Why Can’t Big Boys Cry?


Hope Vos, Reporter

Do you remember the last time you saw a man in your life cry? If so, does it stick out in your mind more than when you saw a woman cry? For many people around the world, this is the sad truth. Men have always been expected to be strong and emotionless, bearing burdens without any release. Time and time again, we witness the message that if a man shows a strong emotion other than anger, he is less of a man for it. Because of this, they often bottle their emotions and let them build up over time until they reach their breaking point.

 This often manifests in statistics such as the 80% of suicides in Canada being men, typically in their 50s. The feelings of depression and anxiety are shoved away until there’s no motivation to keep going, and they’re reluctant to reach out and receive help, especially help from professionals. This refusal to seek medication or therapy often stems from the phrases taught to them as young boys.

How many times have you heard someone tell their son that big boys don’t cry? How many times have you heard the phrase “Man up” in response to a strong emotional reaction? It is entirely unfair that men are expected to be stoic and composed at all times, especially when it would be perfectly acceptable for a woman to be emotional. 

Humans have mental health issues, even those of us without strong trauma. A simple chemical imbalance in the brain can lead to something as extreme as suicidal thoughts in anyone, and yet men are expected to stay quiet about their struggles and handle them alone. In a world that is slowly growing more accepting and understanding of mental illness, men have been left in the dust. So please, show compassion to the men in your life. Encourage them to speak about their emotions. They’re only human, and can’t be expected to be okay all the time.