Women everywhere seem to hold similar gender stereotypes about men’s emotions. We ask ourselves constantly, “Why can’t a man be more like a woman?” But what do we really know about the emotionality of men?
Emotionality is typically associated with women because people often believe that women are more emotional than men. However, according to Sarah Hutson-Comeaux and Janice Kelly’s “Sex Roles: A Journal of Research,” a growing body of research has shown that not all emotions are associated with the feminine gender-role, and instead, stereotypes about individual emotions are gender-specific.
Huston-Comeaux and Kelly described, in particular, the emotions of happiness, sadness, and fear as being believed to be more characteristic of women, whereas anger is believed to be more characteristic of men. It is found that women are expected to display more positive emotions than men in an “other-oriented context,” where as men display more positive emotions than women in a “self-oriented context.”
No matter what, it is important to distinguish between internal emotion and external or “outward display” of emotion. Huston-Comeaux and Kelly describe women as being perceived to express emotions more than men were, but not many differences exist in the perception of men’s and women’s emotional experience. That is, both men and women elicit similar feelings in certain situations, but they perceive expression of that emotion differently. Therefore, women may not understand that although their male partner is reacting in a certain way that he is in fact affected the same by a situation.
I think that it is reasonable to propose that when it comes to the opposite sex, no one really knows. But one thing is true: we aren’t that different from each other. Although Huston–Comeaux and Kelly have proven that we express our feelings in different ways, it has also been said that much of what we feel is the same. And the better you are able to see your relationship with the opposite sex as a relationship with someone like yourself, the easier it will be for the both of you to relate to each other.