How Society Has Chained a Man's Tears

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Do men cry? Are they as hard as a rock, as cold as ice, and emotionless? Do they even have tear glands?

Men like to think they are hard-wired and not prone to shed tears. Of course, men have tear glands and they do cry though practically all of them would like others to think they don’t. However, compared to women, men cry an awful lot less. There is no clear-cut scientific conclusion on why there is a huge difference in tears between men and women. But socialization and gender roles have a lot to do with how men express their emotions.  Society has chained men’s tears!

The Role of Society

Children live what they learn.” The socialization of a child has tremendous impact on shaping his/her personality and psyche. Generally, who a man is, is who he was trained to be. But let us not get too philosophical, rather let’s deal with the issue of men crying.

Society has taught men not to cry. Society’s attitude to the fact of men crying has sort of made ‘men crying’ something abnormal, unusual and socially unacceptable. We (society) are not comfortable seeing men cry, and we let men know it. Little boys are told ‘only girls cry’ whenever they hurt themselves or try to cry for something. We teach them that it is disappointing to cry. So, little boys grow up remembering how important it is to not disappoint others by crying? When they do cry, they are often labeled a ”cry-baby,” “wimp,” “wuss,” or laughed at for “wallowing in grief.”

Think of how you felt when you were younger and saw your father or other males cry—if you ever did. For many children, the sight of a strong man in their life shedding tears is alarming.

In fact “The idea of men crying may be…a total turn off for most women. Yes, no sane woman could really appreciate her man crying for every reason she cries. However, here comes the stereotyped notion of women like me who can’t stand the thought that men cry at the drop of the hat. Society has forced a deep impact in influencing the gender roles played by men and women. Girls are allowed to cry but boys are restricted from revealing their emotions. In most western cultures, it is more socially acceptable for women to cry in public than men, but this is certainly not true for all human cultures.”

Other views on this issue are these: Coinciding with the practical angle, maybe men feel that tears don’t solve their miseries. Considering the chauvinistic angle, maybe men feel that tears only suit the softer cheeks and men are never soft is what they feel…a man doesn’t cry because he fears from losing his might. ‘One who cries is not a man’ and he doesn’t cry to be ‘that man.’

The truth is men are not robots. They cry. If walls could talk they would tell you the flood of tears shed from these beings who, yes, think they are so hard-wired. The thing is men do not usually cry for what they may think are the everyday petty things that women cry for. For them, they cry for the more ‘important’ things such as the loss of a job or the death of a loved, though one cannot be sure whether they actually cry after break-ups (something I will investigate).

Crying is a healthy thing to do and even though men do not cry as often as women do, this does not make them any less human than women. Maybe society should no longer chain a man’s tears but allow him to express his emotions. Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board and teach men how to express themselves in healthy ways e.g crying. Perhaps we may even reduce many of the destructive ways in which they tend to express themselves, like using alcohol, drugs or physically and emotionally hurting women in their lives. Those are ways in which men cry out to us (not literally) saying, “i’m hurting,” I need help! Think about it.

 First published March 3, 2010, last edited September 19, 2010

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2 thoughts on “How Society Has Chained a Man's Tears

    Jan Brown said:
    October 28, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Take calls on a crisis line that specializes in working with men in relationships with abusive women and you will hear men cry. Men in gut wrenching pain overwhelmed with the uncertainty of what to do to make things better so that their wives won’t be so angry all the time and lash out at them physically and verbally for some perceived wrong have cried uncontrollably when speaking to our crisis line advocates. These men walk around on eggshells trying to figure out how to fix the problems in their marriage and protect their children from danger. Most don’t call looking for a why out, they call looking for solutions to fix the problems.

    Jan Brown said:
    October 28, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Sorry I meant to write “a way out” not “a why out.” 😉

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