Guest writer Sharece Willcoxon on modern emotional expression

Sharece Willcoxon is an undergrad student, studying political science at Arizona State University. She is an avid activist and participates in a variety of community reform endeavors. Photo courtesy of Sharece Willcoxon

Sharece Willcoxon is an undergrad student, studying political science at Arizona State University. She is an avid activist and participates in a variety of community reform endeavors. Photo courtesy of Sharece Willcoxon

The dignity within emotion

By Sharece Willcoxon


Without strong empirical evidence, you’re not going to be able to convince anybody respectable of anything.


It’s a bold statement, sure, but it rings true. In the academic community, there’s no room for anything except for carefully composed arguments that only reference fact. And it makes sense. When it comes to deciding things like public policy, the more caution that opinion is treated with, the better. These sorts of decisions can’t and shouldn’t be taken lightly because of the widespread effect that the general public will inevitably feel. There is a cause for clinging to tenants of logic, but it ends up defeating its purpose in a society bent on “progression”.


Because of this emphasis placed on only the strictest of “facts,” we then lose an integral feature of existence. We’re taught to disregard completely the emotional and – dare I say – spiritual aspects of human life. That doesn’t mean that people don’t find their own place for it, but emotional appeals are mocked when they are brought into public discourse. Western societies have bred in their populations a knee-jerk reaction that immediately belittles any public discussion that might have some element of spirituality in it, and subsequently, a dismissal of a vast perspective is accomplished.


I should clarify that when I refer to “spirituality,” I am not using it as a synonym for a Judeo-Christian “God.” If you have specific religious beliefs that dictate your spirituality, that’s fine, but my references to “spirituality” denote the indefinable metaphysical that is difficult if not impossible to empirically clarify. For me, I can connect it to the moment when true life begins – the bond you feel between some people and not with others. Obviously, a broad spectrum of beliefs can be tied to spirituality; it could be attributed to whatever strengthens you as an individual.


Human existence is fairly fluid in the first place, so to disregard a majority’s way of thinking based on the faulty notion that emotional arguments have no place in society is flawed and even dangerous. It closes our minds to perspectives and possibilities that could potentially be game-changers. Any given occurrence fits in smoothly with the laws of physics that have already been outlined, but that doesn’t necessarily account for all potential explanations or causes for an event.


These laws could potentially have cousins that can explain daily phenomena, but without a spiritual outlook with which to perceive metaphysical occurrences, we are unfortunately grounded. Disregarding the possibility that there might be a spiritually viable explanation shuts our supposedly “progressive” minds off to an entirely different level of thinking, one that isn’t better or worse, but simply part of another plane. There’s the harm in removing the spiritual from academic discourse, but the problem becomes more immediate within the socially defined gender roles in our society.


Emotion is considered weakness, in both men and women. Referencing typical social constructs, males are taught from a young age to remove themselves from all emotional expression, while females are nurtured and encouraged to express their emotional distaste or pleasure at their leisure.


However, even though females are allowed to share their feelings, emotional displays are still equated with weakness. One of the beautiful things about life (and I use this broad term intentionally to apply to the spectrum of existence) is the emotion that allows us to manifest what is happening to us. We are now more aware as a society that bottling up your feelings is harmful, yet the notion that emotional expression is weak is still prevalent.


The ideal politician is stoic and removed emotionally, because in our minds we associate that sort of behavior with someone who has only one motivator: logic. But that can’t be right. It’s safe to assume that any human must experience a few moments of irredeemable guilt or ecstatic glee, and the equation seems to work out that the freedom of expression makes for a freer social experience in general.


Couple the beauty and wonder of emotional expression with the shamelessness and greed that we can easily associate with emotion-free individuals, we come to the conclusion that being an emotional person isn’t as flawed as popular thought initially presents it. After all, a person devoid of empathy or emotional response is clinically defined as a “psychopath.”


The way we interact as people relies on our ability to express our feelings. We have grown to despise a major part of ourselves as a society, when in reality, emotion and spirituality can be expressed just as legitimately as a thoughtfully processed debate. By ignoring this major part of human existence, we degrade and marginalize large groups of people, and, keeping in mind the distinction between biological sex and socially constructed gender, femininity as a whole.


The wisdom of generations of American Indian Shamans are ignored because of their basis in the spiritual, despite the potential for growth and learning that society could be capable of if we accepted these different perspectives. In a culture that values progression so intensely, ignoring the input of viable groups that have been discredited previously is incongruent with any goal of betterment.

1 thought on “Guest writer Sharece Willcoxon on modern emotional expression

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.