Shared Post: I Do Not Have to Perform Your Emotional Labor

One thing I’ve increasingly heard from many friends in marginalized communities is the great demand for performing something called emotional labor, which is “the process by which people manage and often suppress their feelings, their facial and verbal expressions, and their body language in order to fulfill the emotional demands of some task.”[1] One common refrain I’ve heard from these friends is that they are exhausted from having to perform this extensive emotional labor, especially when the labor asked of my friends involves something that people can find out themselves through minimal research.

Arielle Rebekah Gordon at Trans and Caffeinated wrote about her own experiences with having to perform extensive emotional labor. As an activist for transgender rights, she, like many of my friends in marginalized communities, has expressed just how exhausting it is to consistently perform emotional labor for other people.

While the emotional labor asked of Arielle may be in some ways different from the emotional labor asked of people in other marginalized communities,[2] many of the same issues expressed in her post about emotional labor have been expressed by friends also having to perform extensive emotional labor. They are issues that others of us should be aware of.

So, I hope that my readers also read her post on emotional labor, and also give her blog a look!

You can find Arielle’s post on emotional labor here.

You can find Arielle’s blog here.


[1] This definition of emotional labor comes from the post I shared. The only difference between the definition I have and the definition from the author of the shared post (Arielle) is that my definition is in the third person while her definition is in the first person.

[2] For example, the common question of, “Have you had ‘the surgery’?” is a question that is specific to people who identify as transgender.

7 Replies to “Shared Post: I Do Not Have to Perform Your Emotional Labor”

    1. Thanks for commenting.

      To answer your question about voting and emotional labor, I think it really depends on how the voter feels about the Democratic Party candidate. Presumably, it’s possible for someone to reluctantly vote for the Democratic candidate (“the process by which people manage and often suppress their feelings”), while in the process not showing their anger for still feeling left behind in certain ways such as certain Democrats’ advocacy for policing that hurts minorities (“their facial and verbal expressions, and their body language”), in order to still vote and still have some semblance of their voice being heard because someone feels the other candidate is so much worse (“in order to fulfill the emotional demands of some task”). So, your example might be an example of emotional labor for certain voters, but it varies from voter to voter.

      That being said, I do think that emotional labor is VERY present in our politics in a number of ways. I think people running for office and people who get elected are often expected to perform emotional labor. Politicians are often expected to put on a happy or cheerful face (“the process by which people manage and often suppress their feelings”), even if they’re struggling physically or emotionally (“their facial and verbal expressions, and their body language”), because it’s important to be a good representative and do your job well (“in order to fulfill the emotional demands of some task”). I think that such emotional labor exists in our politics, ESPECIALLY with women and minority politicians in order to not fall into many societal stereotypes that still exist (example: stereotypes of “the angry black person” or the “bossy woman”). LOTS of feelings and expressions often need to be suppressed in order to not fall into some of those stereotypes, in the mind of some voters.

      Hopefully this explanation helps! And if it doesn’t, feel free to ask away.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I hate when they expect women in politics to be emotional, but not too much. The whole when Hillary got pneumonia and they thought she end her race. Whereas Bernie has heart surgery and he’s a hero?lol

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep. Women are not expected to be too emotional, and people of color are expected not to fall into the “angry black person” stereotype. It takes lots of emotional labor just in order to not fall into stereotypes that many in the electoral public have about anyone who’s not…well…straight and white and male.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s