Why Men Can’t Cry: The Taboo of Men Showing Their Emotions


Ava Appel

The Phrase, “be a man” has been used for a very long time, but moving farther into the twenty-first century it is important to acknowledge the toxicity that comes with this phrase. Men are human, they feel emotions like everyone else; however, they tend not to show these emotions as easily or smoothly as others. As a society we have portrayed the message that men don’t cry because crying equals weakness. Influencer, Alex Youssef, said, “…so many of us men spend what’s probably years with a given significant other, not shedding so much as a tear in front of them.” Men eventually reach a breaking point where they then explode with emotion creating this distance between men and their partners when they do not know how to react. There is this pattern a lot of couples that involve a man follow: the woman goes to the man with her problems and tells him how she feels, the man-not used to talking about his emotions- feels attacked and doesn’t know how to handle the situation, they argue with each other and a distance is created. Men being shamed or scared of showing their emotions damages relationships and their own mental health.

There is actually science behind why men have a harder time showing emotion. A writer, who goes by “thejuant,” said that men have less Prolactin, a hormone associated with the production of tears. Men also have a more segregated brain structure, meaning it takes a while for emotions to be pushed from the unconscious to the conscious; men feel things on a delayed time frame. Given this information is it so much clearer why men are viewed as emotionally “tougher,” and this doesn’t even include societal standards. Men and women have different levels of hormones, so while it may be chemically harder for men to show emotion there are other factors contributing to this “tough guy” persona. 

Phrases like “men don’t cry” and “just be a man” add to the toxic masculinity that is shoved down the throats of men their entire lives. They feel this need to be tough and strong, and crying is usually not associated with that. All of these factors are only helping the taboo over men’s emotions grow and you can see it first-hand. It is very likely that you can count on one hand how many times you’ve seen your brother, father, or any man in your life cry. Society only encourages this and destroys men’s self-confidence and secure masculinity. Being a real man is not about hiding every emotion and refusing to acknowledge others feelings, it is about learning how to feel and control your feelings and embrace the emotions of yourself and others.