Women and Emotions

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Yesterday I was at Subcity and I overheard two employees (man and women) discussing why women were more emotional than men.  They both seemed to agree that women did show more emotions than men, but they had different view points.  The male thought it was due to biological differences in that men and women had different hormones which caused different levels of emotions.  The women employee felt it was more environmental as she said "women are more emotional because they can be," most likely implying that society accepts emotional behaviors in women more than in men.  I feel that both biology and the environment both contribute to the differences in emotions. 


I found a website that talks about why women are more emotional, and it appears that both the environment and hormones can both be held responsible.  The article says that women become more emotional starting in puberty when their body begins to produce high levels of prolactin, a hormone present in tears and blood.  It also mentions that men and women's tear ducts are shaped differently, which could be either the cause of the effect of more crying. 


This artcile dicusses how women are more physiologically prone to stress.  The evidence for this is that in males the amygdala communicates with organs that process visual stimulus while women's amygdala communicates more with hormones and digestion.  Also women's bodies produce more stress hormones than do men's, explaining why women are exposed to stressful events they tend to stay more worked up about the event for a longer time than do men. 

I always thought that women were more emotional, but I never knew why.  I thought the stuff about women having different shaped tear ducts and having a somewhat different function for the amygdala were pretty interesting.  Did any of this surprise you?  Do you think these differences alone cause differences in emotions?  What about the environment; did the environment cause these changes over time, or did the changes come first, and society adapted to the differences? 

1 Comment

I found this choice of post to be quite intriguing given the intense emotions I feel on occasion. It seems that men simply don’t have the same perceived emotional response to certain stimuli that women do. I have always felt that much of the reason why women are so much more emotional is that they are allowed to be—we all come into this world as screaming babies and remain that way up until puberty. Society slowly weans men off of crying and turns them over to a more stern and “manly” role because as “providers” this is the most suitable character for them. We do not want men crying all the time—can you imagine a world in which both men and women were highly emotional? Women, on the other hand, never quite get away from that as they have been predominantly viewed as “weaker” than men. It really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that depression is more prevalent in women. Having said this, I have never fully sided with nurture or nature—to me it seems that everything influences the people we are. Our environments more than likely contribute changes over time, but our genes also develop and mutate.
After reading the section of this article discussing depression and how these depressed individuals may cry four times as much as people who are not, and two-thirds of those diagnosed with depression being women, I was inspired to read the Psychology Today article cited. The article discusses sex differences and how we all benefit from the research being done in this area. In particular, the author examines how these differences and cultural evolutions are influencing our marriages from a biological standpoint.

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