Men don't cry: the lie they told us
By - Kaloni

Men don’t cry: the lie they told us (and we must forget)

We spend all our formative years in school, learning about mathematical formulas, important dates in history, capitals cities, and name elements from the periodic table. We learn all these data, but at the same time, the emotional education we receive is null, through personal experiences we become aware of what love, disappointment, anger, fear, joy, sadness, and all other feelings imply.

This lack of understanding of our emotional feelings creates misconceptions fostered by society and through interaction with other people. We are told that men are not sentimental beings, that we are more interested in practical matters, and that we must be rational at all times.

In the end, we end up being part of a vicious circle, in which we have never been taught to relate to our sentimental side and therefore we are unable to open up to other people, how can we ask for help when we are depressed or sad if we do not even know how to detect when we have these feelings?

Men don't cry: the lie they told us

“Boys don’t cry”

In recent years, people have begun to talk about the importance of crying, which can be a form of communicating emotions, dealing with pain, releasing stress, and removing toxins from the body and the bloodstream. In sexism societies, tears were synonymous with weakness, an expression that had no place in a man, who was a representation of temperance and physical strength.

Fortunately, the new masculinities have begun to reverse this tendency by deconstructing the idea that men do not have a sentimental side. Although there are fewer fathers who would tell their children that “crying is for girls”, there is still a lot left to change. We still live in a society that finds it strange to see a man’s sentimental expression, and that can be subject to jokes when they don´t do it in a private circle (just remember that Michael Jordan and Will Smith where laugh at after crying in public).

The stigma that our tears still carry has limited our ability to detect when we are sad or depressed. This is a repression of emotions that can have serious consequences, because in our case anger and rage are more accepted, making them the only sentimental expression that many men are capable of experiencing.

Men don't cry: the lie they told us

The risks of not crying

If we face a difficult situation and we cannot cry because we are men, our body must free itself from emotions by some means and in the face of the repression of feelings, the only thing left is anger. For this reason, psychologist Christia Brown finds that this repression is the reason why men are more likely to attend anger management therapies, while women report more frequent cases of depression.

This may be evidence that we are in a society where it is much more acceptable for men to show anger and violence rather than depression. Outbursts of anger in the middle of traffic or when facing a difficult situation are common, but it is strange to talk about how one feels with friends, family, or in therapy.

This lack of emotional education not only affects us internally, but it can also be related to the inability to create empathy and a connection with other people. Repressing our feelings makes us unable to detect when we are going through a depression and at the same time makes us oblivious to other people’s pain, it is not possible to understand what the other is going through if we do not allow ourselves to embrace.

It is clear that in one generation we cannot change all the social constructs that affect us daily. However, we can take steps to have a better sentimental education, thinking about the emotions and feelings, the facts and actions that affect us, opening up to other people when we are going through a difficult situation, and letting the tears flow in case they reach our eyes because in the end crying is one of the greatest emotional responses that our body has.

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