Tears with Fears: Men and Women and the battle over public crying
It's all because of Ellen: After she cried on-air last week about a rescue agency reclaiming her adopted dog (she passed the pup on to her hairdresser after seeing that the dog didn't get along with her cats; the agency reclaimed it soon after) the whole nation was in a tizzy about public tear-dropping.
AP writer Jocelyn Noveck has dug a bit deeper and discovered some solid research on the public's reaction to wet cheeks from their most beloved figures, and the results are...well, depressing, frankly. At least if you're a woman.
Long story short: Men who cry in public (a few tears, not a deluge) are seen positively, in touch with their feelings. Women, however, are seen as weak or lacking control. This is especially true in politics. Similarly, when men get angry, they gain status. Women, on the other hand, lose status when expressing anger in public. [q
politics, it's a far cry (OK, pun intended) from 1972, when Sen. Ed
Muskie's presidential campaign was derailed by what were perceived to
be tears in response to a newspaper attack on his wife. Whether he
actually cried is still up for debate. But decades later, an occasional
Clintonesque tear is seen as a positive thing.
Bill Clinton, that is.
"Bill could cry, and did, but Hillary can't," says Tom Lutz, a
professor at the University of California, Riverside who authored an
exhaustive history of crying. In other words, the same tearful response
that would be seen as sensitivity in Bill could be seen as a lack of
control in his wife.[/q]All of this, of course, depends on context, but it's still something to consider. Comedian Bill Maher took Ellen's crying as an opportunity to point out that women obviously can't handle pressure and therefore Hillary Clinton would make a bad president. I'm paraphrasing; what he actually said was
"At this moment when the entire nation is saying 'Hmm, can we have a woman president? Maybe they're too emotional,' I don't think this is helping,"
But what do I know--I'm just a girl. I'll just stay over here in the corner, crying, baking cookies and getting pregnant. And hey, if someday I choose to keep my emotions to myself, I can do anything! I can have a talk show! Or maybe even run for president!