Monday, July 17, 2006

Women Cry More Easily, Really?

Lindsay got me thinking about this question today, via her post on Ben Barres (the transgendered Neurobiologist who recently wrote an article on gender discrimination in Nature.) Barres described himself as crying less easily since the operation. The implication is that women (or folks with less testosterone) cry more easily. Lindsay noted that she saw many of her male friends weep after the World Cup. Shit, I was sort of moved by the players' tears after both the Germany-Italy game and the France-Italy one.

I started thinking about whether or not I cry easily. And, well, the answer is yes and no. I find crying nearly impossible to do in my actual life. I have often tried to manufacture tears because I was so embarrassed by what I took to be an apathy or numbness at horrific situations. I attended the funeral of a student of mine, who was brutally murdered, and I couldn't cry. I wanted to; I wanted to after the fact and couldn't. I remember telling a colleague about her murder, and my colleague teared up immediately, which left me in awe . . . I also remember asking a male colleague of mine to read a letter I wrote to an ex after he broke up with me. My male colleague teared up when he read it, and yet, alas I sat their tearless. Now, don't get me wrong. I have cried, particularly when I feel really frustrated or if I feel like someone is abandoning me. But, even in those situations, I rarely cry. I have to be very frustrated and worn down. Just today I had to face the real possibility that my doggie has some kind of serious problem, such as colon cancer, and I couldn't cry. I started wondering if I would cry were the Vet to tell me that my dog was dying.

On the other hand, I cry at almost any sappy (stupid even) melodrama TV show, movie or commerical. Whoever did the research on what music to play or what camera lens and angle to use (or whatever) to make the spectator cry, well, he/she got my number. I am sort of embarrased by how easily I cry in these venues. The only other person I know like this is my mother. Her theory is that this is safe outlet for tears. Perhaps?

But enough about me . . .what are your impressions about gender and tears?