From Part II Chapter 8 The Fourth Wave
By T.L. Dayen
It’s so fitting to close Chapter 8 on Fourth Wave feminism by exploring our ‘emotions.’ EQ is Emotional [Intelligence] Quotient. The relevance of emotional intelligence to The Female Imperative may seem like common sense, and in many ways, it is. EQ is the ability of a human being to process and manage his/her emotions. What I’ve found, is that most men are either too ‘un-emotional, or they have a complete inability to process or understand often very powerful emotions. Why is it important? EQ has been gaining serious attention from experts in the areas of psychology, education and business as a significant factor in a human being’s mental health and social skills overall. In other words, one’s ability to self-assess, learn and interact is largely impacted by one’s EQ, regardless of one’s IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Leaders and professionals in mental health, education and business are recognizing more and more that a strong EQ is fundamentally linked to a successful, healthy and productive personal and professional life. EQ is measured or demonstrated by one’s ability to:
- Identify one’s own emotions (self-awareness) and communicate them in an appropriate and healthy manner.
- Identify the emotions of others (empathy) and respond in an appropriate and healthy manner.
It’s no secret the male ego often refers to women as “emotional” – specifically – too emotional! As a woman, this has always baffled me!? Now, I don’t necessarily want to “toot my own horn,” but I do have an IQ in the top 5 percentile, and I did receive my Bachelors with Distinction. I’ve never had any trouble having thoughtful and intelligent conversation with any man, from any walk or station of life, frankly. The truth is; and perhaps because I’m a woman, emotions as an area of study has always fascinated me. I was raised to understand that in addition to our physical bodies, we have an emotional, mental and spiritual body. But the emotional body is always treated like the ‘ugly cousin’ of the three. Most everything I’ve read on the subject gives emotions a bad rap. At the very least, it seems to be the one area most misunderstood. Emotions occur primarily in the subconscious, so they can certainly be unpredictable and even hard to control at times. But it’s the complexity and the intensity of our emotions that define our very humanness!
On the most fundamental level, emotions are a bio-feedback mechanism for basic survival. Our primal necessities for safety, sustenance and procreation are essentially communicated through a ‘feeling.’ Infants ‘feel’ long before they ‘think.’ It’s at this level where humans and animals are the most similar – but not same. Our subconscious is not simply linked to ‘instinct;’ it is linked to mind. Animals have a brain, but humans have a mind. Mind has individual will. Brain instinctively reacts. Mind deduces an original response. In fact, it’s the human minds unique capacity to ‘interpret’ emotions that allows us to ‘create’ magnificent and powerful works of art, poetry, literature, architecture; that in turn ‘invoke’ emotion in others. If emotions communicate the body to the brain in order to survive (animal), mind then interprets emotions for the soul in order to evolve (human).
Physical -> Emotional -> Mental -> Spiritual
Compassion, cooperation, compromise and community is simply not possible without a solid understanding of our emotions; how they help us and how they can hurt us. This allows us to recognize how the animal mind male ego uses them as an effective tool to maintain control of the human ‘condition.’
Act vs. Respond and Think vs. Feel
Because emotions are primarily subconscious, learning how to manage them during our social imprinting years circumvents the un-learning or re-learning that may be needed as an adult. There’s a reason women are often considered, ‘emotional.’ Girls are overwhelmingly (almost exclusively) trained early on to be more ‘in touch’ with how they feel. This isn’t done directly or even intentionally. As we stated in Part I, girls and boys simply observe the character and behavior of the adult men and women in their lives, but also, young boys are naturally encouraged to ‘act’ (think) while girls are naturally encouraged to ‘respond’ (feel). A ‘good’ woman has learned how to know what is needed without needing to be told. We learn to consider circumstance, recognize nuance of tone and body language. We develop listening skills and hone our intuition. A ‘successful’ man on the other hand, has learned to think for ‘himself,’ know what ‘he’ wants, and act with authority. Emotional feelings for men are messy and cannot be trusted. They complicate the thought process and inhibit direct action.
The problem is, we are all born emotionally the same. Emotions are ‘human,’ not ‘female.’ So, the result of traditional male ego social imprinting void of emotional intelligence, is that it is men who are far more likely to mistake ‘feeling’ for ‘thinking;’ re-acting on their emotions and calling it ‘reason.’ On the flip side, women are far more likely to rely more on their intuition than reasoning, working behind the scenes capitalizing on their supportive skill sets. Meanwhile, in the guise of reason, the male ego of animal mind can run emotionally amuck as our natural ‘leaders’ in a constant epic cycle of frenetic chaos.
The Rise of EQ
The male ego animal mind has spent thousands of years relegating the emotional body to the human female, and the human female body to the subordination, subjugation and suppression by the human male. The same reason leaders in industry and health are increasingly calling for EQ training, is the same reason that at the time of this writing, a simple “EQ” typed in the Google bar will elicit 12 million 300 thousand internet responses. Humanity is acknowledging that the status quo of emotional ‘ignorance’ is not working! But why now? Why is EQ ‘trending’ in the early 21st century? As the planet becomes seamlessly populated, the void of compassion, cooperation, compromise and community, spreads like a wild fire out of control. But this doesn’t have to be directly experienced to be subconsciously felt. Crime in the west, for example, continues to decrease, but fear of it continues to increase. Fear [emotion] is the tool of choice for male ego animal mind.
There’s another force at work, however, that is contributing to the heightened need for emotional intelligence. Technology [driven by corporate greed] is advancing far faster than humanity is evolving to use it responsibly or even understand the extent of its effects on our society. Internet access, digital and social media, and gaming are household fixtures today. Media exposure follows us from every room of our homes, our cars and our pockets. For those of us born before the 1990’s, our cognitive, social and sexual development was complete before this constant barrage of media exposure had become absolute. Today, from as young as pre-school, our youth are exposed to images and portrayals that in the not too distant past, were staunchly forbade until well into adolescence. What can be found on 300+ cable channels, internet and gaming, is often far beyond the cognitive and emotional capacity of K-10 to sensibly and safely process. Communication has increased digitally, but it’s disassociated from ‘human experience.’ It doesn’t allow for the proper development of critical social skill sets that require active listening, non-verbal communication, and empathy. Sociologists and child psychologists have been watching millennial’s closely because of these phenomena. What we are seeing is alarming spikes in youth bullying, violence, murder, suicide, rape, depression, addiction, obesity and other eating disorders. Many of these are occurring at ‘epidemic’ levels. Is humanity truly prepared for this to become the ‘new normal?’
The rising demand for a focused effort in EQ by mental health professionals, employers and educators goes hand in hand with the swelling void of compassion, cooperation, compromise and community in our societies. The technology that is swiftly enveloping every aspect of our lives with little rumination is only adding to that void, and in effect, indoctrinating our youth within it from birth. The increased attention to EQ is promising, but it could easily prove to be the dog chasing its tail. Equilibrium will not be achieved as long our social programming exists within the male ego image of reality. Neither will it be achieved continuing to brand the emotions as ‘feminine’ at the same time the human female is relegated as ‘subordinate.’ The worst of human history only continues to repeat – exponentially.