emotions seem to be one of the most complex concepts for understanding in the modern world. There are several reasons to support this statement, including existing prejudices, expectations, social norms, and relationships. Today, much attention is paid to the connection between gender and emotions and the necessity to clarify if it is correct to think that women are more emotional compared to men. In their empirical study, Jakupcak et al. found evidence to support the idea that emotionality depends on socialization, as a result of which men have to be less emotional compared to women (119).
This paper focuses on the discussion of this study and the development of new arguments to prove that it is high time to re-evaluate gender-emotion connection and stop defining women as more emotionally dependent individuals. People should not hide their emotions because of their genders in order to promote social and psychological stability. Although the findings by Jakupcak et al. have a reason, certain alternatives to understanding gender-emotion bonds must be developed through the prism of social expectations and prejudice, personal changes and the environment, and family education.
Social Expectations and Prejudice
One of the easiest ways to check the connection between gender and emotions is to ask a person who prefers to demonstrate their emotions in public, a man or a woman. In the majority of cases, the expected answer is usually the same – a woman. A similar position was introduced in the article “Masculinity and Emotionality: An Investigation of Men’s Primary and Secondary Emotional Responding,” written by Jakupcak, Salters, Gratz, and Roemer.
The authors used the concept of “gender socialization” to explain how social rules determine emotionality (Jakupcak et al. 113). In fact, as well as many people, I have frequently witnessed the necessity to adhere to such norms as “boys should not cry,” “be a man,” or “women and children first.” It is not expected from boys to hurt girls or for a woman to invite a man for a date. Even if such events happen, prejudiced opinions and attitudes are developed fast. Therefore, the position of Jakupcak et al. is easy to understand and accept because, despite their intentions to break the rules, people can never overcome the already established rules and traditions.
At the same time, in today’s world, social expectations undergo considerable changes that influence the way of how people treat their emotions. In his essay, Reiner asks one of the most provocative questions, “Why do we continue to limit the emotional lives of males when it serves no one?” (594). In everyday life, it is normal to observe a girl hitting a boy or a woman asking a man for a date. Social expectations can be easily broken, and people stop thinking about possible prejudices or concerns.
They do what they like or what they want, including the necessity to find a good job, earn a living, protect personal rights, and strive for justice. For that reason, I believe that gender should not be defined as a distinctive factor for emotionality anymore. Women have already proved themselves as strong individuals with an ability to defend their interests. Men, in their turn, are able to use their right to be emotionally weak, cry, or have doubts.
Personal Changes and the Environment
Another important factor to support the connection between gender and emotions is based on personal characteristics and the environment where people have to live. In the study under analysis, Jakupcak et al. explained men’s fear of emotion as the desire to remain everything in control and never lose composure (118). To support this position, new neurological research about the mechanisms related to sex-dependent emotional dysregulation was introduced by Gregoire. The author found that women were better prepared for emotional instability and could properly react to negative outcomes than men due to their brain activities (Gregoire).
In their turn, because of the gender roles, socialization, and the environment, men are afraid to demonstrate their emotions, make their brain work in another way, and change their personalities, following all the necessary masculine norms. In other words, both studies showed that men try to hide their emotions because of the environment where they live and neglect their neurological and psychological needs.
However, emotions demonstrated by women are the results of human reactions to negative or positive impacts on their lives, and it is necessary to stop considering emotionality as something negative or gender-based. On the one hand, I believe that physiological changes cannot be controlled and agree with Jakupcak et al. that masculinity is closely related to psychophysiological aspects of emotions (112).
On the other hand, I rely on my personal experience and observations when both males and females were ready to change their physiological qualities in order to meet their personal and emotional needs. In a world where technological progress, medical and surgical advances, and personal freedoms gain recognition, gender stereotypes in the environment and control of emotions have to be restructured. Therefore, it is normal to see a man crying or overreacting to some event, as well as a woman protecting her home or shooting a gun. Sex differences in emotions exist, and it is wrong to neglect them. However, the line between these differences becomes less visible because of the possibility to promote personal changes, choose the environment, and be free emotionally, physically, and socially.
Family Education and Development
The final area of support for the chosen statement is based on family and education that promotes human development. According to Jakupcak et al., masculine ideology is closely related to the beliefs and relationships between family members, peers, parents, and their incomes (114). I strongly accept the role of a family as a true and influential factor in child development. Parents have a number of opportunities to explain to their children what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes, families find it normal to follow social regulations and suppress emotions in boys because of high expectations or restricted behaviors (Reiner).
Jakupcak et al. used a variety of past studies to demonstrate how parents, teachers, and peers determine boys’ and men’s behaviors and make them less emotional compared to girls (111). Consequently, it is a family where first emotional restrictions and prejudices are born. Parents expect their male children to be strong and confident in order to protect their families and meet the already established qualities of a man. Female children, in their turn, are raised to be kind, supportive, and emotionally open to keep home, do the cleaning, and communicate.
To opposite the chosen position, it is important to underline that education in families and development offered by parents may vary. For example, there are many incomplete families where only mothers or fathers have to raise their children because of different social, personal, health, and other reasons. Instead of defining the conditions under which children in such families have to live, one should think if it is still normal for men to be less emotional and for women to demonstrate their emotions.
There are many other situations when men’s emotions have to be revealed, and women’s emotions should be restricted, and neither Jakupcak et al., Reiner, nor Gregoire can predict all the possible developments of such events. Emotions are neither good nor bad, and they have to be recognized by men and women so both can talk, be heard, and be understood (Reiner). Hence, from the point of view of family and development, it seems to be wrong to bind human emotions to their gender only.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
In general, this discussion about gender stereotypes and human emotions helps to identify several important lessons. Many studies are based on the fact that individuals have to grow in different environments, provoking males to be strong, confident, and concerned because of their physiology and females to be kind and supportive because of their roles at home and in society. After reading the article by Jakupcak et al., I have to agree that the social context in which children develop and people live cannot be neglected. Society dictates its rules, and individuals try to follow them in order not to be segregated or misunderstood.
However, at the same time, I disagree with the authors because of their intentions to impose the role of gender on human emotions instead of searching for an alternative. I want to think that personal changes and family support can be enough for people, regardless of their gender, to stop hiding their emotions and never put socialization or someone’s expectation higher than personal needs.
Gregoire, Carolyn. “How Men and Women Process Emotions Differently.” Huffpost. 2015. Web.
Jakupcak, Matthew, et al. “Masculinity and Emotionality: An Investigation of Men’s Primary and Secondary Emotional Responding.” Sex Roles, vol. 49, no. 3/4, 2003, pp. 111-120.
Reiner, Andrew. “Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls.” The New York Times. 2017. Web.
Reiner, Andrew. “Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest.” They Say/I Say with Readings, edited by Cathy Birkenstein, et al., 4th ed., W. W. Norton & Company, 2018, pp. 589-595.