Gender, ‘Emotional Literacy’, and the Future
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Despite persuasive feminist arguments and considerable evidence to the contrary, the idea that men and women have different emotional make-ups and dispositions, and that this difference is ‘natural’ and universal, endures in many contemporary societies. This assumption informs many policies and practices in the ‘public’ sphere, including in schools and workplaces, and shapes people’s views and conduct in the most ‘private’, ‘intimate’ aspects of their lives. This book has reviewed just some prevailing gender-emotion associations and how they may shape the experiences of individual men and women. Whether in the institutions of the military, the theatres of war, the spheres of love, intimacy and sex, or the workplace, men and women are seen to be constituted in ways that make certain patterns of conduct and problems seem inevitable. However, it has become increasingly apparent that these associations are neither permanent nor universal. The significance of emotion for definitions of masculinity and femininity and for how men and women perceive and conduct themselves may vary considerably through time and across contexts. To use dramaturgical language, both the gender scripts, and how men and women enact those scripts, are diverse. Men and women may express and conduct themselves in ways which, from a contemporary Western standpoint, are deemed to be non gender-typical.
KeywordsEmotional Intelligence Contemporary Society Emotional Labour Gender Division Emotional Life
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