To finish off this chapter it is important to say a little about the relationship between emotion and gender, a topic that has already been touched on. The Western stereotype is that women are irrational and emotional and men are logical and rational. What truth is there to this?
It is true to say that women, in our society, are more emotionally expressive than men and that they are better than men at expressing some emotions (sadness and fear, for example). Men, by contrast, are better at expressing anger. 'Better' in this context means can express it more openly and readily so that it can be more easily recognised. It is also apparent that women and men do not differ much in what they report of their emotional experiences. However, girls are brought up to account more for their emotions than boys. Moreover, they are encouraged (by their mothers) to be more responsible than boys for the emotional reactions of others as well as for their own.
By contrast, boys tend to be encouraged almost to deny their emotions, and certainly not to explore them. Given these differences, it is hardly surprising that the stereotype has developed as it has. One has the impression that the stereotype is changing in some segments of society through the influence of the feminist movement and suggestions for anger management and emotional sensitivity training for men.
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