Not too long ago, I had what I considered to be a legitimate problem to discuss with my boyfriend. Sure, it wasn’t actually anything that had happened. Yet. It was something I’d been thinking about that might happen, if certain other things happened, all of those things being caused by something else hypothetical that might happen. I was sure, when it all happened, that my boyfriend would disappoint me.

His response, after he looked at me like I was crazy? “Um, Alisa?”


“I don’t want to offend you or anything, and I hope you don’t take it the wrong way, but could it possibly be that time of month again?”

I was furious. How insulting. Never mind that it was that time of month again, and never mind that I’d been bursting into tears for no apparent reason for the three days leading up to this deep and heartfelt—and monumentally important, God knows—conversation. He was just…just..just…so, you know. Mean. And stuff.

This all happened on the heels of Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum’s announcement that he thought women were too emotional to serve in combat. The whole thing was enough to make me want to lob a grenade at someone. Preferably someone with a Y chromosome.

But seriously, the idea that women are more emotional than men is widespread and has been used to argue against allowing women to vote, fly airplanes, engage in combat on the battlefield, and many other things.

But is it true? Are women more emotional than men? And if we are, does that make us less able to carry out certain tasks?