Today, however, we will suppress our tears of gratitude for this gift, do as “some women” do and “pinch [our] cheeks, bite [our] lip or breathe deeply to stem tears while at work” because, a Styles section article informs us, it’s not a good idea for women to cry in the workplace (a rule that would be easier to follow if we weren’t sitting here pinching our cheeks and biting our lip).
It seems that although “for reasons both biological and social … women are more inclined than men to feel the urge to cry when they are frustrated” — and these days the folks who work on 43rd Street know from work frustration — waterworks at work can be “career-marring.”
We have so many questions, beyond why this article exists at all, which, we learn early on, is because — stylish news hook! — Martha Stewart told one of her wannabe female apprentices recently on her wannabe “Apprentice” TV show, “Cry and you’re outta here. Women in business don’t cry, my dear.” (The other hook is that Geena Davis “maintains a stoic appearance” as president of the United States in her new TV show, “Commander in Chief.” But could we expect anything less from the woman who starred in — and also managed not to cry in — that “there’s no crying in baseball” chick flick back in 1992?)
Why, we’d like to know, is this piece in the Styles section? Is women not crying at work the new black? Did the piece not make the cut in the Science section, despite including a quote from Dr. William H. Frey II, the director of the Alzhiemer’s Research Center at Regions Hospital in St. Paul and the author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears? And how hard must it have been for reporter Stephanie Rosenbloom to find a business muckity muck willing to go on record as against crying at work? Rosenbloom found several — including Jarrod Moses, the president and chief executive of Alliance, an entertainment marketing firm, who “looks down on crying at work because he dislikes extreme behavior of any kind.” (Tip to folks at Alliance: No more rollerskating in the hallways!)
For all the questions that this piece raised for us, we also learned a lot, including that “crying at work is different from crying at a wedding, a sappy movie or a hospital bed,” and that “temper tantrums are typically frowned upon at the office, too, but they are still considered more acceptable than crying.”
Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.
So next time we encounter a piece of journalism that makes us want to weep, or even throw things and speak in expletives — next Thursday, perhaps? — we know which one to go with.