Just to let you know, men also cry

It is a very acceptable thing to cry.

Crying is a reaction we all have when we’re overwhelmed, be it from sadness, happiness, or laughter. Why is it that when we see men crying on the popular television show ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here’, so many of us feel the need to tell them to ‘man up’? It’s so detrimental to our society to keep pushing these gender roles, telling men to be masculine and women to be feminine.

Telling men that they’re not allowed to cry and that they’re not allowed to express emotion can be very damaging to their mental health. The NHS tell us that “The highest suicide rate was among men aged 40 to 44”, clearly stating how important it is that we direct focus towards men’s mental health. It really angers me to know that still, in the 21st century when feminism is really trying it’s hardest to promote equality, that men are still being targeted for showing their feelings.

The reasons for getting emotional on ‘I’m a Celeb’ were celebrating a son’s birthday, family and homesickness, things that a woman may get emotional over too. Although, if it were the female contestants getting emotional, there wouldn’t be a fuss over it because of our society’s gender expectations.

I asked two friends some questions:
(Male friend) ‘Do you feel that in various situations you shouldn’t cry purely because you’re a guy?’ “No I wouldn’t say so, I feel like there are situations where people shouldn’t cry, however, not specific to gender” ‘So what would you say about men who do get more emotional, such as examples from I’m a Celebrity?’ “I would say that he shouldn’t cry, not because he is a man, but because you’ve got to pull yourself together, although if people want to cry I wouldn’t judge them in the slightest”.
(Female friend) ‘Do you feel that in various situations guys shouldn’t cry purely because they’re a guy?’ “They should be able to cry, if girls can cry, why shouldn’t guys? They shouldn’t have to put up a strong persona all the time”. ‘So what would you say about men who do get more emotional, such as examples from I’m a Celebrity?’ “Good for them, getting emotional”.

I found these responses very interesting, one friend said how he wouldn’t judge anyone if they wanted to cry but he feels that people should just “deal with it”, whereas another friend was a lot more open to men, and people in general, being more emotional. Of course, I only asked two people, but I do feel that even these responses show how men and women view emotion in completely different ways. Despite how the male I questioned made a point that nothing was gender specific, his outlook on emotions is very stereotypical for a man; he feels that he needs to be strong and “pull [himself] together” whereas my other friend clearly expresses how she feels men don’t need to be the strong one the entire time.

Natasha Zack
(Image courtesy of BBC News)

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