By Henry van Wagenberg
On average, women's brains have more of the "grey matter" that, roughly speaking, neuroscientists, to the extent that they have a rough, weak and flawed understanding of the human mind, associate with a kind of inter-personal emotional intelligence.
Anecdotally, don't we all notice that a disproportionate number of women evince high measures of emotional intelligence? Don't we notice that women appear to possess a strong ability to perceive and affect the emotions of the people around them?
A different, but related question presents itself. Is an additional reason that women possess these emotional skills because they have been sharpened in the struggle with their own feelings in turmoil inside of them?
Martha Nussbaum writes of the Stoic understanding of feelings.
"One reason that [ the Hellenistic thinkers ] believe that philosophy is the art best equipped to deal with human diseases is that they believe that philosophy -- reasoning and argument -- is what is required to diagnose and to modify the passions. This is so, they argue, precisely because passions such as fear, anger, grief, and love are not blind surges of affect that push and pull us without regard to reasoning or belief. They are, in fact, closely linked to beliefs, and are modified by the modification of belief."
It is a commonplace observation that women experience the world through a more feeling-tinged lens than men do. What if these additional feelings, and the education and process of reasoning with them, is what helps cultivate a stronger emotional awareness skillset in women?| Back