Machismo and Crying

Recently, I had a discussion on crying with Prateek and he declared that guys who cry are not sensitive but sissy. And he even wrote a blog post “Guys don’t cry” to explain his stand. In his post he has cited 5 reasons why guys should not cry in the form of 5 situations. Like a guy should not cry for love or when someone dies etc etc. Anyway, as I strongly disagree to this conservative/orthodox belief, I decided to express my views and ask readers & visitors their opinions. There is an opinion poll at the end of the post. Do participate!

Three types of tears are generated by the human eye. Basal tears protect the eye and keep it moist. Reflex tears flush out the eye when it becomes irritated. And emotional tears flow in response to sadness, distress, or physical pain.

Apparently Ancient Greek mourners used to catch their tears in vials and bury them with their loved ones to show the extent of the sorrow for their deaths. Even till 18th century, men were revered for their sensitivity and would cry openly in public places, especially at the opera. But somehow down the line, a societal and parental conditioning that “Don’t behave like a girl. Don’t cry. Real men don’t cry” became more powerful and till date remains so.

Studies have shown that emotional tears contain more manganese, an element that affects temperament, and more prolactin, a hormone that regulates milk production.

Before puberty, boys and girls cry the same amount, but by age 18, women cry substantially more. That is because females develop substantial amounts of prolactin, which is thought to cause weepiness. Maybe Sakhi or Nomad can shed more light on this. My point is that the association of crying with girlishness or shall I say the weaker sex and therefore weakness is absolutely wrong.

Every guy hears “real men don’t cry” either from family or friends and so they learn not to while growing up. But those who, inspite of knowing this “taboo” and knowing that their peers may ridicule them, are not afraid to express their grief or sadness; are worth appreciation and according to me have more Emotional Intelligence. I feel they can connect better with their other halves and probably understand women better than their counterparts who are just hard rocks emotionally. Ability to express emotions also shows sensitivity at some level and the modern woman likes her man not to be all gruff and stoic type!

Sobbing out manganese and prolactin is thought to relieve tension by balancing the body’s stress levels and eliminating build ups of the chemicals, making the crier feel better.

A guy can be heart broken or he can feel sad/shocked when insulted (for example Sreesanth in the infamous slap case) or his world may be devastated when his mom/dad/sibling/wife dies. Repressing emotions due to some bogus belief does no good. Crying helps to cope with any form of loss far better. I think its better to express one’s emotions. My Dad had cried when my grandmother died several years ago. But that didn’t stop him from fulfilling all rites and didn’t make him “sissy”. And even if a guy loses control in any emotional situation instead of being all “strong and responsible” as expected, I think it is ok! He is just human! Give the guy a break!

All this is my (a girl’s) perception of the issue. For a balanced view, I asked some guys on my Google Talk friend list about their opinion on the question ” Do you think guys who cry are sissy?” and here is what they said :-

Anshul :- No. guys who are sissy usually do not cry. they are just good at gaining sympathy from girls…there was this saying losers are good at attracting women, thats how they get away with being losers. Laughing(happiness) and Crying both are emotional, one +ve and -ve. So one can do both without any reason…like people go into laughing fit. they can also go into crying fit.Irrespective of guy or gal, humans do all this shit.+ lot of stuff depends on your own nature in person…

Suda :- No.

Sandeep :- hmm.. depends on the situation and depends on in front of whom he cries. I mean, I don’t think he’s sissy if he cries in front of someone he has strong emotional relationship…otherwise yes maybe.

Varun :- Nope.

Here are a few more excerpts from various articles :-

The most likely reason we produce emotional tears is because it’s a means of communication. Before babies can speak, they can cry. The only way for infants to express frustration, pain, fear, or need is to cry. Adults may use crying to bond with other humans. Expressing sadness can prompt comfort and support from peers. Different languages can provide barriers to spoken communication, but emotions are universal. There are also culturally acceptable reasons for crying that bring people together, such as at funerals or weddings. So weeping after that sappy movie might not mean that you are a total wuss after all. In fact, it may mean that you are behaving like a perfectly normal human being.

In fact, tears are increasingly cool, scientifically and politically.

Only a generation ago, Ed Muskie blew his 1972 presidential hopes by shedding a tear about a critical news report on his wife. Less than a decade ago, Colorado Congresswoman Pat Schroeder got endless grief for crying when she quit her presidential run in 1987. Yet today, both Bill Clinton and Bob Dole seem so comfortable blubbering in public — dare one say “on cue?” — that the Wall Street Journal dubbed this campaign the “weepiest on record,” with only iron-man Ross Perot eschewing the snivels.

So tell me guys and girls – Do You Think Guys Who Cry Are Sissy? Do You Think Guys Should Not Cry?

Results will be declared in next post. On a lighter note, here is a video where Chandler says he can’t cry and Joey declares him to be dead inside.

Related Articles :-

Big Boys Don’t Cry: And other myths about men and emotions

Only Real Men Cry-Heart to Heart

Sob story: why we cry, and how

Crying (thing)

72 thoughts on “Machismo and Crying

  1. Came here through Twitter. Like your “Tear article”.
    My husband does not cry really. But I know he is a sensitive person. He has developed a talent to keep everything bottled inside but I can read his face.
    Well, also he likes being in a sublime(read melancholic) mood. And often complains that getting married (his comic relief) to me disrupted his whole routine.
    I give him some real tough times so that he keeps in touch with his sensitive side.

  2. Of course guys cry. And no it doesn’t make them a sissy. They may not cry in front of people, and sometimes they may not cry with tears… but they do cry.

  3. i am with u on this… cry is a natural emotion and I think its important to cry once in a while to be really in touch with urself specially when situations demand..

    like eg if someone passed away the guys doesnt cry because they should not will just bury the grief inside him rather than letting it out

  4. I completely agree with anshul. They are human emotions i.e. laughing and crying and in moderation its suppose to be normal for both the genders. And i do agree that cryng decreases the stress level. Its healthy to cry. But it depends upon a person’s inherent nature. Some people simply can’t cry. One of my best friends is like that. In our relationship of about two and a half decade, i have seen her cry only twice. She didn’t even cry at her “bidai” but cried when i went to hostel… So, my point is, its not sissy to cry coz even all girl do not cry. Though it has been seen more in female gender and probably that decreases the stress level and that is only one of the reasons that females get less cardiac problem compared to males (oestrogen plays a major role in shielding them from cardiovascular disorder!)

    This is my longest comment on all the blogs put together, i guess. 🙂

    to put it in a nutshell: No, I don’t think that guys who cry are sissy.

  5. Did I just say “No”?? I thought I told you that there are some situations where one should let “it” out rather than holding back.
    Now you can’t prove I didn’t say that as you don’t have it in chat history 😀 😀

    But I am still unable to understand why girls like to cry so much!! Wasting buckets of water on tissue papers and hankies does no good to anyone 😉 😛

    • FYI I have the chat stored and u hadnt said these then. Read above about the advantages of crying. Its a great stress reliever. Thats why women live longer than men 😛

  6. I like this post. Yes, I do like a guy who cries and can show his sensitive side. However, (and since you brought up FRIENDS), I wouldn’t want one that cried more than me like Bruce Willis’s character in FRIENDS. I would think there’s something wrong there. 😛

    My dad is not one to show emotions — he didn’t cry when his father died years ago. However, I’ve seen him cry only once and know he’s cried once more (both having something to do with me!) and it made me appreciate him more to see that he can cry!

    • Thanks! No one likes an all time crier be it a man or woman!! Its not as if a woman who cries like Bruce Willis character would be liked by other people!

  7. It is not that real men don’t cry! Men have different ways of expressing emotions. While some may cry, some may laugh it off. just different way of expressing emotions! neither of them are sissies! it is those people who hold back their emotions who are sissies! 🙂

  8. Oh…and I just had to add this — Adam Gilchrist is one well-known bloke that cries. And in no way is he a sissy to me. I love the guy! He cried in public some years ago upon reaching his double century after there were allegations that his wife was having an affair and the crowd were using that to rattle him in SAF back then. When he reached the fastest double hundred, he broke down at the ground. Another time he cried was when the Aussies finally beat India in India under his captaincy. 🙂 There’s tears of relief and happiness for you…

  9. for me it really depends. generally i don’t see guys crying as being weak. but if they are crying excessively over something that is somewhat trivial, like a sad scene from a movie, that might alarm me! 😛 i don’t think that really happens, haha.

    • I believe excessive crying of either sex is alarming! I don’t like excessive crying over trivial things it a guy or a gal.

  10. All through reading your post, I kept thinking of Chandler’s episode where Monica finally gets him to cry.. And then I saw that you had already uploaded that episode 😀
    Well , I don’t think guys who cry are sissy at all.. In fact, it’s good that they express their emotions and don’t suppress them.. Bottled up emotions are worse.
    Guys who think crying is for girls are losers.. rather, inhumane… 😉

  11. Crying is a natural emotion. But too much of it irritates me.

    I voted for ‘I don’t know’ because I don’t consider them sissy but I don’t like guys who cry. 😀 I mean I have no problem with guys shedding copious tears but I won’t have such a man in my life.

  12. Crying is usually as much an admission of shock or sadness as of helplessness. I am more likely to shed tears in a film than in real life. So I find people with faulty lachrymal regulation a bit odd. It is not about being sissy or sensitive, it is about knowing when to let the tap flow. So there is an element of private/ public at work here.

    When I was a kid, one of my aunts used to tell off my cousins – of either gender – that crying too often suggests their tears are ‘khaare paani ke aansoo’ not ‘meethe paani ke aansoo’. I don’t think I have ever forgotten that simile.

  13. No, absolutely not!
    Crying is a natural phenomenon & irrespective of gender I think its perfectly ok to express emotion through tears sometimes. Yes, men cry lesser as compared to women but those men who cry due to genuine reasons can’t be categorized as “sissy”. So, my vote is for NO 😀

  14. Guys do cry Reema and why not they are as human as women. My father cried more than my mother during my bidai. I voted no, crying doesn’t make the guy sissy.

  15. First off, I think men who cry are not sissies. In an emotional moment, there is nothing wrong with crying. However ‘society’ has a problem when guys have these ‘Emotional moments’, too often. That said, I should let you in on the fact that I cant recollect the last time I cried. I sometimes wonder whether “I am emotionally dead inside” (as Joey would have put it).

    This was an interesting point I noted:
    Apparently Ancient Greek mourners used to catch their tears in vials and bury them with their loved ones to show the extent of the sorrow for their deaths.
    Just wanted to let you in on the fact that Ancient Greek men had a certain (questionable) practice called pedarasty. Here is the wiki link[NSFW]:

    Probably, the correlation between this practice and crying would have given rise to negative connotations, thereby resulting in crying being frowned upon in recent times.

    • Welcome to my blog!! Thanks for the info! Looks like you too like MoR are interested in Ancients Greeks etc. I am sure everyone has one trigger point to awaken the “life inside”. Keep visiting!

  16. I don’t think crying has to do anything with the Gender. Isn’t that common sense? You feel really bad about something, you are hurt, someone dies – you cry. What is there to understand in that? 😐
    I have cried a lot for the people I love. I cried when my best friend went away. Hell, I did not even go to the office the next day! 🙂
    I cry when something in a movie really moves me. I cry everytime I hear Maa from Taare Zameen pe. 🙂
    Guys are brought up with this mentality but as we grow up, but isn’t it in our own hands to understand that what we were told as kids was wrong and stupid?

    • Social conditioning and acceptance are two big factors which many are not able to overcome. Crying is just human..nothing male or female about it.

  17. Frankly speaking I feel that too much thought & importance is given to something which is driven by nature!!!

    If one feels like crying then one should I dunno how gender comes in between…nahin???

    I know my comment is a sad piece but what to do key board isn’t in a mood 😦

  18. Ofcourse men cry..women make them cry all the time 😉
    Seriously speaking, men who cry are not’s just that if we cry too much in public, both men and women are conditioned to find such blatant display of emotions bit odd..
    While watching all those mushy movies, I can cry at a drop of hat, but only when Iam alone in my home or in the dark corners of a theater..but nobody else can ever see me crying…

  19. Google throws up the following definitions for “cry” –
    Definitions of cry on the Web:

    “shout: utter a sudden loud cry; “she cried with pain when the doctor inserted the needle”; “I yelled to her from the window but she couldn’t hear me”

    shed tears because of sadness, rage, or pain; “She cried bitterly when she heard the news of his death”; “The girl in the wheelchair wept with frustration when she could not get up the stairs”

    exclaim: utter aloud; often with surprise, horror, or joy; “`I won!’ he exclaimed”; “`Help!’ she cried”; “`I’m here,’ the mother shouted when she saw her child looking lost”

    a loud utterance; often in protest or opposition; “the speaker was interrupted by loud cries from the rear of the audience”

    proclaim or announce in public; “before we had newspapers, a town crier would cry the news”; “He cried his merchandise in the market square”

    a loud utterance of emotion (especially when inarticulate); “a cry of rage”; “a yell of pain”

    demand immediate action; “This situation is crying for attention”

    war cry: a slogan used to rally support for a cause; “a cry to arms”; “our watchword will be `democracy'”

    utter a characteristic sound; “The cat was crying”
    a fit of weeping; “had a good cry”

    bring into a particular state by crying; “The little boy cried himself to sleep”

    the characteristic utterance of an animal; “animal cries filled the night”

    So, my view is crying is definitely not sissy – but shedding tears, weeping is definitely 🙂

  20. Interesting theme Reema!

    I agree that guys are as human as women, and that crying decreases the stress level etc.

    Men should cry if they need or want to without feeling sissies.

    Nonetheless it is hard to deny that a man and a woman are a bit different emotionally, that they are not just persons but have a gender too, and that evolution has made them complementary in order to better survive.

    In my opinion, if we don’t understand this difference, and if people don’t start *studying* the other sex (even in school, why not,) quarrels and misunderstandings will be endless.

  21. I voted for ‘I don’t know’ cuz this question is very generic…. This cannot be asked. Ditto for girls/women it cannot be asked that girls/women who cry are more sensitive or any other reason.. Crying has got nothing to do with gender. So, any question related to it cannot be put forth towards humans.

    That was like Readers Digest question.. all bakwaas.

  22. Crying is a natural human emotion….I am okay with guys who cry though crying too much(be it woman or man) irritates me after a while..
    some people cry at the drop of a hat..

  23. Thank you for this post! Totally agree with you.
    In fact, I feel that guys who just unnecessarily stop themselves from crying even when they are shattered inside just end up becoming bitter and melancholic. They release their feelings as anger.

  24. Hey Reema

    I completely agree, another point you might have mentioned here is by calling “sissy” itself is very male chauvinistic.

    As clearly naming one sex weaker or using that over the so called stronger sex’s incompetence (here the emotional stability to withhold from crying) is against very basics of equality.

    Let’s not even go about the advantages or disadvantages of crying for a second.

    I mean who decides how or why men should or shouldn’t cry? And that makes them closer to weaker sex?
    Irrespective of male, female, gay or transgender – don’t we all feel the rain alike?

    • welcome to my blog! loved the last line!! exactly my thoughts. I do think the thought that men who cry are sissy is very chauvinistic. Keep visiting!

  25. Its very hard to see a guy crying in public … Reason … He thinks its quite embarassing being a man and crying ….

    Thats a common mindset that its women who cry not the man …. But neverthless , its never the case that guys don’t cry …. everyone cries from their heart … Its just that its not externally visible … we do all we can to hide it from others ….

  26. I cry. No, I weep ! 😀 I laugh /smile when happy and I cry when Im upset. Whats wrong in it? There have been people who have made judgements about this quality of mine, but I dont care a damn what others think ! and I totally agree with Anshul, guys who are sissy dont cry, they do all that emotional manipulation !

  27. Not being able to express emotion, in an attempt to try to be macho can be stressful. They say men are more prone to heart attacks because of all this.

    Also I think a confident guy will be comfortable expressing how he feels, without having to fake a lack of emotions.

  28. It is not good to bury your emotions and control them. You have to let out to feel yourself free. That’s why I am on Twitter, whenever I have the urge to tell a joke I use twitter, I feel so relieved after that.
    But seriously I think I liked Sandeep’s response. That fits me well and I think that’s how it is or it should be.

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  31. I would like to add one more thing. People can also cry when they are overwhelmed by happiness. Don’t you agree? And yes, I think men can also cry. The only reason not to would be because he is afraid of getting isolated by the “hip” group. Awesome post. 🙂

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