Do Not Be Threatened When Gwyneth Paltrow Cries

Gwyneth Paltrow says she cries at work because she misses her kids so much. Does this admission of emotion — tears! about babies! — affect women's position in the workplace?

The Guardian's Deborah Orr quotes Paltrow's lament about Apple and Moses, which originally appeared in the Daily Mirror: "Some days you think, 'Oh my God. They're in the bath right now and I'm not there.' And I would cry in my trailer." A little sentimental, perhaps, but Orr takes a hard line:

Paltrow may not need to work for money, like most people do, but it is fair enough for her to decide she does not wish to damage her career or subsume her identity because she has children. In a world in which some bosses [...] are only too willing to believe that woman-and-child equals unemployably-distracted-hormone-lady, however, Paltrow's open self- indulgence is nauseating.

But are Gwyneth's tears really such a threat to women? On the one hand, not every woman is so emotional about leaving her kids for the day (and many, as Orr points out, don't have a choice). On the other, plenty of women (and men as well) do miss their kids deeply — and still do a good job. Of course, an employee who sobs all the time probably isn't the most productive. But a lot of the stigma against crying has to do with the fact that, like most outward displays of emotion, it's considered feminine. And this stigma does more harm to women — and to men — than the occasional on-set breakdown does. In fact, I'd encourage Gwynnie to continue shedding her biodynamic, 100%-organic-fed tears. She could probably bottle them and sell them as a detox cleanse — or a delicious marinade for sustainably caught fish.

Gwyneth Paltrow's Tears Don't Do Women Any Favours [Guardian]