News Columns & Blogs

Double standards on crying

Here is one thing on which conservative and liberal women agree: There is a gender double standard for politicians who cry. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that she would be  "knocked a little bit" if she cried while giving a speech. But incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, gets a "pass" when he cries in public, Palin noted. Columnist Gail Collins pondered how outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would have been treated if she cried. And Rebecca Traister, author of "Big Girls Don't Cry," noted how Hillary Clinton never cried during a particular campaign event in New Hampshire during her presidential campaign. Yet even the fact that she looked like she might cry made national news.Collins contended that there is also a double standard between Republicans and Democrats. "On the one hand," she wrote, "you have the folks who can't afford tears because it makes them look weak, and on the other, the people who are presumed to be tough and hard-nosed, for whom crying is an attractive sign of complexity."