Feature

Let women be weepy at work.

The week's news at a glance.

United Kingdom

Helen Rumbelow
The Times

Feminists need to stand up for the right to cry at the office, said Helen Rumbelow in the London Times. Men lose their cool at work all the time. But if a woman breaks down, her career is over. That’s because for a man, getting angry means getting loud and aggressive, which makes for an unpleasant scene but is at least seen as strong. Women more often express anger and frustration through tears, which are interpreted as weak. According to one study, women cry an average of 5.3 times a month, while men cry just 1.4 times (and for shorter periods). Since men shaped the norms of the modern workplace, “anger is okay, crying is not.” But that’s plainly just as sexist as judging managers on their upper-body strength. Of course, “I am not arguing for rivers of tears to irrigate Britain’s workplaces.” That would make everyone uncomfortable. But crying is no more childish than throwing a temper tantrum. Isn’t it fair to ask that women’s “emotional outpouring” be judged “equally with its male equivalent”?

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