The Start with the Boys video by Vogue Empower perfectly captures how crying is considered a girly thing. The purpose of the video is to start with the boys when it comes to reducing violence against females. However, the video leaves us with a second message, which is that crying is often considered feminine behavior.
In the video, there is a small boy crying because he doesn’t want to go into the classroom. He is asked if he’s a girl. There is a young boy who cries after winning a match. His coach tells him crying is for girls. The line ‘boys don’t cry’ is said a number of times in the video. It shows how boys and men are told not to cry simply because crying is for females.
We live in a world where behavior and characteristics are labeled as male and female. Thus sitting with your legs spread wide is male behavior while crying is female behavior. Who had a say in this unjust labeling system is unknown but we have all contributed in some way to this situation.
You can’t deny thinking ‘what a girl’ when a boy whines. We tell males to man up when they are emotional. It’s been decided by society that men are too tough for emotions and that being emotional severely ruins their image. So it’s up to the women to cry and express their emotions. At a funeral, you will find the women crying but the men are usually dry-eyed or trying hard to not cry. This isn’t because they don’t have feelings. They definitely do. Yet, they’ve been told to either express those feelings in private or bottle them up.
Is this fair? No. Why can’t men cry? Why can’t men be emotional? They are human too and the more we laugh at men who are emotional, the more we force them to suppress their emotions.
Just like women are affected by people, incidents and memories, men too are affected. If a man loses his mother, can we expect him to not cry? If a man is feeling emotional, can we tell him to man up and stop being a girl?
We speak at length of social inequality. We talk about how women don’t belong in the kitchen anymore and we speak of the empowerment of females. Female politicians can be seen using their sex and their roles as mother, sister or daughter to win the hearts of voters. And yet, we continue to ignore how society weakens women but also suppresses men.
Crying is, after all, a natural way of expressing grief. Who is society to say only females should express grief this way? Who are we to ridicule men for crying?
When life is tough, we all need to let go of our emotions. For most, this can be done by crying. So if you have feelings bottled up and you need to let go of them, feel free to cry. Don’t be ashamed and don’t think you can’t cry because you are a man. We are all human, and as humans, regardless of our sex, we all need to cry at some point of our lives.