Gemma Hartley, blogger who penned the viral article, Women Aren’t Nags — We’re Just Fed Up, and book Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women and the Way Forward seems confused. To paraphrase Inigo Montoya, “Emotional labor. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” (*Full disclosure: I haven’t read Gemma’s book and have no intention of doing so. The Harper’s Bazaar article was bad enough.)
Gemma seems to have confused the disappointment and resentment she feels due to unrealistic relationship and life expectations with emotional labor. She’s also confusing her choices to make unnecessary work for herself (e.g., elaborately braiding her daughter’s hair or going overboard at Christmas) with emotional labor. Emotional labor is an actual thing, but, I repeat, it does not mean what Gemma thinks it means.
To quote Wikipedia:
Emotional labor is the process of managing feelings and expressions to fulfill the emotional requirements of a job.  More specifically, workers are expected to regulate their emotions during interactions with customers, co-workers and superiors. This includes analysis and decision making in terms of the expression of emotion, whether actually felt or not, as well as its opposite: the suppression of emotions that are felt but not expressed.”
Not exactly what Gemma claims to be suffering, now is it?
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to email@example.com.
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