July, 30 2015
The Gendering of Emotions

The media tends to assign emotions by gender, resulting in messages that reinforce "toxic masculinity".

by Aqila Putri
Issues // Gender and Sexuality
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Gender discrimination has reached a new high behind our backs, creeping into places we didn’t expect and creating more harm than we can imagine.
 
If you think that only razors are being labeled as “for men” or “for women”, we are sorry to be the bearer of bad news to you. But the absurdity of gendering material things has gone farther than mere toiletries. This harmful practice has extended its reach into gendering emotion, assigning specific emotion into specific gender.
 
Our friends at Everyday Feminism created a comic that raised important points about how the media has misrepresented men’s feelings for such a long time and how the misrepresentation has produced dangerous effects. The comic highlights the different words associated with different gender in expressing the same emotion, and along with it, the more emotional and negative connotation of words associated to women. The comic also points out how the negative connotations assigned to words like “cry”, “weak”, and “uncertain” prevent men from seeking out help.
 
The issue presented in Everyday Feminism comic is a form of toxic masculinity, a socially constructed norm on how a “Real Man” should behave. Just like most things born out of patriarchy, it does bring more harm than good to our society. Toxic masculinity comes in many forms. Aside from describing Real Man only with a set of words (strong, violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, etc.), one of the forms of toxic masculinity that is widely known is emasculation, an idea that Real Man should not enjoy feminine interest and activities – cooking, taking care of his appearance, watching rom-coms, understanding women.
 
Toxic masculinity is one of the reasons why we still need feminism. As a movement that believes in equality for all genders, feminism encourages the eradication of any form of gender discrimination. This means that female, the party that suffers most from patriarchy, is not the only sex benefitting from feminism. Other genders, too, are regarded as equal humans without any preexisting labels. 





*Read about these awesome comics that show why we still need feminism.

Aqila Putri is a sophomore studying at Wesleyan University, trying to pursue her degree in Economics and International Relations. Her daydreams consist of owning a bakery and a kitchen like Gordon Ramsay's. Hit her up at @aqilalistya to talk about food, cat, and social justice.