Gendered Notions of Emotion

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“THE GENDERED NOTIONS OF EMOTION” To begin with , it is neccessary to differ the term gender from sex. Sex refers to our anatomical and genetical identity as being a female or male that is inscribed in our genes, whereas gender is an outcome of process of socialization combined with the effect of the genes. Our gender becomes evident in the way we dress, we make our hair,we walk and speak. The ways we express and experience emotions also seems to be dependent on our gender. As the way of walking or speaking diverges in male and female, the expression and experience of emotions in different genders also diverges. Moreover, this divergence leads to a hegemonic male chauvinist discourse that classifies man as “unemotional” and woman as “emotional” which has significant effects on social life of both genders . Conceptions of male and female emotions are derived from a deeply influential binary opposition that women tend to be emotional by nature while men avoid expression of emotion which makes them unemotional. In ‘ “The Emotional Woman” and “The Unemotional Man” ‘ Debora Lupton contends that this gendered notion on the expression of emotions is both sourced from and effects the social status of males and females. Although it is acceptable that all individuals are capable of feeling emotions, during the history of western cultures it is perceived to be normal and appropriate for women to express emotions such as fear, sentimentality,grief while expression of emotions such as anger, aggressiveness or rage are less expected to be expressed by women. As Friedman puts it , “ a woman who murders is regarded with far more suspicion and fear than a man, because such an act confounds assumptions about gendered behaviour. Men are often expected to kill in certain situations: it seems part of an inherent masculinity to have the potential to kill” ( Lupton, 106 ).
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