“Have a good cry, wash out your heart. If you keep it inside it’ll tear you apart.”
-Sometimes You Win (1979) by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show
Sometimes it’s discouraged, sometimes you’re pushed to let it out. But if you’re a male who grew up in the twentieth century, you were most likely told not to do it, especially in public.
I’m talking about crying.
It’s amazing how there are certain biological attributes that are applicable to every living, breathing mammal. And yet society over the years took some of those attributes and categorized them on their own.
Expressions like “Stop crying like a little girl,” “Be a man,” “What are you, a sissy?” have taken a life of their own and wrongfully associated tears exclusively with females.
Today we live in a world in which the need to be being politically correct, especially on a public platform, is becoming more and more widespread. People are expressing their offense over certain verbiage more openly and much more frequently than ever before.
It’s certainly debatable of how much good or bad this evolution has brought. Regardless, it’s there. Whether you agree or disagree with the PC culture, if we must be rid of certain expressions, we might as well include some that perpetuate gender stereotypes.
Perhaps it’s time to put phrases like “crying like a little girl” under the microscope as well. Statements like that imply a mocking nature for both males and females. Crying is not a “girl thing” or a “boy thing.” It’s a human emotion. And I think it’s time to spread that awareness out there in a more vigorous fashion.
For the longest time, many ailments that stemmed from stress, like heart attacks, were much larger in numbers in males than females. This is just an educated guess but that would have to be attributed at least partly to men bottling up their feelings more so than women.
Encouraging men to be more expressive with their feelings is not just advantageous psychologically. Even physiologically, crying has its benefits for both men and women. Scientists suggest that each time you shed a tear, it helps release chemical substances in your blood that accumulate from states of sadness.
A good cry can also release endorphins. It also cleans out your eyes as tears contain a chemical known as Iysozyme, which helps fight bacteria.
When evidence on all fronts is openly available, why should there not be more attempts to break stereotypes? What exactly does society gain from preserving them? I’m nonplussed to come up with anything other than keeping their egos stroked.
The next time you feel like shedding a tear, male or female, young or old, just go for it. Because you’re a human being first.
Are you a crier? Do you shed tears easily? If so, have you ever been conscious of it? And do you feel men should cry more openly? If they don’t, why do you think that is? Share your thoughts and experiences by commenting below on our secure servers.