Real Men Don’t Cry

By Diego Mantelli

Real men don’t cry. The mantra almost every young man growing up has heard whenever something painful happens. You tripped on a stone and skinned your knee. Real men don’t cry. Your favorite dog, one that had been your best friend, passes away. Real men don’t cry. Put your shoes on, Grandma had an accident. Real men don’t cry. An urgent change in society needs to occur and learn to change such a harmful public stereotype, before men’s mental health is ruined for yet another generation.

Rather than having men of different ages express emotion, society encourages them to stuff it down, and assume that those horrible feelings will not hurt anymore. Doing so creates an environment where men’s mental health has been decreasing little by little, leading to some very unsettling statistics. While women are three times more likely to attempt suicide, men are 3.6 times more likely to die from suicide. Researchers have various theories regarding why there is such a large discrepancy, with the leading theory being that women will tell others of their intentions, while men do not, largely due to the negative stigma surrounding and the shame society associates with talking about men mental health, and men feeling like they have no one to talk to. The reason they have no one to talk to? Men feel that if they confide in others, they will be seen as weak and vulnerable. Instead of someone talking them out of a mental health crisis, men just do it, leaving friends wondering when and where everything went wrong.

Real men don’t cry is also a trope that has been copied and pasted throughout pop culture for decades,as “macho” men are described as being void of emotion. However, English rock band The Cure helped blaze a trail with their hit song “Boys Don’t Cry”, bringing to light the damage holding in emotions can cause, opening the door for countless others, especially being seen most recently with country artist Zach Bryan talking about the issues surrounding men’s mental health. With countless artists bringing the issue to light, in combination with increased activism the issues around men’s mental health, opens societies eyes to how bad the issue truly is.

Men’s Mental Health is an issue in the U.S. and around the world, with toxic masculinity making it harder to address the cause of the issue. Until society normalizes men crying and showing emotion, men’s mental health will continue to follow its current, negative trend.