The Emotional Load - Book Review
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Photo from Seven Stories Press
The Emotional Load and Other Invisible Stuff
is a collection of comics from best-selling French artist Emma. The Emotional Load
addresses the idea that women often feel pressured to keep their own emotions under control and to manage the emotional wellbeing of others both in the workplace and at home. The Emotional Load
is 216-pages long and was published by Seven Stories Press on 14 April 2020. It is the follow-up book to the best-selling comic book collection The Mental Load (2018)
which sprung from a viral comic of Emma’s called ‘You Should Have Asked’
which described the invisible burden a lot of women feel to manage career, family, and home.
In my review of The Mental Load
, I commented how eye-opening her comic ‘You Should Have Asked’
was for me. I knew that I was tired and spent a lot of my time constantly remembering hundreds of tasks that needed doing but I thought that was just life as a parent and an adult. A lot of women are affected by the mental load and just like me also struggled to explain why they felt fatigued all the time. This is because the mental load is something that not a lot of people talk about. I wasn’t even aware that there was a word used to describe it. Emma’s comics made me realise that the mental load was something that affected a lot of women because of the societal idea that women and girls are expected to be caregivers to others. I had barely finished my review of The Mental Load
when I saw that Emma had published another book called The Emotional Load
. I immediately clicked add to cart.
In The Emotional Load
, Emma talks in depth about a number of issues that affect women at home and in the workplace. In one of the chapters she addresses the criticism that her work is too focused on women and she doesn’t talk about the mental load of men enough. Many people told Emma that men also have a mental load and are constantly thinking about their job and having to work to support their families. Emma doesn’t dispute this but points out that women also worry about work while also worrying about household chores as well. This is called having a “double workday” and is something that is very specific to women.
One topic in the book that I found interesting was benevolent sexism
and how it can hold women back in the workplace. Benevolent sexism is when a woman is hired not because of her skills but because of her gender with the idea that she will become the ‘token’ woman of the office who will be expected to look after everyone. It can also include making belittling comments to them that are disguised as friendly, giving them less responsibility as men, and expecting them to be in charge of the emotional well-being of others in the office. This chapter really stood out to me because it is such a common occurrence. The sad fact is a lot of women just put up with behaviour like this because we are expected to smile and be nice.
The chapter on the emotional load was very interesting. Emma starts the chapter by talking about how a lot of women feel responsible for managing the emotional well-being of others on top of balancing career, family, and home as well. This is called ‘emotional labor’ and is something that effects a lot of women in the workplace and at home. Emotional labor involves manipulating how you express your own emotions to please someone else. This might be saying ‘thank you’ to a compliment that makes you uncomfortable or changing your behaviour to please your spouse. I’ve seen a lot of women in my life be forced into the position of doing emotional labor to keep the mood in the room from turning sour. I am so very tired of seeing this scene unfold over and over again.
In the chapter ‘Consequences’
Emma talks how much mental stress women find themselves under. It can be hard for a woman to sit down for a big meal without worrying about the calories in it for example. The simple act of getting dressed can also cause stress because women are always worrying about consequences and their bodies being scrutinized from every angle. Some women find the pressure to look a certain way to be so overwhelming they stop looking at their reflections and refuse to appear in photographs. This part hit hard for me because I am guilty of doing this. I really like how well Emma explains how exhausting it is to be a woman. But she also points out that it is not her intention to start a competition between men and women about who has suffered the most. She just wants equality.
From the author of The Mental Load
, comes The Emotional Load and Other Invisible Stuff
, a book that discusses women's experiences with social issues like consent, love, gallantry, retirement, safe places, and more.
The Emotional Load: And Other Invisible Stuff - Seven Stories Press
You Should've Asked - Emma
More Book Reviews by Marisa
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262567 - 2023-09-13 23:05:20