Do real men cry ? Such is the question that I want to address in this article, since our society seems to have already spelled out an answer on behalf of men without consulting them for their opinion.
Western society has very little use or patience for men crying or even non adult male crying in general. From the very beginning of the male human beings life we strap him down in restraints and mutilate a part of his body in a way that we would never think of doing to infant girls. I’m skeptical of any study that purports to measure such specific behavior, and thus ask you to take this with a grain of salt, but some studies show that mothers responded preferentially to girls versus boys at birth up to 44 weeks, at a time when infant boys need their mothers comfort the most. Fathers of course are usually expected to simply function as a 50+ hour a week bill payer and likely get even less time to spend with their sons.
I distinctly Remember an ex-coworker of mine and a conversation we had surrounding his newborn infant daughter. He was about two months into raising her and I, having not known about the new addition to his young family until that day, offered him my congratulations. I was just making small talk really, these are just things people say to each other at work to pass the time, but he took it as an opportunity to tell me how excited he was to have a baby girl and how he had always wanted this. I did happen to know that he had a three year old boy and I asked him if he saw any discernible differences between what it was like to have a newborn boy versus a newborn girl. What he said back to me has stuck with me years later it was so shocking.
He, we’ll call him Tom, went on to explain to me that he saw very few differences in the way they behaved, both were essentially helpless infants that cried, pooped, slept and ate and did very little else. But when it came to the topic of crying he said the following:
My boy cried very little, even less than my girl does at that age, but with my boy there was something in me, as much as I loved him that just wanted to let him cry sometimes, I would find myself saying “you need to man up little man”.
We’re talking about a months old infant boy here, an infant who couldnt possibly understand the concept of “manning up” or even the concept of what it means to be a man or a woman. He is simply a human bundle of responses to primitive emotions and drives, he’s hungry? he cries, he feels physical pain, he cries, he feels emotional pain, he cries. That’s all they know how to do. I don’t think Tom is a bad person. He himself showed many instances of generosity to some of our co-workers that I certainly would not have extended, overall I think he was a good person.
But like his own infant son I believe he was socialized, essentially from birth to “man up” in one way or another and was simply passing it along to his own son because that’s all he really knew. In his mind he likely beleived he was doing his son a favor, getting started early in the process of readying him for a world that is uncaring in terms of male suffering. We as MGTOW like to explore the seemingly inherent biological characteristics of the male human being that lead him to exhibit behaviors that would indicate that men are on some level, naturally gynocentric and naturally tend to put their own interests as well as the interests of other men like them, beneath those of the women they interact with.
I think that this is something that we should continue to explore. For now though I want to focus on the socialized aspects of the “man up” mentality boys are subjected to in our society. Before we go on however, I wish to clarify my position that it is likely impossible to tease out the two. The reasons why we are less tolerant of crying form the male sex of our species in comparison to the female sex likely have their origins in our biology causing us to reinforce it on the sociological level, but to the degree that we can explore the socialized aspects of it, I think it worth pursuing.
It is very likely that our species evolved crying for the same reasons puppies are cute, and kittens are adorable. A puppy is helpless, it makes cute little sounds and gestures that we naturally react to and it has enough of an neotenous appearance so as to coax us toward reacting to it in a helpful manner. That distinction is important because our species may very well have some kind of “boy who cried wolf” mechanism nestled in our psychology that protects us from people using the power of crying, that is the ability to immediately draw attention and sympathy from almost everyone around you, for nefarious purposes.
This mechanism, like many other evolutionary adaptations is imperfect and designed for a type of existence the human species simply doesn’t exist in anymore. But the myth of the Boy who cried wolf may give us a bit of insight into how all of this works. Myths are, after all , memetic manifestations of how the human species views itself and usually attempt to teach us something. This myth tells us of a boy who repeatedly made false claims of sighting a wolf in the village, catalyzing an unnecessary village wide reaction by the townsfolk in defense.
Once he made the false claim, then again, and again until the villagers simply learned to disregard his false alarms. Finally one day, a wolf did come, the boy cried wolf but of course it was considered to be a false alarm and nothing else, the wolf ended up slaughtering all of the sheep, and it is there that the moral of the story is found…
-Don’t Lie, Don’t raise false alarm, only draw upon the help of others when it is absolutely necessary-
I suspect that for as long as we exist as a species humanity will churn out very little parables and myths that convey something along the lines of the “girl who cried wolf”. In the parable of the girl who cried wolf, we would see the villagers respond no matter how many times the girl cried wolf, and if there ever was a girl shepherd who managed not to cry wolf at all, she would be held up as a hero no matter how many boys accomplished the same feat. Boy’s and the men they later become have less helplessness, less neoteny to draw upon to elicit sympathy from both men and women, they may have the hardware that allows them to cry, but the lack the neotenous hardware that allows us to act with sympathy toward them at anywhere near the level that we do for the female sex.
This helps to explain why there is such a problem with false rape accusations today, why women can point a finger at a man, falsely accuse him of rape, and no matter how many false rape accusation scandals occur, she is believed without question. The “village” that makes up western society is so obsessed with female safety and the possibility of attending to female suffering that they can’t bring themselves to not drop everything they’re doing and take up their torches and pitchforks for the girl who cries rape, no matter how many times they get there and find out that no male wolf is out there doing any raping.
I know that citing anecdotal references to popular culture is far from scientific and I’m not pretending otherwise. the purpose of this post is to raise the question of why we treat a crying man so much differently than a crying woman, studies can come later based off of the preliminary answers we arrive at in speculation. One of the most popular television series in the world, AMC’s the walking dead, follows the post zombie-apocalypse struggles of one Rick Grimes, his son Coral and the rest of his crew to survive while the rest of the world has gone to complete shit. One scene, following Ricks son having to kill his own mother after she gave birth to his sister, unfolds with Coral telling his father Rick that his wife was dead. What follows is Rick who is seen as the undisputed leader of the group, having a break down chock-full of uncomfortable, guttural and decidedly not “cute” crying. It was the type of crying that only men do, and only during periods of intense suffering, the type of crying that sounds… animal like, you can watch it below:
Notice how this scene unfolded, it is very important to note the bewildered silence on the faces of Ricks comrades. Up until that point they had perceived him as an emotionless being, stoic, unflinching and stable. They built their conceptualization of safety and stability around his ability to stay calm and collected, and frankly they didn’t very much care about the pressure it put on him. So long as he maintained composure, they were happy to allow that pressure to keep building and building. This explains the reaction of his comrades, who are shown averting their gaze, making no efforts to comfort him, and looking very uncomfortable themselves. It’s almost as if they were offended that he would dare burst their bubbles with an expression of vulnerability and suffering. I know this is just a television show, but I believe that this show has risen to become so popular because it tells us about ourselves and who we are.
The Zombies are nice, sure. But after a season or two the novelty fades for all but the most hardcore horror makeup/special effects gurus. What keeps us coming back is the reaction we see from these people in situations where it boils down to pure survival. It’s back to the basics for humanity and we’re very curious as to whether or not our behaviors would match those of the unfortunate denizens of the walking dead universe if we found ourselves in their situation. We see these characters do something, we see them have to make decisions whether they be emphatic or selfish and we wonder wether we would by selfish or emphatic as well. We watch the walking dead for realism in an unreal fictional world.
With that said it should be no surprise to you that after this episode aired, the internet went wild with ridicule for Ricks awkward crying scene and from that a new internet meme was born, We’ll call it the “Crying Rick Grimes” meme. here are some examples.
Basically, ridicule. The trivialization of when a man who is suffering cries. Now, I have to take a moment to let you know that I do not have a problem with this meme proliferating. My intent is not to say that the media should “portray crying men in a better light” or any of that kind of Sarkesian level nonsense. I’m actually glad that the internet does this, I’m glad that wider society views male crying and suffering as something that elicits a cringe reflex and ridicule. Because it reveals to us what wider society thinks about men and their feelings, it reveals to us that we are expected to hold it together at all times, remain stoic, and never show outward signs of emotion.
This is something that men need to know, it tells us our place, and through the knowledge of this we can react accordingly, perhaps choosing to stop being so damned disposable for a society that mocks our own suffering. This remains to be seen, but an interesting video has surfaced in Japan that may offer some hope that a society can potentially accommodate men crying in a way that is not dripping with man up shaming.
The video taken from a digg post titled Where Japanese Men Go To Cry talks about how Japanese men are seeking out the practice of “Rui-katsu”, or “tear-seeking” in reaction to their 60 hour work weeks followed often times by post-work employee bonding activities at bars etc. Japanese men have taken to finding public places where they can gather together and have a long refreshing restorative weeping cry. Watch the video below:
One of these men stated the following in reaction to his Rui-katsu sessions (wich typically consist of watching sad movies or short evocative clips with others):
“I feel so much better. It’s really great. I’m always so tense at home and of course, in front of my subordinates at work, I find myself getting into a new mental and emotional state”
I don’t doubt his claim. Holding back your need to cry for extended periods of time, even years at a time in the case of men is bound to have some sort of deleterious effect on your health. Think about what is occurring after all. Your body is telling you to have this reaction, your body is in such a state of mental agony that it is telling you to cope by expelling tears and sobs, to resist that is simply counter to a healthy human experience and when you think about the fact that men can sometimes go decades without shedding a tear, and are encouraged to do so by society, it begins to dawn on you how emotionally deprived they are. It’s a recipe for emotional dysfunction that will eventually lead to health problems.
In the Next post we will continue this conversation gentleman but for now I’ll leave you with some levity to make up for all of the gloom, here is Bill Burr describing exactly what i said…just funnier