My name is Keshara, and I am a human being with emotions.
My aunt tagged one of my female cousins and me in a Facebook post last week linked to a New York Times article about women and their emotions. It’s no secret: The women in my family are emotional. We know it – I embrace it, personally. Even though we might get annoyed with each other because of it sometimes, it’s still a thing that isn’t going to change.
The article focuses on how pharmaceutical companies target the social idea that women are perhaps unnecessarily, overly emotional in our society. Sometimes we are. And sometimes, yes, it is a medical condition, but does every woman who gets sad sometimes for no reason need antidepressants? Probably not. Do men not get sad as often as women? Probably, but to be honest, I have no idea because traditions and media condition us to think crying is unacceptable, especially in public. Oh, but if you’re a woman crying in public, it’s OK because you’re a woman. Or at least that’s how we have been taught to think.
Reading the article reminded me of when I was little. I was a super clumsy, tiny human and was constantly falling over for some reason or another, and when I got hurt I cried. I cried because that is what people do when they hurt. Something in our bodies tells our brains, “Well, we’re injured – better turn on the water works,” and we cry, whether we’re children or not. The thing that has stuck with me, however, is that some kid in elementary school told me when I got hurt I got “so emotional.”
If I were to choose an emoji as a response to that comment it would be the one where the eyes and mouth are just horizontal lines because duh.
I don’t like the fact that being emotional can be looked upon as a negative. If we really dig into it, being emotional doesn’t even mean we’re sad or hurt, whether it be physically or emotionally. I get emotional when I see the sun set over the towering mountains in Zion National Park because it’s beautiful. For me, beauty evokes quite a bit of emotion, though never by choice, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical,” said the author of the New York Times article, Julie Holland.
This cannot be truer. I don’t blame whatever child accused me of being an emotional wreck, because he was taught to think like that. Regardless, having feelings shouldn’t have any association with accusatory remarks toward women or men, no matter their age.
Do you know who else in my family is emotional? My grandfather. My male cousin. Men. Why? Oh, well maybe because they are also human.
I am tired of people taking medication for conditions that we have been conditioned to have. I don’t mean to sound insensitive to those with actual, scientific conditions. I’m talking about boys of the next generation who get told not to cry because that’s not what boys do. I’m talking about the little girls who see their moms take anti-whatever medicine every day – girls who will eventually grow up thinking there’s something wrong with them because they have an overwhelming sense of emotion when they see something beautiful.
I’m tired of people being told they cannot feel what they feel for fear of being criticized for their expression of sadness or hurt or joy. I wish everyone would tell their daughters and sons it’s alright to cry so we can start to see a change in societal norms concerning our emotions, hopefully sooner than later.