Shame and Gender

I recently stumbled upon this fantastic article by Andy Hinds on shame and gender and wanted to share it with you all. Hinds had the opportunity to talk with Brené Brown, a leading researcher on the implications of shame on the human psyche out of the University of Houston, on the influence of gender roles in the cyclical nature of shame in society. What I particularly liked about this article was how approachable and applicable it is to so many individuals’, couples’, and families’ psychological lives and dynamics. For example, the overwhelming majority of men I work with (either individually or as part of a couple) struggle to really feel comfortable in expressing themselves in front of me and their partners. Both Brown and Hinds do a fantastic job of scratching the surface as to why this is.

“Most women pledge allegiance to this idea that women can explore their emotions, break down, fall apart—and it’s healthy,” Brown said. “But guys are not allowed to fall apart.” Ironically, she explained, men are often pressured to open up and talk about their feelings, and they are criticized for being emotionally walled-off; but if they get too real, they are met with revulsion. She recalled the first time she realized that she had been complicit in the shaming: “Holy Shit!” she said. “I am the patriarchy!”

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