“Man up and suck it up”
In the polarizing world of masculinity and femininity, men oftentimes are criticized for not showing enough emotions. Particularly, tears as it is emasculating and is a visual sign of weakness. While this can be attributed to many biological and evolutionary facets that point out that men are just not as emotionally expressive as their female counterparts, they are just as emotional, sometimes even more.
It is no secret that the biggest factor on why men hide their emotions is because of how society has shaped the culture, therefore placed such a rigid and convoluted construct as to what men should act like in order to be considered men. Men are simply taught to not display emotions that society finds emasculating. This rhetoric has caused considerable damage relationships, to growing boys and men, placing their mental and emotional health at risk, which often times lead to suicide. While this isn’t true to some, it holds true to most.
Since society has confined men into showing a limited number of emotions such as anger and pride, some men have developed certain ways to convert their feelings into another. One example is feminine feelings of sadness and vulnerability. These emotions could be expressed through anger and hostility. When men feel that their masculinity is threatened, they either shut off and ignore the problem at hand or overcompensate.
Often times, men only show certain types of emotions into a place they consider safe and acceptable. If you notice, men are more exuberant and affectionate in places where they feel comfortable such as sports events wherein they can freely express their joy and happiness during a game. Such display of emotions would be different when placed in another context.
Over the years, men have been encouraged to show their emotions as freely as women do. However, when they do, those who bear witness are often horrified. While society may want men to express their emotions, they are still trapped under the limitations of certain degrees or level of expressiveness. The conflicting expectations of how men express their emotions and how people react whenever they do often lead to men choosing silence instead.
Some men who have been silencing their emotions for too long often find themselves lacking in resources when dealing with high intensity emotions. Sudden unplanned and unexpected emotion can often prove overwhelming. It is very obvious how men and women express emotions differently. However, the way society has taught men to suppress excessive, outward emotions have been proven fatal.
Men who find themselves at lost for healthy coping resources often find themselves in the habit of alcohol consumption. Moreover, the normalization of violence and dominance amongst men have been linked to sexual aggression, sexual assault and domestic violence. While these have been, for most of the time, a female concern. Sexual aggression and sexual assault do happen to men which is often passed on for laughs. The ingrained masculinity have prevented men from accepting that they are in fact victims of domestic violence or any such assault that they rather keep it to themselves rather than face humiliation.
Females often have more intimate relationships, therefore a greater emotional support in times of emotional turmoil that help them grasp and understand their emotion, making it easier for them to move on. Though not often the case, it is true for most men.
In the rising world of gender equality and feminism, it is more accepted for men to show their emotions openly. In fact, one such movement is the Man Up campaign that hopes to reduce the number of the rising cases of men’s suicide. The cause encourages men to open up about their emotions instead of bottling them up. Aside from the healthy reasons why people should cry once in a while, the movement encourages men to have a good cry, a cathartic release and just let it out to help them ease out the emotional pressures that have pent up over time.
Because in a society where people find tears, specially a man’s tears emasculating, It takes immense courage and strength to cry.