The need for emotion

I have been searching over the Easter holiday for my twentieth Top TED Talk. I think I have found it in Eve Ensler‘s  Embrace your inner girl. This was a powerhouse of an emotional talk about the way that girls have been treated historically, how they are still mistreated, raped, put down and abused in so many ways and how they have had to cope throughout history with a patriarchal society.

At the end of the talk she reads her own piece   ‘I Am An Emotional Creature‘. I found a version of it on YouTube which I wanted to incorporate into my post.. thus:

All of this made me think of something that I have lived with all of my life. I am an emotional creature and I am also male. I often cry when I watch very emotional films or read something emotional. I still cannot read the line from “To Kill A Mockingbird” where Atticus says to Boo Radley “Thank you for my children” without getting a lump in my throat… the emotional context and content hits me immediately.

I used to believe that this was a weakness. I have often been told that I should “toughen up” and that somehow the show of emotion is not one for a man. But after having seen this talk I realise that emotion is something that is a strength. It is the fuel that leads to passion and can feed creativity. It allows a person to persevere in order to accomplish. It is about the fulfilment of dreams and as Eve Ensler says it is what has driven the human race forward and got us to the moon.

When we did finally have that “one small step” did the people in Houston just sit and applaud pleasantly at an achievement that fulfilled the cold logic and figures of their science?  No, they clapped, they hugged one another and they probably cried.. maybe somewhere private because after all, it wouldn’t do for the men scientists to show their emotions!

But I now believe that my emotion is strength and that the showing of emotion is a human strength that we should allow and indeed encourage in our students. We want them to have passion for what they do and we want them to persevere and we want them to show their emotion when they achieve what they set out to do. The students who may gain most from all of this will be the boys because they can express their feelings in a way that does not get them derided or make them feel that they are weird or weak.

We maybe male, we maybe female… in the end we are all human and our emotions can drive us to great things like maybe saving our planet and ourselves.


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