Let it flow | 

Allegra Stratton's weepy display shows there's no shame in shedding tears at work

"As a woman, blubbering in the office is peak embarrassment. You could be Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg combined, but once the snivelling starts, you will only be remembered as Tiny Tears."
Allegra Stratton speaking outside her home in north London after footage emerged of her when she was the Prime Minister's spokeswoman at a mock news conference apparently showing Downing Street aides joking about a Christmas party held during last year's lockdown.

Allegra Stratton speaking outside her home in north London after footage emerged of her when she was the Prime Minister's spokeswoman at a mock news conference apparently showing Downing Street aides joking about a Christmas party held during last year's lockdown.

Deirdre Reynolds

It's the ultimate no-no for professional women.

So when Allegra Stratton ­announced her resignation last week, her tears were almost as shocking as the events leading up to the statement.

Boris Johnson's former press ­secretary stepped down amid the outcry over a Christmas party at Downing Street last December.

Her weepy apology to "all of you who lost loved ones" was at stark odds with her smiley appearance in a leaked video, which showed the 41-year-old joking with fellow No.10 staff about how there was "no social distancing" at the bash, during a mock press conference.

And it was even more at odds with buffoon-in-chief BoJo's shameless claim that the knees-up never even happened.

For every woman who has ever dashed to the ladies' loos, for fear of being viewed as weak in the workplace, it was quite the moment.

Allegra, puffy-eyed, sobbing freely and struggling to get her words out, has been all of us at some point, save for the steely determination not to let the side down.

As a woman, blubbering in the office is peak embarrassment. You could be Oprah and Sheryl Sandberg combined, but once the snivelling starts, you will only be remembered as Tiny Tears.

Just look at the Tory PR, who though hardly employee of the month, was this week accused of "taking working women back a century" by female commentators in the UK.

It's no secret that men and women process emotions differently, or that, as a general rule, women - through a cocktail of biology and social conditioning - cry more readily than men.

Men will flail, fume and, in the case of Gordon Brown, f*** a stapler at a co-worker. Women will quietly go home, close the door and release a mess of cathartic tears.

Of course, there are women who may turn on the waterworks to their advantage. But the real problem with crying in the workplace is it makes their ­emotionally-challenged male ­colleagues feel uncomfortable.

Too bad. Letting your tear ducts get the better of you may be viewed as weakness, but unlike the stereotypically masculine response of shouting and throwing things, crying hurts no-one.

I know which reaction I see as strength, and which as cowardice.

Sacrificial lamb Allegra had every right to feel tearful after ­being sent to the social media slaughterhouse.

For young women on their first step on the career ­ladder, it's a ­lesson that big girls do - and should - cry.

Boo hoo to anyone who's got a problem with it.

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