Whatever turns you on, right? Maybe, but the fact that there's a market for Crying Girl points to something more woeful across the Pacific. Available at Amazon Japan, the film pitches itself as a self-help tool to empower men and stir up their "macho instincts" by showing the "vulnerability" of women. But are men are so emasculated by the growing independence of Japanese womenwhose widespread rejection of marriage is a major social issuethat watching them cry can really boost their self-esteem? Yes, says Hiroshi Ueno, an associate social psychologist at Tokyo's Meiji University. "In the past, men went straight from being spoiled by their mothers to being spoiled by their wives," he says. "But modern women want to be treated as equals, and some men can't handle that."
Ueno notes that crying is currently fashionable in reserved Japan, with actors and politicians regularly bursting into tears on TV. Still, the Crying Girl flick seems to go beyond a mere fad. As Ueno notes, "Japanese women are getting more powerful by the day, and men are experiencing a deep malaise of inadequacy." Anyone need a tissue?