The idea of women as innately “nurturing” is a problem.
Women are expected to be “nurturing” and expend vast amounts of
energy on being emotionally supportive toward men, while men are
expected to ignore others’ emotional needs, fail to adress their own,
and depend on women to do the emotional work in a relationship.
work includes things like: listening to someone talk about his day
and being emotionally supportive when he talks about his problems,
encouraging him to go to the doctor when necessary, being the primary
resolver of conflicts in the relationship, both between the two of them
and with people outside the family unit, etc., etc.
When girls are
very small we are taught to be quiet, to listen well, to be supportive,
to put others’ needs first. This training continues into adulthood,
while at the same time boys are expected to be loud, careless with each
others’ feelings and not to process their own in a healthy way. Through
adolesence and adulthood these pressures increase.
Girls and women who
aren’t as adept at or invested in emotional work as expected by their gender role are treated as cold,
heartless, and self-absorbed, while men who perform the bare minimum of
emotional work are considered very sensitive and men who perform the
amount of emotional work expected of women are considered emasculated.
This social pressure is enforced through media also. Stories
featuring both men and women frequently stress the importance of women
doing emotional work while portraying men as being incapable of or
uninterested in doing emotional work. When media does portray
men doing emotional work, it’s often played for laughs, as the man is
now emasculated, and therefore a target of derision.
This leaves women to see to our own emotional needs as well as to those of the men in our lives, praising
women for being “nurturing” as though it’s an innate characteristic
requiring no effort, and not expecting men to do it because “it doesn’t
Being “nurturing” is work, and it’s about time we shared the load.
Time by Tony Via Flickr: Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Pink Floyd - Time - 1973
2015 05 27 141234 London 1HDR