Gender, Emotion, and the Family

Synopsis

Do women express their feelings more than men? Popular stereotypes say they do, but in this provocative book, Leslie Brody breaks with conventional wisdom. Integrating a wealth of perspectives and research--biological, sociocultural, developmental--her work explores the nature and extent of gender differences in emotional expression, as well as the endlessly complex question of how such differences come about. Nurture, far more than nature, emerges here as the stronger force in fashioning gender differences in emotional expression. Brody shows that whether and how men and women express their feelings varies widely from situation to situation and from culture to culture, and depends on a number of particular characteristics including age, ethnicity, cultural background, power, and status. Especially pertinent is the organization of the family, in which boys and girls elicit and absorb different emotional strategies. Brody also examines the importance of gender roles, whether in the family, the peer group, or the culture at large, as men and women use various patterns of emotional expression to adapt to power and status imbalances. Lucid and level-headed, Gender, Emotion, and the Family offers an unusually rich and nuanced picture of the great range of male and female emotional styles, and the variety of the human character.

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