Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Carine Fabius Headshot

Men's Tears, Women's Tears and Crocodile Tears

Posted: Updated:
Print

So, did you catch the bit about the "supreme leader" weeping at the end of his speech exhorting Iranians to stop demonstrating and get with the program already, or else? I have not read every single word written on the riveting protests all last week, but I've been following this thing pretty closely and I only once saw reference to the big dog's crying, with nary a mention of how unbelievably strange it was. According to the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, June 20th:

At the sermon's end, Khamenei began lamenting his physical condition and weeping, a gesture that signaled his displeasure and moved the throngs of dignitaries and Basiji militiamen gathered before him to weep in response. Observers said Khamenei's gesture, similar to one he made during the height of 1999 student protests, was a call for loyalists to crack down on the demonstrators as a way of righting a wrong done to their patron.

Well, when I read that, I don't know about you, but for some reason, I was shocked enough to put my coffee cup down and whisper, Wow. I think the reason I was so disturbed was that it brought up those times I couldn't stop my tears from flowing at some horribly inopportune moment, like in a business setting, or just because I was sick, or because I was so freaked out that time I found myself surrounded by all those cops (because of a nightmarish near miss in which the speeding officer nearly killed me). In any case, the terrible thing about those three episodes is that they were all public crying; and you know how adult women aren't supposed to cry 'cause that makes us look weak, especially if we consider ourselves to be brave, grown up feminists (I'm one of those who still thinks the word feminist means demanding equal pay and equal rights, as opposed to being a man-hater).

Here I've been all my life, trying hard as I could to quell my God-given nature, thanks to societal pressures, and here's a man in power -- and certainly no man is ever supposed to cry, even by himself in the shower -- not just tearing up but weeping in a gnashing of teeth kind of way, and no one even makes a snide remark about it? This isn't just a double standard, it's a double insult! Someone, anyone, please make a joke about it. When Hillary Clinton cried, the press fell over themselves analyzing the woman's natural impulse -- was it natural? I don't usually watch cable news, but like everyone else at the time, I was a candidate for election junkie rehab. They played that clip so many times, it made me want to weep for being stupid enough to watch that crap in the first place.

So, here's the way it works these days: if a woman in a position of power cries in public, she's either weak or being manipulative. If a man in power cries, it's because he's man enough to let his tears show. And if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei weeps in public because he's soooo sad that Iranians are refusing to follow his orders, it's not even worth a comment because, well, isn't it obvious what he's up to? Do we need to belabor the point? Actually, yes. Remember that saying about crocodile tears? It comes from the age-old belief that crocodiles shed [those fake] tears while gorging on their prey. Come on, can't even one of those smarty pants columnists or high-paid comedians with their own television shows find a way to incorporate that into a monologue?