I’m just putting together a longer piece on gender stereotypes and acceptable emotional expression for Everyday Feminism, but here’s a shorter version of some of the emotions that are acceptable for men and women.
Unsurprisingly, emotions that are associated with softness, vulnerability, or caretaking, are associated with femininity. Men are discouraged from being feminine, and so are discouraged from crying, being sad, or being frightened. Emotions that are associated with strength, resolve, or action are associated with masculinity. and women are seen as stepping out of their place by being too bossy, bitchy, crazy, abrasive, overconfident.
Patriarchy tells us what we can and can’t do with the genders we’ve been assigned. It punishes us when we deviate from those rules. This is one of the ways that patriarchy harms men as well as women – it harms all genders. Feminism sure didn’t come up with ‘boys don’t cry’, or ‘stop acting like a little girl’ or ‘grow some balls’.