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Emotions

  • By: Gayle Letherby
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Emotions define the way we respond to our social, built, or created environment and involve a way of understanding the world. Our understanding of emotion is gendered, and there are gendered emotional expectations. The experiences of both motherhood and nonmotherhood are infused by emotion and emotional expectations, which necessitates the management of emotions by mothers and nonmothers. In addition, those who support women through these experiences—family members, friends, and health and social care professionals—are also more likely to be women themselves, and they too engage in emotion work and management.

Gender Differences

The understanding of emotion is gendered in that they are connected to beliefs about what is typical, natural, or appropriate for women and men. Historically, particular emotions have been associated with women and with femininity. ...

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