Big boys don't cry?
12th June, 2008
When I revealed to my father that I was suffering from depression, he replied. “If someone tells you to pull yourself together, tell them you’re not a pair of curtains, you’re a person.” As a woman its more socially acceptable to cry in public, be frightened, display weakness and emotions. But what about men who are brought up on “big boys don’t cry’ and “be daddies little soldier”. How do they cope with and express painful and difficult feelings that superheroes aren’t encouraged to show?
In the 18th century, it was considered Macho and distinguished for men to cry in public. This changed during the building of the British Empire when It was felt that men needed to portray an image of strength and control.
Shell shocked soldiers, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in WW1 were shot for cowardice and During WW11 RAF personal who broke down and couldn’t fly anymore would have their records marked with LMF lacking moral fibre.
This has given us the modern legacy that the only acceptable emotion for men to express is anger. No wonder most deaths in men under 25 are from suicide and over 75% of men in prison have been diagnosed with mental health issues.
May be its time we allowed men to be people again, not superheroes or pairs of curtains and allow big boys to cry if they want to.
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