Boys (don’t) Cry

Toxic Masculinity describes the idea that men are inherently less emotional than women, as well as being more violent, stronger, and more able to tolerate pain and stress. A man who presents as emotional or un-aggressive is deemed effeminate and weak. This leads to many men repressing their feelings and cutting themselves off from people in times of stress. In the UK, the suicide rate for men is three and a half times that of women. Our ‘boys don’t cry’ mentality is making men feel unable to reach out for help when they need it.

We need to abolish the idea that being ‘strong’ and self-reliant is masculine, and that being emotional is feminine. This is a damaging misconception which is leading to unnecessary suffering. Whatever your gender, you should feel able to express your emotions, and to cry if you need to.

I made this illustration after talking with some of my male friends about how they feel stifled and held back by the patriarchy’s rigid view of masculinity. I wanted to make people think about why we view some traits as effeminate, and why femininity is a bad thing; to challenge our society’s problematic view of gender. I’m looking forward to the day when everyone is true to themselves without feeling like they have to conform to gender stereotypes.

3 thoughts

  1. Succinct and to the point. As a man I believe we are as emotional as women but as you said, we only have certain society approved outlets for such until we become true men and proudly state “F-that”. Enthusiasm about sports, anger, lust and aggression are typically expected and encouraged by a variety of means as acceptable expression. However, talk about your fears: like if you lose your job you lose your relationship (as many men think), it is a different story. I always find it fascinating how everyone steps away from a crying man and runs to comfort or simply expects women to get upset and show such expression. The world expects men to stifle their emotions and then complains why a man has nothing to say or express when they should and need to like with their loved ones, especially children.

  2. Boys actually do cry less than women because women have more tear producing prolactin than men, and smaller tear ducts.

    Men are stronger than women in general, even among the stoengeat athletes men are 15% stronger. Women, however, have a higher pain tolerance. Men are also generally more aggressive due to testosterone and other hormones. This is true for MANY mammals (and more specifically primates).

    Acknowledging equality doesn’t mean ignoring biological differences between the sexes. You need only ask a FTM Trans man about how different his mentality is after taking hormones.

    You had an overall good point, and conveyed it in an illogical and nonfactual way. Yes, men are restricted by patriarchy and gender roles, as are women are. And that should be broken down. But that doesn’t mean denying inherent differences. Different shouldn’t mean unequal.


    1. So your argument is “because most men (citation please) don’t show emotion, it’s okay to shame those who do, and Laura Wilson’s point is not valid”?
      Enforcing the gender binary under the guise of “biological differences” that are, if anything, based on a correlation and not a causation, is gender violence.
      Patriarchy rules by policing and shaming women, and as a by-product also shames men who are “feminine” and therefore inferior by its sick standards.
      I’m a man. I’m not physically strong and most of my woman-identified friends can beat me at physical activities. I tend to show emotion, I get stressed and anxious, and I have been known to cry more than usual. My hormone levels (testosterone/estrogen) are okay and I i don’t identify as trans or have ever experienced gender dysphoria. I’m not the only one. Even if most men are different, is my life illegitimate? By your standards it is. However, my experience is valid because I live it to pure awesomeness regardless of gender binarists such as yourself 🙂

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