Stop Your Sobbing

Ladies, the time has come for a change.  As Chrissie Hynde says, and so say I: “It is time for you to stop all of your sobbing.”

Crying has long been an emotional expression considered to be a no-man’s land, rendering the act of crying to be a veritable ladies’ room to which we flee when it all gets to be a little too much.  In these here United States, it’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to shed a tear when she’s disappointed or frustrated: in fact, it’s sometimes even considered downright adorable!

When a woman cries out of frustration or disappointment she trades her percieved competance for cuteness.  She becomes a helpless child when she cries, or, equally detrimental: a pawn of her own hormonal wiles.  It’s considered acceptable for women to cry because it reinforces the stereotype of women as weak, hormonally-driven, and ultimately incapable of handling a true challenge.

Tears are for sadness.  Loss of life, loss of love: perfectly acceptable reasons to cry.  Hell, even men will cry for those reasons.  But crying because the outcome of your actions fell short of your expectations is a retreat from personal responsibility that casts doubt on your right to responsibility.  When you cry, you are not taking action to solve the problem at hand.  You are sending a distress signal that says you can’t handle that problem.  For some women, this distress signal does double duty as manipulative tactic intended to recruit someone else to solve the problem.  Either way, crying does especially flatter the crybaby in question.

Where there is effort, there is failure: this is a fact.  But failure is only failure when we do not take something useful from it, when we give up, when we cry.  Crying is an admission of not only your own personal failure but also the failure of your sex.  As long as we’re packing Kleenexes in our purses we’ll never see a female President voted into office, I can promise you that much.  So suck it up, ladies!

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10 Responses to “Stop Your Sobbing”

  1. Abba Kafka Says:

    Hm. I don’t know about that. While I agree that there is a time and place to let the tears fall, I refuse to be socialized like a man and just hold it all in. So unhealthy. While I was boxing, I used to cry all the time after an especially intense sparring session. Like, I just had to. After 30 rounds of getting *just pummeled* by guys to train for an upcoming match, I found it so necessary to cry in order to keep going. No one in my gym cared (especially since I wasn’t using it as any sort of excuse) since they all felt the same way. The guys were trapped in macho land through no fault of their own and many made it clear that they wished they could cry too. A few did cry but you could tell they felt shameful about it.
    With me being a GIRL, everyone knew it was a a natural build up of emotion that needed to be released. For once, my socialization worked for me. I was given that allowance but not penalized for it. My actions following always spoke volumes toward my work ethic and I always handled that emotion as if it was just a normal course of things.
    When the gym saw that I didn’t care about crying and wasn’t asking for any special consideration, it treated it as business as usual and I would continue my training. I never cried after a match but people get that it happens. After a huge victory or a terrible stinging defeat, how can it not? I like crying. And I like crying in boxing. When it happens, it’s so honest.

    • hellraisin Says:

      Time and place are indeed important, as you’ve pointed out. You cry after a bout, not during. That you come back to fight again and refuse to cave in to frustration speaks of your strength and dedication. What a person does after a conflict is their business; their behavior while in its midst is crucial to my point. What if the ref made a call that you didn’t like, and things were not going well for you, would you just drop your gloves and bust out crying? Of course not. So, yes, you’re right: crying does provide a healthy emotional release, but only when it’s safe to do so.

  2. hellraisin Says:

    Abba Kafka may have served our country in the Gulf War and owns a pair of boxing gloves, but she is indeed a female. I repeat: Abba Kafka is a girl.

  3. Lesley Says:

    I have to agree with Abba. Damn it melinda, you made me agree with Abba! Crying is a release. Something most animals do one way or another. It’s only looked at as weak because everything that is deemed “female” is looked down upon and perceived as weak. Screw that. I’ll cry when I want to (so hard not to quote lesley gore)!

    • hellraisin Says:

      There is a time and a place for crying, and everybody does it. I wouldn’t advocate a moratorium on crying any more than I would laughing or farting, for that matter. But I still think that the reason why it’s “okay” for women to cry is because it fulfills a gender stereotype of incompetance and weakness. I’m not “okay” with that stereotype, so I’m not going to cry in front of an audience when things don’t go my way. I know it’s hard to hear, but I’ve come by my ideas with the simple realization that the world at large is not my friend. You and I, as women, are constantly being scrutinized (without affection, without compassion) for signs of inferiority. You don’t do yourself any favors by believing your actions will be accepted on their own merit and will be interpreted beyond the lexicon of oppression. This is why crying tears of frustration or disappointment is not something women should do publically.

      And yes, I have become a hard ass and a sour puss in my old age.

  4. Abba Kafka Says:

    Just what is public then? I cried right there in the ring (granted, between rounds, but that might have just been providence). It seems inconsistent to say it’s alright to cry in my gym but not okay for other women to express their emotions in other environments.
    I don’t think anyone with any self-respect likes crying about things in front of people. I don’t. But it happens. I don’t whine about things, if that’s what you really mean by crying. Or throwing tantrums. But the natural expression of my emotions within a reasoned framework? A logical reaction to events? Why would I quash those just to hope that the boys take me seriously?
    Given that I seem to constantly be in male-heavy environments (military, boxing), I do know that I will never please all of the people any of the time. I’ve stopped trying. I just let my work speak for itself.
    If someone *still* thinks I’m “wimpy” because I dared to cry when a helicopter landed on me, then I view that person as intolerant. They’re sexist and should be viewed in the same vein as racists, homophobes and the like.
    To say that women should not cry in order to not support a stereotype inflicted upon us by other men, is to say that black people should never have fried chicken because it would reinforce some racist jerks idea. Eff them. Eat the chicken, have a good cry.

  5. Lesley Says:

    I miss fried chicken!

  6. hellraisin Says:

    Dear Abba: Within the core of your disagreement, I find something with which I agree. What I keep harping on as “time and place” for crying is pretty much a “natural expression of…motions within a reasoned framework… A logical reaction to events”. Outside of that context, we find the tantrum-throwers and the crybabies, women who look like incompetant ninnies. I love how you’ve taken this blog to heart (and I still can’t believe you saw Heart WITHOUT ME, by the way) despite the fact that you yourself pretty much embody the counter definition of an incompetant ninny.

    Fried chicken? Really?

  7. Abba Kafka Says:

    One could say that about either sex, then. I cannot stand it when people in general throw fits, especially when it smacks of terrible immaturity. As for when women do it, I will agree with you absolutely. I mean, I hate it when men also act like children, but being a woman (really!) means I feel like I’m being dragged down, down, down. Down through the ages, backwards, hurtling spine first onto a Victorian era doorstop.
    It just makes the rest of us look bad.
    Aaron works with this woman who cries–*cries*–every time she needs time off of work. It’s always a sob story. Thanks a lot lady. Thank you for making us look just so intelligent. Once again Melinda, in the middle of disagreeing, I find myself agreeing with you.
    Oh, and Heart was just fantastical. Frances and I wished you and Lesley were with us. I think there was fried chicken there too.

    • hellraisin Says:

      I think we were in agreement this entire time; it just took me several comment replies to revise my thesis into something reasonable. This is why you should probably stick around and not let me get away with my fascist jive.

      I love the Victorian era doorstep image. Have you ever told me why you don’t write?

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