It was over a week ago that Ellen DeGeneres had a meltdown over a dog named Iggy. But the repercussions carry on: As Jocelyn Noveck reports in USA Today:"It can be easier for a crying man to be taken seriously than a crying woman." Especially in an election year. Tom Lutz, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, who wrote Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears, says "Bill [Clinton] could cry, and did, but Hillary can't." Apparently, there's a double standard: A recent Penn State study sought to explore the different perceptions of crying between men and women. They found that reactions depended on the type of crying, and who was doing it. Watery eyes were viewed more positively than sobbing, and males got the most positive responses. As in, crying women were viewed negatively.
"Women are not making it up when they say they're damned if they do, damned if they don't," said Stephanie Shields, the psychology professor who conducted the study. "If you don't express any emotion, you're seen as not human, like Mr. Spock on Star Trek," she said. "But too much crying, or the wrong kind, and you're labeled as overemotional, out of control, and possibly irrational."
So why is it that if a man has tears in his eyes, he's thought of as in touch with his feelings, and admirably so? And when a woman cries she's weak? On his talk show, comedian Bill Maher weighed in on Ellen's sobs by saying, "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." "If I was a woman," he added, "I would be embarrassed right now. I would be embarrassed for all womankind." Actually, if he were a woman, wouldn't he just think that remark was stupid-ass thing to say?
'Big Girls Don't Cry,' But Big Boys Can? [USA Today]