Summary: We often think of emotions as psychological or biological, or as seemingly natural and innate responses to stimuli that makes us happy, sad, afraid, angry, etc. Yet, sociologists know most of our emotions are managed, or that we tend to ensure our feelings are felt (or at the very least expressed) in socially acceptable ways or in socially appropriate contexts. The management of emotions is especially apparent with gender as men and women are socialized to adhere to different, almost completely oppositional sets of feeling rules. Men are conditioned, and socially expected to suppress emotion (with the exception of anger); less rigid norms for females means women are freer to express relatively more, and more intense emotions than men. Usually, this gendered emotion work is so embedded in the social fabric we seldom notice how effective these rules are in dictating what we feel, how we feel it, how long we feel it, etc. However, in this short clip from the movie Bedazzled, a character played by Brendan Fraser makes a deal with the devil to become the world’s most emotionally sensitive man—and in doing so ends up being unable to manage his emotions effectively, thus revealing just how important emotional management and feeling rules are in our daily lives.
Submitted By: Jason T. Eastman