Rigid Gender Roles are Hurting Males

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Gender roles society has implemented seem to reinforce the idea that women and men should stick to the status quo. Women must be supported because “they are so weak” and “obviously can not do anything for themselves”, whereas men are dominant and must not show any type of weakness. Women can be just as powerful and strong as men and have the right to have feelings. But guess what, we are all human. Men feel the need to hide their emotions because they fear to appear fragile and less manly. This is not okay. Men should be encouraged to not suppress their feelings.

Something so simple as swallowing hard and holding back tears can really have an effect on someone. In the Psychology Today article “Real Men Cry” by psychotherapist Sam Louie, he says that if crying is suppressed it “…can cause a number of physical symptoms to arise known clinically as somatoform disorders” which are psychological issues in the form of physical symptoms and “can also lead to a host of addictions and mental health issues.” Society’s harsh view on men crying has caused them pain in some way, whether they want to admit it or not.  I personally know many men who would get yelled at as a child to stop crying. This has gotten them into the mindset that they should not cry. The more they withhold their emotions, the more those emotions build up. These emotions can be released in different ways, but the most common way is through anger and frustration. Does that sound healthy? No. No it does not.

From an early age, men are taught that crying is looked down upon; crying is unacceptable therefore they should never be caught doing it.  In the LA Times article “Boys Don’t Cry But Real Men Do”, Jim Carnett, shares his own story and says “as a young man, I eschewed crying. In my scheme of things, crying was tantamount to wetting oneself.” The first years of childhood are critical. This is when a child’s brain absorbs the most information and develops rapidly. By telling a little boy to stop crying because that is not what men do is conditioning them into holding in their feelings.

Things need to change. Society should stop telling men that “real men don’t cry” and that it makes them less masculine. Instead, they should teach them that it is okay to do so by teaching them at an early age why crying is important and how it is not healthy to keep their feelings bottled up.