While the world has been progressing and moving forward, in some cases, the human race has actually taken a few steps backwards. Humans continue to suffer from endless problems, with sexism on top of the list. One of the commonplace assumptions today is that a man does not cry. If a boy were to cry in public, he would be considered weak and overly sensitive. But when did crying start representing a lack of masculinity? Have things always been this way?
In her article entitled “Men Don’t Cry. Why?” published in the Dec 2017/Jan 2018 issue of Reader’s Digest, Sandra Newman tackles this issue and explains how boys grow up learning that crying is a sign of weakness and how things weren’t actually always that way.
Throughout the article, Newman gives several examples of times when crying was not considered “feminine” or shameful. Whether in medieval romances, in chronicles of the Middle Ages, or even in the Bible, men have wept and cried, and it was never something to be ashamed of. However, she explains that the male tears became rare for no real reason at all. She believes it might have been related to the fact that populations became more and more urbanized throughout the years. Unlike old times where people used to live in small villages full of people they knew and were comfortable around, people started living in big cities surrounded by strangers and people who would not empathize if men were to weep. Moreover, when men entered the workforce and started working in factories, emotional expression succumbed. Newman makes a point of mentioning that crying is actually a great way to relieve stress and that countries where people cry are usually more democratic and extroverted.
Newman ends her article with a quote from the Old Testament: “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” She emphasizes the importance of shattering taboos against male expressiveness because men should not be expected to hide their tears and suffer in silence.
This article is really eye-opening and worth reading. Sandra Newman handles a topic that many people avoid mentioning, and she is not afraid to defend the male population. Today, we tend to stay silent. We accept things the way they are, whatever that may be. We forget that sometimes people are wrong, that sometimes humans lose the right path. Newman uses her platform to remind us that men are not cold hearted, stone-faced beings and that they have feelings too.
When will we break the invisible barrier between the two genders and start raising both boys and girls the same way? We cannot keep filling little boys’ minds with old beliefs. We cannot keep telling them that they are always expected to be strong and brave. At the end of the day, we are all human, and we’re all the same.
Let us take a stand. Let us stay aware and awake. And as Newman says in her article, “Let us all – men and women – join together and cry until our sleeves are drenched.”