Why are Women so Temperamental?


The issue of women’s temperamental behavior might be entertaining to a group of puzzled, exasperated males huddling in a local bar, but it is also a serious matter to many women looking for ways to control wayward emotional outbursts.

This article tries to shed more light as to why the question is an issue in the first place, looks at common explanations of the phenomenon, and suggests ways in which women can take practical steps to help curb volatile emotions.

What does it mean to be “temperamental”?

A temperamental person is usually associated with wild and intense mood swings, displaying several emotions in a short space of time for seemingly no reason. The person can show happiness, anger, irritability, frustration, impatience and sadness all in the space of about 5 minutes. Irritability is usually the first sign that precedes such an emotional outburst. Moreover, the person’s reaction seems wholly inappropriate to whatever triggered it; someone may become extremely angry and raise their voice in response to a minor transgression, like not being greeted properly.

Are women more temperamental than men?

When a man is in a foul mood, people generally ascribe it to some external trigger. Maybe his stocks plummeted, a favorite football team lost a match, or the car broke down in the middle of heavy traffic.

However, when a woman happens to be bad-tempered, most people see the reasons as being internal; she is just moody; she must be premenstrual, or she is just a nasty person. Why are these general assumptions so common when it comes to making sense of male and female emotions?

Moreover, why are women believed to be more temperamental, when it is clearly something that affects both genders?

Of the various reasons behind women’s moodiness, biological or medical explanations seem to be most plausible; female mood swings are linked with the menstrual cycle and the presence of fluctuating hormone (estrogen) levels. What this implies is that if men were biologically programmed to go through a premenstrual syndrome (PMS), they would also be as prone to moodiness like women.

Women’s vulnerability to mood swings are then largely due to their biological make-up, although the extent and frequency of the phenomenon vary from one woman to another.