An everyday girl dad discusses: boys and men who cry

Friday, November 4th, 2016

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Real men don’t cry…

…if they don’t feel the need to cry at that very moment.

Real men do cry…

…if they feel the need to cry at that very moment.

I cannot properly explain how important it is to me to cry. There are a number reasons for this:

  1. I simply cannot hold emotions—the good or the bad—in. I need to cry, so I do.
  2. There will be people who enter the lives of my daughters who will not think men should cry—I want them to know those people are wrong. And I want them to tell any boys or men in their life that those people are wrong.
  3. Young men who are told they aren’t supposed to cry are killing themselves because of our fucked up view of masculinity.

I repeat: telling boys they shouldn’t cry, and other nonsensical stuff we tell them about being a man, is leading them to suicide.

Crying shows weakness, we often hear. Or, at the very least, it shows a lack of toughness.

We tell this to our boys from an early age. If our boys fall down and don’t cry, we call them tough. When they take a big hit and bounce right back we tell them they’re being a real man. When they cry, we feel awkward, we wait quietly while they cry, we look away.

Our instinct is to help boys who are crying stop doing so instead of helping them cry more if that is what’s needed.

So change that because it is wrong.

How should we treat men and boys who cry?

To boys and men who have cried when they’ve felt the need, awesome, I hope you feel better having done so.

To boys and men and women and girls who have ever told someone that real men don’t cry: never, ever do it again.

I watched this video promoting a series in Australia aimed at talking about suicide in males in that country. It’s 60 seconds of men openly crying and it is necessary.

“Fuck that.” My favourite line.

So here’s a quick list of things it’s okay for men and boys to cry about:

  • physical pain.
  • emotional pain.
  • The movie Inside Out.
  • heartbreak.
  • heartache.
  • getting flowers from someone.
  • a hilarious joke.
  • a video of an elderly couple dancing to their wedding song.

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