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Why Men Don’t Cry

Why Men Don't Cry

It’s a common question and wonder, why men don’t cry. As I was in the car with my six year old daughter she asked me the question and I am sure it is one every father or man has heard before, in some form or another. The question probably caused you to do a quick search of memories of when the last time you cried was, which most likely hasn’t been since you were a kid. Perhaps a teenager? if you did it may have involved a relationship breakdown? A loved one passing? But you haven’t cried since.

So why is there a thought that men don’t cry, don’t we? we feel sadness and loss just like women do and also are emotional. So where does this idea come from?

Society often states that we associate crying with weakness and vulnerability, particularly in men. From a young age, boys are apparently taught to be strong and to suppress their emotions, including sadness and tears. But I don’t believe that, especially as I get older and other people are raising families around me. Young children are in most cases supported and treated equally, it’s not uncommon to see boys crying as much as girls.

But there is one word in the above paragraph than can explain why men don’t cry, Society. But it’s not for fear of weakness.

Why Men Don't Cry

Men, Society and Reality

Crying is a coping mechanism for a stress response as highlighted in Conceptualization and Measurement of Coping During Adolescence: A Review of the Literature, in summary we cry because we are reacting to a stressful situation and that is how we cope with the situation. You might be wondering why I have turned to an adolescence review? that is because we develop our behaviours in our adolescence.

In those formative years, is when men develop different coping mechanisms and recent research has identified that men have developed positive strategies to prevent and manage stress responses. However, research also identifies men have a higher rate of suicide than women. As a man, I am not sure how these are “positive strategies”.

Why Men Don't Cry

Let’s take a look at what’s really happening

Growing up, many of us would have watched dad, grand dad and every other man in our life comfort mum, nan, aunt, sister as they wept, they too would have comforted us as young boys as we cried. But comfort wasn’t the only thing the men in our lives were doing, they were thinking about the problem at hand and trying to solve it, going into “fix it” mode.

The listening Tour Community Report that focused on Gender Equality heard from men and women across Australia and it was documented that men still felt the pressure to be the primary bread winner, provider and protector.

While men are often blamed for this, further research identified society is at fault and retain men in this position and institutions, workplaces, support services etc. have provided little to no concomitant change in supporting men. Yet, it is not uncommon to turn on the T.V, Radio, Social media and see many reports on “Men don’t do enough at home.

There are a lack of supports, research and funding in men’s health which has forced men to move to a model of practical assistance or tangible help which coincides with the famous manly saying Can’t complain and if I did, no one would listen or the “problem solving phase”.

So why don’t men cry?

We don’t have time to cry, while the women in our lives are surrounded with organistions, specialised health services, strong networks and a flurry of other options men do not have that opportunity so can not afford the moment to cry.

You can read a lot more about the lack of services and how that impacts men in my previous article MEN’S SUICIDE: THE HIDDEN CRISIS.

So to answer my six year old daughters question of why men don’t cry, it is not because I don’t feel the urge to but more so if I do it means there is no solution or way forward and no one is coming to help.

I fear, that when a man cries there are worse worries ahead for him, because than he is truly alone with no way up.

As a caring and hands on dad, Simon devotes himself to his family, career and health.

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