At the age of 4 –
Arey, Ladka hoke rota hai? Ladke toh bahadur hote hain. (Oh, Being a boy, you’re crying? Boys are supposed to be brave.) Did you just imagine a parent saying this to a kid? That’s because we’ve all heard it at some point in our life. That little innocent kid wanted to cry so hard and tell everyone how hurt he was, but then that term ‘bahadur’ gave him a good vibe so he decided to become one.
When he turned 5 –
Arey, Ladka hoke rota hai? Uncle kya sochenge? (Oh, Being a boy, you’re crying? What will Uncle think of you?) The little kid didn’t understand but he was sure that the uncle definitely didn’t like a crying kid, so he decided to not cry in front of Uncle.
Arey, itna rone ki kya baat hai isme? Aise toh ladkiyan roti hai. (Oh, Why’re you crying so much? Only girls are meant to cry this way.) By now, this kid was sure about three things – One, crying reflects weakness while controlling tears is a symbol of bravery – Two, crying in front of someone will make him judged by them – Three, crying is only meant for women while men don’t cry.
One day at school, he gets slapped by the teacher in front of 50 people, his bench mate, and all his classmates. That was the first time he felt that deciding to be brave wasn’t a good choice, caring about other’s judgment wasn’t a great idea either and crying is definitely not just a girl’s need. But during all these years, he realized that no matter how low he feels, he is not meant to disclose his emotions in front of anyone as that would paint a weak picture of him among the people.
Since then, he had always been hiding his tears, his emotions, trying to suppress his feelings and pain for every single thing, thereby, continuing to prove that real men don’t cry. From the age of 4 to 16 to 40 and till the age he dies at, he just keeps on suppressing his emotions trying to convince the society that he has successfully learned what he was expected to, that he is now BRAVE, that he isn’t WEAK LIKE A GIRL. And not just that, he in fact finds it important to pass this on to his boy child and the cycle goes on and on and on.
I know this topic might be uncomfortable for some people, some might think that it isn’t even worth discussing while some might laugh at it. But I believe, this is something worth our attention, as in the name of making boys and men emotionally strong, they are just being raised to become EMOTIONALLY UNAVAILABLE !! And in turn, all their pent-up emotions and feelings take the form of anger and burst out somewhere else, often directed towards near and dear ones. These suppressed feelings time and again result in the emotional implosion of the individual leading to depression.
Let’s break this stereotype of ‘Real men don’t cry’ and start understanding that it’s OKAY to be weak sometimes, that it’s good to share our emotions and not bury them under the senseless norms of society irrespective of the gender. A depressed man is equally vulnerable as a depressed woman, let’s not make him struggle more by not letting him express. If the society would have allowed that little kid to cry and share his emotions then, he would not have turned out to be an aggressive, unsympathetic, and emotionally suppressed man.
Shedding tears is neither a symbol of weakness nor a girly thing, it’s just an absolutely normal biological process. If this too was supposed to be controlled, why would God make it involuntary?