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Emotional Labor: What It Is & How To Do It

Men’s labor is often defined by work that occurs outside the home, that can be easily quantified and monetized. Domestic labor, or the work that happens in this home, as a part of daily life, is often framed as less valuable, and often unpaid (ignoring monetized domestic labor provided in other people’s homes by women of color). It should be no surprise that in our patriarchal society, domestic labor has and is most often carried out by women. Similarly, emotional labor, or the emotional burden that is carried in order to maintain, sustain, and support a relationship has also typically fallen on women.

Emotional labor is the work of asking how someone’s day was, asking if they are ok, listening to someone complain about their boss despite having had a terrible day with their boss, it is supporting the decisions someone makes, it is taking time to make plans with or phone calls to people we care about, it is taking care of ourselves so that we don’t put the burden of care on others. While reading this post, I saw myself as both the carrier and cause of an emotional burden: I have not always been the most thoughtful roommate, or empathic friend. At times in my intimate relationships, I have been the one carrying the weight, acting as caretaker or homemaker, while putting my needs on the back-burner to prioritize my partner. Relationships require give and take, but without an understanding of emotional labor, the imbalance can becoming damaging. This post–from Miri on Brute Reason, her blog focusing on mental health and social justice–continues a discussion around emotional labor that utilizes tangible examples to define the concept while providing specific techniques we can use to create emotional equity in our relationships.

[Both Miri and The Bridges We Burn do not subscribe to concepts of gender essentialism, and reject any notions that anyone based on gender, sex, or race are naturally more inclined to care-taking or are more emotionally in-tuned. It is important to recognize, however, normalized gender roles, the ways we socialize emotions, and the ways in which we perpetuate negative behaviors in our relationships. Regardless of our gender identity, all of our relationships will strengthen by an increased awareness of emotional labor.]

– Brett Goldberg

Read the full post via Brute Reason.

From the Editor

New Voices on Masculinities – Black Day by Matt Bogdanow

Little one don’t be a fool, I’m a wreck when I look mighty. In Euphoria I’m bruised, In confusion next I’m lightning. In complacence I am small, through oblivion I’m charged. – “Follow My Way” by Chris Cornell, 1999 ~~~ Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 1464, prohibits the utterance of any obscene,… Keep Reading

From the Editor

New Voices on Masculinities: Dropping the Ball by Matt Bogdanow

Editor’s Note: I am excited to introduce New Voices on Masculinities, a series of original content written for The Bridges We Burn, in which author’s explore topics related to their identity.  The first author in the series is musician and educator, Matt Bogdanow. ~~~ On February 1st, 2015, I watched the New England Patriots––my hometown heroes––defeat the Seattle… Keep Reading

From the Editor

All I Needed Was The Love You Gave: “13 Reasons Why” is Brutal and Necessary Storytelling on Bullying, Sexual Violence, & Suicide

Author’s Note: This editorial is rooted in my personal experience, and my interpretation of the television series, 13 Reasons Why. I am not a professional/expert on suicide or depression, nor am I a clinical psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist. As a certified Advocate for victim/survivors of sexual violence, I have training and experience in trauma counseling.… Keep Reading

Online

Feminism for Men 101

There is a never a bad time to take a step back and review some of the foundational principles and values upon which we seek to build justice and equity. Many articles on this site explore the ways in which patriarchy and toxic masculinity are harmful to the health, well-being, and relationships of men. But… Keep Reading

Online

Patriarchy, Homophobia, and the Lack of Touch in the Lives of Men

Patriarchy limits the range of acceptable emotions that real men are allowed to express. And the means for expressing those emotions are equally small. What this means is that we–collectively, as a society, even well meaning liberals and feminists–often misinterpret, or project our internalized patriarchy upon men and boys. Here are a few examples of what… Keep Reading

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