Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Crying Game: Male vs Female

latest study mentioned on Yahoo is that crying men and crying women are viewed very differently. I actually get quite a kick out of all the studies that try to sound profound when they are just commenting on obvious things. Anyway here is a snippet:

In a recently published study at Penn State, researchers sought to explore differing perceptions of crying in men and women, presenting their 284 subjects with a series of hypothetical vignettes.

What they found is that reactions depended on the type of crying, and who was doing it. A moist eye was viewed much more positively than open crying, and males got the most positive responses.

"Women are not making it up when they say they're damned if they do, damned if they don't," said Stephanie Shields, the psychology professor who conducted the study. "If you don't express any emotion, you're seen as not human, like Mr. Spock on 'Star Trek,'" she said. "But too much crying, or the wrong kind, and you're labeled as overemotional, out of control, and possibly irrational."

That comes as no surprise to Suzyn Waldman, a well-known broadcaster of Yankee games on New York's WCBS Radio.

Earlier this month, she choked up for several seconds on live radio after the Yankees had just been eliminated from the playoffs. She was describing the scene as manager Joe Torre's coaches choked up themselves, watching him at the podium and foreseeing the end of an era.

Her tearful report quickly became an Internet hit, and she was mocked far and wide, especially on radio, with her voice, for example, played over the song "Big Girls Don't Cry."

"This turned into something pretty ugly," Waldman said in an interview. "I don't throw around the word 'sexist,' but this was as sexist as it gets."

She also wrote a passionate editorial in Newsday defending her brief display of emotion. "While the anger and sarcasm that I can and do display is all right with people," she wrote, "the occasional tear is scary and is ridiculed. Why?"

While Waldman notes that female anger in the clubhouse, is OK — it makes her seem tough, she says — one recent study indicates that perceptions of anger, too, differ according to gender.

"When men express anger they gain status, but when women express anger they lose status," Yale social psychologist Victoria Brescoll, who conducted three experiments on how people perceive female anger, said in an interview. Her study is to be published in the journal Psychological Science.

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