Generations of boys have been taught resolve, strength,
fearlessness, emotive nullity, toughness and a slew of other methods
designed to make them not just men, but REAL men. Men and
women have invested heavily in the teaching of this warped
philosophy to boys, because of a warped belief in what crying
signifies to many people.
Crying, in some quarters, is seen as a revelation of emotional
weakness, rather than emotional expression. Many of those who
preach anti-crying campaigns to boys also wish to enforce very little
reaction to pain. That is the icing on the cake to test “realness” in
men, a combination of resistant responses to emotional and physical
Sadly, some go as far as suggesting too many expressions of
happiness can lead to a back door sneak in of excess of other
emotions, so a stiff, straight face is the best mask to wear. Does it
mean that in order to face life, victory, loss, rejection and a multitude
of mental crossroads, men must be unable to cry? Or cry only under
specially acceptable and agreed exceptions? Are those who don’t cry
better at performing tough tasks and handling life with testicular
fortitude that is taught? What should be said about those who rely on
different emotions, including the ability to cry, making them complete
individuals performing up to par?
The sentiment defending boys not crying is like the days of
telling girls they were not good or strong enough to do “a man’s job”.
Backward. A woman in labour is a basic truth proving the theory of
men being tougher is a lie. No, women don’t spend the whole time
during labour crying, they use that immeasurable time frame
multitasking pain, anguish, joy and delivery. That takes toughness.
We keep pressing for a gentler society where relationships of all
kind will make us exist in a more peaceful environment, but where or
how can “real men don’t cry” fit in? It is OK to feel, react, relate. It
is OK to acknowledge the source of that emotion and build on it,
repair it, remove it, celebrate it or whatever is positively required
under relevant circumstances. It is NOT OK to bottle, suppress or
deny emotions simply because of a belief that it displays weakness.
The best thing that can be derived from a man crying is his ability to
be human, not “soft”, “girly” or “in need of toughening”. Just human.
Boys should be taught resolve and toughness solely for the
purposes of resolve, discipline and focus to tasks and life, but not as a
lesson of insensitivity and emotional numbness. If we are prepared to
see boys brainwashed into believing they should never cry, then
accept them becoming men who lack compassion, caring and
consideration for life and the living. We must teach boys that crying
is a sign of realness, not weakness.
A real man MUST cry or he is as good as dead in a living frame.