Invalidating Emotions-The Sexism of it All!

Recently, I had an encounter with a friend where we were discussing a topic that we were both very passionate about in our perspectives. To make a long story short, my friend said something to me that caused me to reflect. In the midst of the conversation he said, “I felt like that statement came from a place of emotion.” I thought to myself you damn right it did! But we were both speaking from a place of emotion, so why was his emotional display more acceptable than mine? As a woman, I realized immediately what he had done in the moment. His intention in making that piece of his perspective known, was to attempt to invalidate my statement based on an bias that we have formed regarding the interpretation of emotion in a conversation, especially when it comes to gender identities.

To be clear emotions are energy in motion. Whenever we are expressing ourselves whether it be confidently, happy, sad, aware, and the list (see below) goes on, we are expressing emotions. After reflecting on this statement I thought about how I have heard the stories of women in the workplace being viewed as “emotional” and this being used against them when it comes to promotion, project assignment, disciplinary action, and just being respected when they speak. We associate crying in the workplace with incompetence, even though women have bigger tear ducts than men and are more likely to cry, therefore it is seen as negative. This is rooted in sexism! It is a problematic statement and we need to stop using it! To show confidence is emotion, contentment is emotion, even being calm is an emotion!

I can completely understand when we use terms like over emotional or too emotional, but even then the root of these terms is based in sexism and one’s ability to associate emotions with incompetence or as a justification to invalidate a person’s contribution to a moment. We even do this to other men who might show emotion such as crying. I can remember growing up and hearing the men in my family tease the younger boys if they cried comparing their emotional state to women and weakness. Even though to be strong, is also an emotion….

I also see this in mainly White spaces where racial and ethnic diversity exists. There is a bias in how we view and associate emotional behaviors according to social identities and now is the time to start calling it out. We have a tendency to normalize behavior, language, and even non verbal communication based on a very white, quiet, and professional workplace culture in western society. If someone shouts or their tone of voice changes or they express themselves outside of communication norms, even if they are not causing harm to anyone, we pathologize their behavior.

I have seen this first hand and it has to stop. We as human beings have to do a better job of understanding behavioral diversity in alignment with cross cultural communication styles and stop punishing human beings for not being “normal.”

To be more inclusive, I decided to provide a list of emotions that humans display. The next time you decide to make a statement such as, that decision or statement was based on emotion, understand what emotions are considered acceptable emotions and where your biases lie in the moment!

Here is an ultimate list of emotions to help you identify what they actually are:

Absorbed

Abhorrence

Acceptance

Admiration

Adoration

Adrift

Aching

Affection

Afraid

Agitated

Agony

Aggravated

Alarm

Alert

Alienated

Alive

Alone

Amazed

Amused

Anger

Angst

Animated

Animosity

Animus

Annoyed

Antagonistic

Anticipation

Antipathy

Antsy

Anxiety

Apathetic

Apologetic

Appalled

Appreciative

Apprehensive

Ardor

Arousal

Astonishment

Astounded

Attachment

Attraction

Aversion

Awe

Awkward

Baffled

Bashful

Befuddled

Bemused

Betrayed

Bewildered

Bitter

Blessed

Bliss

Blithe

Blue

Bold

Bonhomie

Boredom

Bothered

Bouncy

Brave

Breathless

Brooding

Bubbly

Buoyant

Burning

Calm

Captivated

Carefree

Caring

Cautious

Certain

Chagrin

Challenged

Chary

Cheerful

Choked

Choleric

Clueless

Cocky

Cold

Collected

Comfortable

Commiseration

Committed

Compassionate

Complacent

Complaisance

Composed

Compunction

Confused

Courage

Concerned

Confident

Conflicted

Consternation

Contemplative

Contempt

Contentment

Contrition

Cordial

Cowardly

Crafty

Cranky

Craving

Crestfallen

Cross

Cruel

Crummy

Crushed

Curious

Cynical

Defeated

Dejection

Delectation

Delighted

Delirious

Denial

Derisive

Desire

Desolation

Despair

Despondent

Detached

Determined

Detestation

Devastated

Devotion

Disappointed

Disbelief

Disdain

Disgruntled

Disgust

Disillusioned

Disinterested

Dismay

Distaste

Distracted

Distress

Disturbed

Doleful

Dopey

Doubtful

Down

Downcast

Drained

Dread

Dubious

Dumbfounded

Eager

Earnest

Ease

Ebullient

Ecstatic

Edgy

Elated

Embarrassment

Empathic

Empty

Enchantment

Energetic

Engrossed

Enjoyment

Enlightenment

Enmity

Entertainment

Enthralled

Enthusiasm

Envy

Euphoria

Exasperated

Excitement

Excluded

Exhausted

Exhilaration

Expectant

Exuberant

Fanatical

Fascinated

Fatigued

Feisty

Felicitous

Fervor

Flabbergasted

Floored

Fondness

Foolish

Foreboding

Fortunate

Frazzled

Free

Fretful

Frightened

Frustrated

Fulfilled

Furious

Genial

Giddy

Glad

Gleeful

Gloomy

Goofy

Gratified

Grateful

Greedy

Grief

Groggy

Grudging

Guarded

Guilt

Gung-ho

Gusto

Hankering

Happy

Harassed

Hatred

Heartache

Heartbroken

Helpless

Hesitant

Hollow

Homesick

Hopeful

Horrified

Hostile

Humiliated

Humored

Hurt

Hyper

Hysterical

Impatient

Incensed

Indifferent

Indignant

Infatuated

Inferior

Inspired

Intense

Interested

Intimacy

Intimidated

Intoxicated

Intrigued

Introspective

Invigorated

Irascible

Ire

Irritated

Isolated

Jaded

Jealous

Jittery

Jocular

Jocund

Jolly

Jovial

Joy

Jubilant

Jumpy

Keen

Lazy

Left out

Lethargic

Liberation

Lighthearted

Liking

Listless

Lively

Lonely

Longing

Lost

Love

Lucky

Lust

Mad

Meditative

Melancholic

Mellow

Merry

Miffed

Mirth

Mischievous

Miserable

Mollified

Mortified

Motivated

Mournful

Moved

Mystified

Nasty

Nauseous

Needy

Nervous

Neutral

Nonplussed

Nostalgic

Numb

Obsessed

Offended

Optimistic

Outrage

Overwhelmed

Pacified

Pain

Panic

Paranoid

Passion

Pathetic

Peaceful

Peevish

Pensive

Perky

Perplexed

Perturbed

Pessimistic

Petrified

Petty

Petulant

Phlegmatic

Pity

Playful

Pleasure

Positive

Possessive

Powerful

Powerless

Preoccupied

Protective

Proud

Psyched

Pumped

Puzzled

Quizzical

Rage

Rapture

Rattled

Reassured

Receptive

Reflective

Regret

Relaxed

Relief

Relish

Reluctance

Remorse

Repugnance

Resentment

Resignation

Restless

Revolted