[FOUNTAIN]Weeping beauties

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[FOUNTAIN]Weeping beauties

There are numerous sarcastic proverbs about women's tears. A French proverb says that tears are a woman's eloquence. A Czech proverb says that morning rain and a woman's tears dry quickly. A British proverb says that half of the women shedding tears and half the dogs limping are faking. A Russian proverb says that a wise man will regard a woman's tears as simply water.

Famous men have also been cynical of women's tears. Fyodor Dostoevsky said that men should not be fooled by women's tears. Socrates said that it is a woman's nature to weep as she pleases. Friedrich Nietzsche said that a man weeps that he might have brought pain to others, but a woman weeps at the thought that she failed to deliver enough pain to others.

If it is true that women are easily moved to tears, compared to men, it is because by nature women's emotions and sensibilities are more developed than men's. In the 1960s and 1970s, the view that differences between men and women result from environment was predominant. According to this opinion, the government, schools, religious bodies and other social groups, all led by men, have emphasized the differences between men and women, differences that generally are unfavorable to women, to prevent women from developing their abilities.

But since the late 1980s, the view that there are inborn differences between men and women, based on the differences of cerebral activity, has gained strength. According to research, the male brain evolved to help make men hunters, while the female brain evolved to help women be the guardians of children and nests.

According to "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps," written by Barbara and Allan Pease, men are generally excellent in spatial awareness, which makes them good hunters. Women are excellent at recognizing changes in atmosphere or another person's attitudes, which makes them good guardians.

After Japan's former foreign minister, Makiko Tanaka, shed tears on camera over her feud with ministry bureaucrats, the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said, "Tears are women's ultimate weapons." Female lawmakers in Japan were upset at the remark and criticized Mr. Koizumi as "sexist." I don't think it was a proper comment for a prime minister. It is not right to speak sarcastically about women's differences compared with men. Rather, one should acknowledge that native differences between men and women may exist.



The writer is a deputy international news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.


by Noh Jae-hyun

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