When I get really, really angry, I cry.
It's very embarrassing when it happens at work.
My mom (OmegaGranny) does, too.
I always figured it was a weakness, a failing, one of those weird things that was a personal quirk.
So when I glimpsed "When is it all right to cry?" as the header for a post at Cognitive Daily, I clicked through, read the post, and read the other posts that led to it--a bunch of female scientists and grad students discussing the times they cry in a professional situation, and how they, too, find that they cry when they get angry and frustrated, and they, too, feel that it leaves them at a disadvantage.
After all, crying is a sign of weakness. An attempt to manipulate. It's "inappropriate" to cry in a professional situation.
Or so we are socialized to believe.
I also cry at schmaltzy commercials and movies, too--but it's "appropriate" to cry at those times. (Well, sorta.) And at weddings. And funerals. And probably on the day OmegaDotter graduates from high school.
There are a lot of interesting comments to those posts--men admitting that they, too, cry--but in private. Men saying that they've had co-workers cry around them, and they feel at a loss as to what to do. Some discussion about the socialization process. Some discussion about inherent differences between men and women. Go check them out.
In the "Neener, neener, I'm so much better than you!" department, there's this study on differences between adoptive and biological parents. Sociologists studied data from 13,000 households with first-graders, 161 of whom were adoptive families. The study concluded that the adoptive parents spent more money, more time, read together more, ate together more, and talked to their children about their problems more than biological parents.
The researchers concluded that adoptive parents were more invested in becoming parents, and more likely to be trying to compensate for a society that regards adoption as "second best", and then compared these results to an expectation of what type of parents gays and lesbians might be.
Now, while I'm all down with the idea of being seen as "better", I've got to say that spending more money doesn't mean diddley in the world of parenting. I've known plenty of parents who threw money at their kids in an effort to prove affection, in an effort to solve problems, in some weird way thinking that money equals love.
In addition, as Dawn points out in her discussion of the study, adoptive parents could be seen as "helicopter parents", and the publicity about the study seems to focus more on adoptive parents than the fact that gays and lesbians can do quite a nice job on their own, thankyewverramuch.
In the end, the whole write-up leaves me squeamish. It's akin to the whole "adoptive parents are saints" mythology, the "Oh, you're doing such a Good Thing!" gushing that one gets from new acquaintances. That sort of thing makes me feel like they're implying, in a weird sort of way, that it takes a mighty special person to even want my darling dotter. Harrumph. To me...well, she's my daughter, and I love her, and I find it hard to wrap my mind around the concept of it being difficult to love someone who isn't "your own".
I'm sure that the journalists have mangled the results of the study in some way, picking some point to emphasize that really wasn't the point the researchers were wanting to get across. I'd be interested to know if the study controlled for income, social status, number of children in the family, etc. Perhaps the correlation that is trumpeted here is more one of monetary influence: parents who can afford to adopt might have more discretionary income to spend on their kids; they might have a higher socioeconomic level that promotes focus on reading and family time--goodness only knows.
And I find it simply appalling that the article says "The researchers said their findings call into question the long-standing argument that children are best off with their biological parents." Oh, goodness, what a can of worms that opens up--what a splendid validation for all those adoption agencies who subtly (or not-so-subtly) coerce young unwed moms into placing for adoption because "the child will be so much better off in a two-parent family!"