I mentioned in my last post about some changes coming. Be sure to step back and check it out if missed it! One of these changes is joining with another writer to share the same topic once a month.
This is the first installment of what The Superstache and I are calling the Co-op Blog.
Let me introduce the topic with a classic song by The Cure.
I have to be honest here. I feel that anything I have to say on of this topic is weak at best. I also hope that what I say is not seen as offensive to anyone.
With that said let me offer this disclaimer: I am nowhere near an expert. I am drawing from my own thoughts and recent conversations. All of which come with an almost exclusively American point of view.
So why do men seem to rarely cry?
After talking with some men of varying age groups there was one general consensus. Men do not cry very often and when they do it is often in private.
I have found that many believe this is almost entirely cultural. Our culture compares men and women. It states that women show more emotion than men. Women cry and men do not. Keep in mind I am not saying that what culture teaches is truth or an appropriate way to describe men and women. Never the less, after multiple conversations it appears that this is the culture we live in.
To gain insight I chose to focus more on what the women I spoke with had to say when asked “Why is it men do not cry?” This is what I gleaned:
One young lady said that our culture teaches men should be stoic. This implies that not being swayed by emotion, especially of sorrow is a cultural necessity of man.
An older friend bluntly said “I don’t want a wimp.” She went on to explain that she believes there are differences in what men and women are supposed to be. Men are to be strong. She considers herself a strong woman, but wants to know she is with a strong man. A man that cries lacks strength. She basically said men should only publicly cry due to loss or tragedy.
Another female friend also leaned on the cultural shaping in that we, both men and women teach boys that crying is failure and to “suck it up”. She stated “We have culturally attributed crying to being a sissy or a wuss.”
To sum it up I found that like men, women seem to share the consensus that culture says men are meant to be tough. Whether right or wrong the common teaching is that crying chips away this toughness. Therefore, men are taught to not cry, or at the very least to not be seen doing so.
Could it be that after generations of being taught boys don’t cry it has become reality? I find it pretty sensible that this cultural teaching has created generation after generation of men that rarely feel the need to cry. It may be that cultural nurture has left it as an acceptable second nature for women, but a rarity for men.
Is this the way things ought to be? Should men really suppress emotions and fight back tears? Is it healthy?
I do not know. I fear that suppressing any emotion may lead to the suppression of almost all. Maybe that is why often men are described as disconnected and cold?
One friend touched on this. She shared that she is a “full blown woman crier”, and used to feel uncomfortable around a crying man. She believes that as she has become more emotionally healthy she cries less and finds a man crying as a sign of him having healthy emotions. She offers that truth may be in the middle.
Is the ability to show tears a sign of a healthy man or has culture been right in saying that boys don’t cry?
Perhaps culture is only part, just playing off our true nature. One outlying point a female friend made was this:
“I think girls sometimes cry more because of hormones. For real. And since guys hormones are different than girls that could play a part.”
Maybe it is nature?
In the end I ask you to think for yourself because frankly I do not know. I and most of whom I spoke with seem to lean more nurture based on our culture, but we could be wrong.
What I do know is I want to be strong for the people in my life, but never cold or disconnected from them.
In time maybe we can find the truth and the balance.
Please check The Superstache’s blog for his post on this topic.