Julie Burchill

Crying shame: the weaponisation of weeping

In the kingdom of the victim, the wet-eyed woman is queen

  • From Spectator Life
Adele at the 2016 Brit Awards [Alamy]

‘Tears are not enough,’ ABC once sang defiantly – but these days, they’re more than enough for handsomely rewarded celebrities to assure us that they suffer like the rest of us, so please don’t hate them. Watching the BBC Breakfast presenter Sally Nugent – a 51-year-old woman – boo-hooing recently after watching a clip of some cute guide dogs, I sincerely wished that Lord Reith might rise from his grave and bundle the heaving hack under a cold shower. I’m just so bored by celebrity tears.

Or take Frankie Bridge, the ex-Saturdays singer, an attractive young woman with an adoring husband and adorable children, who like her footballer spouse Wayne has a net worth of around £9 million. What’s an appropriate way to send your fans – who may be wondering whether they can afford to go wild and turn the heating on – season’s greetings? Why, post a photograph of yourself on Instagram crying (beautifully) after a therapy session, reminding we heartless revellers that ‘Christmas isn’t all parties and presents’, before another post showcasing your fantastic abs as you work out with your hot husband.

Across on Netflix, Meghan Markle could recently be seen piping her eye over the pitifulness of having a $100 million reality-show deal (‘The Carcrashians’) and 16 bathrooms. Was I the only person who, rather than taking sides in the bridesmaid tights debate, found the who-made-who-cry competition a rather pathetic way for two women in their forties to carry on, even though I adore Kate and deplore Meghan? But even Duchess Dolorosa could learn a few tricks from Adele, surely the Serena Williams of snivelling; googling ‘Adele crying’ shows 9,860,000 results, most recently weeping when England lost at football, bawling over a fan celebrating a divorce and grizzling over the postponement of her Vegas residency – now a sodden triumph. 

Blubbering used to be confined to toddlers and Oscar-winners but now everybody’s doing it

Of all the emotions women may now show openly after suppressing them for so long – anger, ambition, disdain – there’s always some ninny who prefers to take the coward’s way out and weaponise the waterworks.

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