Conversations between mother and daughter contain more emotional content than conversations mothers have with their sons, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. For the study, 65 Spanish mothers took part in a storytelling task and discussed past experiences with their four and six-year old children while scientists examined how many words the mothers used associated with emotion.
Mothers used words like “happy”, “sad”, and “worried” more frequently with their daughters than they did with their sons. Lead author of the study, Dr Harriet Tenenbaum concluded that conversations between parents and children are clearly gendered, which helps to reinforce cultural stereotypes that define men and women differently.
“This inevitably leads to girls growing up more attuned to their emotions than boys,” writes Tenenbaum. “Having this edge to be more expressive and cope well with emotions may matter more than ever in the workplace, as more companies are starting to recognise the advantages of high emotional intelligence when it comes to positions such as sales, teams and leadership.”
As UC Berkeley feminist theorist Judith Butler says in her Big Think interview, gender is culturally formed but also a domain of choice or freedom. In that sense, it is important to be able to resist cultural productions of gender:
Read more at Science Daily
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