You Are NOT Weak If You Cry, Experts Say
Modern society has emerged after having evolved over thousands of years, ever since the dawn of time. The issues which we are highlighting now, such as women rights, are pretty much unheard of if you rewind a couple of centuries. Clearly, we have become more conscious in our efforts to ensure everyone is treated equally without any kind of discrimination.
Yet, even with such a conscientious mind, we hold certain primitive perceptions in our mind. One such perception is about crying, and how anyone who cries is considered weak. In patriarchal societies, it is said that only women cry as they are the supposedly weaker gender. Even in more modern cultures, crying is a feature exclusively associated with babies, and the more mature a person becomes, the more he or she is expected to not shed any tears.
It is even more restrictive for people in power, such as politicians, to cry in front of anyone as it is instantly considered a sign of weakness. A head of state, or any person in an executive or authoritative position, is expected to hide any emotions which would otherwise naturally surface.
When Hillary Clinton Cried
During her election campaign in 2008, Hillary Clinton was asked to comment about the difficulties she had faced while campaigning for the elections. While responding to the reporter who had asked this question, Clinton became teary-eyed and her voice started to break, eventually crying to relieve some of the built-up emotions within herself.
If any other woman had cried, it would not have mattered as our somewhat patriarchal culture accepts a crying woman as something normal. But here was a woman who was campaigning to assume a powerful position, and hence for her to show emotion, it started a debate. Was this woman capable enough of running an entire country? This, and many such similar questions were now being discussed in all major publications of the country, including the New York times.
While some criticized Clinton for breaking away from her otherwise strong exterior which had drawn confidence in her abilities to run the state, others called it fake just to appear more human to her voters by showing a vulnerable side of herself. However, many were of the opinion that these tears may eventually lead Clinton to lose the election, which she ultimately did.
How A Woman Overcame This Prejudice
The online magazine Self published an article in 2007, written by a woman named Emily Griffin, who shared her own experience about how she overcame the prejudice that crying is a sign of weakness. Emily was a person who had, for years, subscribed to the ideology that crying is for weak people, and if she wanted to survive as a professional, she needed to hide her emotions to the best of her abilities, just like Clinton or any other woman who is considered successful in the professional world.
The reason why this steel-like exterior is expected of anyone who wishes to be considered capable-enough of handling the pressures prevalent in any profession is built into patriarchy. Men have, over time, been considered better suited to the corporate world because they are supposedly strong and rational in their decision-making process. If women are to enter this world, they must exhibit these same emotion-less traits which men possess.
Through therapy, Emily found that by talking about her past and exhibiting emotions, she became sincerer about her feelings with everyone. Previously she had blocked out any emotion from her life for so many years, including the time she lost her father, that it had built up and started affecting her emotional state of mind. Now she was accepting it, and crying about it as much as she could, eventually providing herself closure from all the emotional baggage she had been carrying for so many years.
A Powerful Emotion
According to Emily, crying has enabled her to healthily process emotional events, allowing her to develop into a much more emotionally stable individual. This has allowed her to develop much-deeper connections with the people around her, as she is now more authentic, compassionate, and has the freedom to be herself, all of which encourages other people to be the same way with her.
All of this has not made her a weaker person: on the contrary, she has emerged much stronger than ever before!
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