There is a certain archetype when it comes to ‘being a man’. As males, we have heard the phrase ‘men don’t cry’ over and over again. In fact, this phrase has been echoed to us consistently from society, not only from our parents at a very young age, but rather also from our teachers and peers throughout well into our adult years. Men heard crying is as social taboo as hearing a lady farting.
Crying is a natural part of being human, similar to laughing and screaming (refer to article –Why she likes funny guys). But we tell boys that crying is wrong and not ‘masculine’. Some can argue that it is not ‘wrong for men to cry’, but rather society would rather not hear the cries of men.
The irony here is how we emphasise the idea that men should not be seen crying, when there is tension, he should suppress all the negative emotions. But when there are conflicts in social matters, the man is deemed ‘unemotional’, unable to relate to others or lacking social intelligence.
The issue we face in modern society with unemotional men is the byproduct of said society not giving men the license to feel. Here is an extract from the book by Warren Farrell – The Boy Crisis.
As discussed in the article “Why she likes funny guys’, we have touched on the biological purposes of crying, laughing and screaming. These are reactions that are hard-wired into humans that can be seen exhibited in all cultures regardless of geographical location, culture, race, religion and in any period of human history.
The natural response of crying is a reflex to indicate loss, the lack of ability to remedy a situation and the need for aid. Which is also why we give sympathy to mammals crying. (Though there are biological effects such as regulating emotions, reducing stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.)
In our modern society, the idea of men not crying is more along the lines of not giving them the license to cry rather than them actually needing to cry. Men today have always heard this mantra in some sort or form, that ‘their worth is directly proportional to the amount of value they can offer the people around them’. This translates into the inability to seek help either physically, emotionally, financially or even spiritually, fearing the fact that they are deemed lesser than others or ‘not man enough’.
Warren Ferrell has best presented this issue with the below extract from his own book – The Boy Crisis.