Tuesday, January 08, 2008

the politics of crying

Something's been bothering me for a while now. Men crying on television. Athletes, actors, politicians, reporters: all men, all crying, all the time. Why does this bother me? I'm a feminist. I should be fine with men expressing their emotions. The problem, I've realized, is women don't have the same freedom. Sure, the boundaries of male behavior are expanding, but a woman who cries is still seen as irrational, emotional, "feminine".

Here are two descriptions related to political candidates crying in public:

"Crying can humanize a candidate, express empathy and help the person connect with voters."

"... tearful television interviews aren't helping [the candidate's] case for leadership."

Guess whose tears are "humanizing"? Guess whose tears are torpedoing their campaign?

A. Mitt Romney, penis owner
B. Hillary Rodham Clinton, uterus owner

When Mitt Romney cries, it's spun as positive. When Hillary Clinton is "tearful" - she didn't even actually CRY, people! - she is admitting defeat, looking like a loser, and being de-humanized.

How is that crying humanizes men and de-humanizes women (makes them ineligible for responsible jobs, for example)? It doesn't. It can't. There is no logic in this.

This is why I'm sick of looking at men cry. Because there are always, always negative consequences when a woman cries in public, and now there are positive consequences when a man cries in public.

How often did Bill Clinton weep while campaigning or in office? All. The. Time. Hillary "tears up" and the doom-and-gloomers predict the end of her campaign, her career, her very believability as a candidate.

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