"Be a Man" - The Most Toxic Statement Every Male Has Heard
It is not uncommon to hear expressions such as “Men don’t cry”, “Stop whining like a girl”, “Be a man”, “Don’t show that you are weak”.
What exactly do we mean by such statements? Is the act of crying restricted to only females? Is the male body incapable of shedding tears? Or is this a deeply perverse conditioning by the society that we live in?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “crying” as to shed tears, typically as an expression of distress, pain, or sorrow. Statements that compare men who cry to girls or identify crying as a sign of weakness suggest that men don’t feel sorrow and pain. But what it really means is that men are not allowed a moment of weakness.
The question that we are now faced with is why are women associated with weakness and men with strength? The mere reason that the body structures are different, doesn’t mean that the same difference exists in the case of mental health too. Studies show that men find it difficult to share their sorrows and thoughts than women, simply because our society finds it obnoxious to understand that men can feel distress or pain too.
It’s time we understood that all humans have the same emotional basis. Sorrow; fear are emotions that are common and normal. It’s okay for a man to cry, it’s okay for a man to be scared, it’s okay for a man to not be okay. It’s okay for them to show their emotions. Mental illness like any other disease, like diabetes, can happen to anyone irrespective of their gender or sex. We cannot tell someone to not feel or express the emotions that are flowing through them just because they are from a specific gender.
Men don’t need to cadge for help; they deserve it, merely because they are human. We cannot castigate a man for asking for help. It takes a lot of courage in our society, provided all the norms which we have created, for a person to accept that they suffer from mental illness.
It is only after they take a bold step that we realise that they are humans too, that they have conflicts with their own minds too. Is it necessary that someone has to die as a result of mental illness to make us realise that this is as banal as it can get.
Even in the 21st century, we are pertained to a society that expects men to not feel anything at all, as feelings are a sign of weakness, or so they believe. Each one of us is to be blamed for this, in one way or another all of us are responsible. Somewhere there was a young boy who was told when crying to stop being a girl and man up. A child doesn’t know the difference between a man and a woman. But there comes a day when this young boy decides to sideline his emotions to look manlier, just for the sake of our society.
Instead of teaching that boys don’t cry, if we teach that boys cry too, our world would still have those thousands of men who died fighting with their own minds, refusing to seek help due to the fear of being looked down by the society. It is still not late, we can still save someone’s son, someone’s father, someone’s lover, someone’s husband, by just telling them that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel, it’s okay because we all are HUMANS. You are a human first and then a man. It is okay to be HUMAN.