This article suggests that the new feeling rules of intimacy within heterosexual couple relationships are widely recognised and reflect the contention that an androgynisation of the value of emotion is taking place (), whereby men are expected to disclose emotion and provide emotional support to female partners. Simultaneously, the new feeling rules are recognised to be difficult to follow for men due to the highly gendered nature of emotion work in heterosexual relationships suggesting talk of emotion has changed while the practice has not. Drawing on interview data collected in the UK (13 male and 15 female), this article suggests that the new feeling rules can be broken down into three distinct areas associated with the highly desirable status of being a ‘good partner’: (a) being ‘emotionally skilled’, (b) disclosing emotion and (c) performing relational emotion work. This analysis enables a critical appreciation of how the inequalities of emotion work can be reproduced as part of the pursuit of having a ‘good relationship’ (mainly unquestioningly) and sets out a new way of looking at the relationship between emotion work, gender and equality.
Ahmed, S. (2010) The Promise of Happiness, London: Duke University Press.
Benjamin, O. (1998) Therapeutic discourse, power and change: emotion and negotiation in marital conversation, Sociology, 32(4): 771–93. doi: 10.1177/0038038598032004008
Brownlie, J. (2014) Ordinary Relationships. A Sociological Study of Emotions, Reflexivity and Culture, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
Carter, J. (2021) Traditional inequalities and inequalities of tradition: gender, weddings and whiteness, Sociological Research Online, Online first, doi: 10.1177/1360780421990021.
Chandler, A. (2012) Self-injury as embodied emotion work: managing rationality, emotions and bodies, Sociology, 46: 3. doi: 10.1177/0038038511422589
Cohen, D. (1990) Being a Man, London: Routledge.
Curran, M.A., McDaniel, B.T., Pollitt, A.M. and Totenhagen, C.J. (2015) Gender, emotion work, and relationship quality: a daily diary study, Sex Roles, 73: 157–73. doi: 10.1007/s11199-015-0495-8
de Boise, S. and Hearn, J. (2017) Are men getting more emotional? Critical sociological perspectives on men, masculinities and emotion, The Sociological Review, 65(4): 779–96. doi: 10.1177/0038026116686500
Duncombe, J. and Marsden, D. (1993) Love and intimacy: the gender division of emotion and ‘emotion work’. A neglected aspect of sociological discussion of heterosexual relationships, Sociology, 27(2): 221–41. doi: 10.1177/0038038593027002003
Duncombe, J. and Marsden, D. (1995) ‘Workaholics’ and ‘whingeing women’: theorising intimacy and emotion work – the last frontier of gender inequality?, Sociological Review, 43(1): 150–69. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.1995.tb02482.x
Erickson, R. (2005) Why emotion work matters: sex, gender, and the division of household labor, Journal of Marriage and Family, 67: 337–51. doi: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2005.00120.x
Frith, H. and Kitzinger, C. (1998) ‘Emotion work’ as a participant resource: a feminist analysis of young women’s talk-in-interaction, Sociology, 32: 2. doi: 10.1177/0038038598032002005
Galansinski, D. (2004) Men and the Language of Emotion, London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Giddens, A. (1992) The Transformation of Intimacy, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Gunnarsson, L. (2014) Loving him for who he is: the microsociology of power, in A.G. Jónasdóttir and A. Ferguson (eds) Love: A Question for Feminism in the Twenty-First Century, London: Routledge.
Hite, S. (1988) Women and Love, London: Viking.
Hochschild, A.R. (1979) Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure, American Journal of Sociology, 85: 551–75. doi: 10.1086/227049
Hochschild, A.R. (1983) The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling, Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Holford, N. (2019) Gendered emotion work and micro-practices of heterosexuality: two middle-class teenage partner relationships, Women’s Studies International Forum, 74: 162–8.
Horne, R.M. and Johnson, M.D. (2019) A labor of love? Emotion work in intimate relationships, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36(4): 1190–209. doi: 10.1177/0265407518756779
Illouz, E. (2008) Saving the Modern Soul: Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help, Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Illouz, E. (2012) Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation, Cambridge: Polity.
Jackson, S. (1999) Heterosexuality in Question, London: Sage.
Jamieson, L. (1998) Intimacy: Personal Relationships in Modern Societies, Cambridge: Polity.
Jónasdóttir, A.G. (2011) What kind of power is ‘love power’?, in A.G. Jónasdóttir, K.B. Jones and V. Bryson (eds) Sexuality, Gender and Power: Intersectional and Transnational Perspectives, New York/London: Routledge.
Jónasdóttir, A.G. and Ferguson, A. (2014) Love: A Question for Feminism in the Twenty-First Century, London: Routledge.
Komter, A. (1989) Hidden power in marriage, Gender and Society, 3(2): 187–216. doi: 10.1177/089124389003002003
Lahad, K. (2017) A Table for One: A Critical Reading of Singlehood, Gender and Time, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Laurie, T. and Stark, H. (2012) Reconsidering kinship: beyond the nuclear family with Deleuze and Guatarri, Cultural Studies Review, 18(1): 19–39.
Liebling, A. (2004) Prisons and Their Moral Performance: A Study of Values, Quality, and Prison Life, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Lupton, D. (1998) The Emotional Self: A Sociocultural Exploration, London: Sage.
Mansfield, P. and Collard, J. (1988) The Beginning of the Rest of Your Life: A Portrait of Newly-Wed Marriage, London: Macmillan.
McCormack, C. (2004) Storying stories: a narrative approach to in-depth interview conversations, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 7(3): 219–36. doi: 10.1080/13645570210166382
McQueen, F. (2017) Male emotionality: ‘boys don’t cry’ versus ‘it’s good to talk’, NORMA, 12(3-4): 205–19. doi: 10.1080/18902138.2017.1336877
Minnotte, K.L., Stevens, D.P., Minnotte, M.C. and Kiger, G. (2007) Emotion-work performance among dual-earner couples: testing four theoretical perspectives, Journal of Family Issues, 28(6): 773–93. doi: 10.1177/0192513X07299676
Roseneil, S., Crowhurst, I., Hellesund, T., Santos, A.C. and Stoilova, M. (2020) Introduction, in The Tenacity of the Couple-Norm: Intimate Citizenship Regimes in a Changing Europe, London: UCL Press, pp 3–5.
Seidler, V.J. (1991) Recreating Sexual Politics: Men, Feminism and Politics, London: Routledge.
Smart, C. (2007) Personal Life: New Directions in Sociological Thinking, Cambridge: Polity.
Twamley, K. (2019) ‘Cold intimacies’ in parents’ negotiations of work-family practices and parental leave?, The Sociological Review, 67(5): 1137–53. doi: 10.1177/0038026118815427
Umberson, D., Thomeer, M.B. and Lodge, A.C. (2015) Intimacy and emotion work in lesbian, gay and heterosexual relationships, Journal of Marriage and Family, 77: 542–56. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12178
Umberson, D., Thomeer, M.B., Pollitt, A.M. and Mernitz, S.E. (2020) The psychological toll of emotion work in same-sex and different-sex marital dyads, Journal of Marriage and Family, 82: 1141–58. doi: 10.1111/jomf.12686
Wilcox, W. and Nock, S. (2006) What’s love got to do with it? Equality, equity, commitment and women’s marital quality, Social Forces, 84: 3. doi: 10.1353/sof.2006.0076
Wilkinson, E. (2012) The romantic imaginary: compulsory coupledom and single existence, in S. Hines and Y. Taylor (eds) Sexualities: Past Reflections, Future Directions, London: Palgrave.
Wright, K. (2008) Theorizing therapeutic culture: past influence, future directions, Journal of Sociology, 44(4): 321–36. doi: 10.1177/1440783308097124
|May 2022 onwards||Past Year||Past 30 Days|
|Full Text Views||1736||1735||104|