Crying on Campus

  • Daphna Hacker
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


Crying is one of the most gendered emotional expressions. It acts as a gendering border that reinforces common patriarchal perceptions of hierarchal essentialist differences between the sexes. Notwithstanding, this gendering border acts differently in different spheres. In the academic sphere, on which this essay centers, there is very little room for crying. Here, men and women alike must perform according to masculine standards if they are to fulfill the role of scholars employed by a university. These standards are based on a hierarchal mind–body dichotomy that places pure rationality as the ideal, and demands self-control and emotional distance – which do not correlate well with the messy business of unrepressed tears. In this essay, I will explore four occasions on which I breached the masculine anti-crying norm on campus. Through reflective autoethnography of these brief crying episodes, enriched by conversations I later conducted with those who witnessed my tears, and several ‘crying on campus’ stories I received from others, I strive to demonstrate the effectiveness of using crying as a litmus test for a humane and feminist academia. In particular, I will use these crying episodes to explore: (1) the costs of the tension between the perception of academia as a sphere of pure scholarship that is superior to economic calculations and bureaucracy, and the actual lived university, which is a neoliberal employer like many others; (2) the question of feminist pedagogy and the scope for feelings in professor–student relations; and (3) the importance to female researchers of mutual feminist bonding.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daphna Hacker
    • 1
  1. 1.Tel-Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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