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Are Bro’ Hugs A Sign Of Weakness?|Politics, Masculinity and Femininity

October 7, 2010


President Obama and Rahm Emanuel hug after Emanuel's resignation as Chief of Staff.


This hug caused Lawrence Kudlow, columnist, economist and CNBC TV commentator to fret because he saw it as a sign of weakness.

Kudlow explained his feelings (should I use the word feelings or does it make Kudlow seem weak?) by saying:  “Remember, this is on global television. And it has to do with the very top of the United States government. Our friends and enemies were all watching. I think the hug lacked dignity. It did not send a message of American power and forcefulness. So I fret about the reaction around the world to this kind of fraternity-like emotionalism in full public view.”

I think it’s time for Kudlow to look through some old home movies.

President Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert

This picture is of President Bush and Israeli (another part of the world) Prime Minister Olmert embracing.

But they aren’t hugging as closely as Emanuel and Obama so maybe this doesn’t meet the threshold of Kudlow’s line for weakness.

Presidents Bush and Obama

Here’s a double whammy display of America’s so-called weakness – out-going President Bush with in-coming President Obama.

I wonder if Kudlow thinks that it was hugs like this by Bush earlier in his Presidency that caused 9/11. Perhaps Bin Laden saw the President hugging another man and thought “OMA, the sign I’ve been looking for. America’s weak – send out the suicide bombers.”

President Reagan and Mexican President

Kudlow said Reagan, in the same situation would have done a dignified, stand-up, serious handshake – maybe, but maybe not. Looks like he’s enjoying the big hug he’s about to get into with the Mexican President.

Prime Minister Blair and Jet Li

Here’s former British Prime Minister Tony Blair hugging Kung Fu star Jet Li. Notice someone’s arm in the background. Looks to me like that person’s coming in to make it a group hug. <gasp>

Following Kudlow’s reasoning, it was probably weak, undignified acts like this that started the ball rolling for the end of the British Empire.

It’s a sad commentary when someone – anyone – sees hugging as a sign of weakness.  I want both men and women to be able to hug, tear up, and display feelings without it being seen as a sign of weakness. Holding feelings in is like holding a beach ball under the water and once released (or it/they just can’t be held down anymore) it shoots up uncontrollably, spraying water everywhere.

Would Kudlow have thought that it showed America’s power if Obama had punched Emanuel for leaving his position? A punch appears more powerful than a hug or a handshake.

What do you think? More importantly how are you raising your sons and daughters? Are displays of hugging a sign of weakness?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 8, 2010 8:15 am

    Great post Cherry! Reading it I couldn’t help but compare North American attitudes to Latin American customs. Since living in South America for 6 years now I have to say I really appreciate the kisses that we greet each other with – men and women alike. And I love to see how freely men express affection for each other. And men who cry *gasp* aren’t sissies either. To “break down” and cry is perfectly acceptable for a man in Argentina. And I like that.

  2. October 8, 2010 4:34 pm

    Cherry, I’m saddened by Mr. Kudlow’s one-dimensional perspective. As a man, father, husband, friend, business owner, hockey player, skydiver, beer lover, wine dis-liker, and owner of many scars, a hug is one of my favorite expressions of humanity and community.

    I’m not sure Obama punching Emanuel would have satisfied Mr. Kudlow. A scathing, backstabbing, victimized, drama-filled sob story of betrayal and treachery might be more to Mr. Kudlows liking. I’m hopeful Mr. Kudlow’s commentary isn’t a predictor of bedtime at the Kudlow household:

    “Daddy, I’m not interested in reading that book again.”
    “Son, we’re going to read this one again or I’ll kick you’re a#&!”

    Great post.

  3. October 9, 2010 9:20 am

    Hummm, I wonder what Kudlow thinks about all those burly football players holding hands in the huddle before the game or while watching a game-winning field goal kick. Does that show the other team they are weak? Doesn’t he watch men from other cultures bow or give the double cheek kiss? Great job calling him on his silly point. Loved those photos! ~Dawn

  4. alexgprkc permalink
    October 9, 2010 10:29 am

    Silly. In the right context, a hug says more than a thousand words. Great post!

  5. October 9, 2010 10:51 am

    Great analysis! Mr. Kudlow is wrong. Offering compassion, affection, congratulations, protection, etc. with a hug is a display of strength.

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