A Crying Shame

Mine eyes smell onions, I shall weep anon.  William Shakespeare

When was the last time you cried?

Shedding tears plays an important role in keeping the eyes lubricated and protecting them from irritation, but crying can also happen whenever we feel strong joy, pain, or sadness.     Though why humans cry is still a mystery in many ways, researchers  have demonstrated that men are far less likely to cry than women, a finding that has been replicated across thirty-five countries and four continents.     

Even though boys express a wider range of emotions than girls do as infants, boys are typically discouraged from showing their emotions as they grow older due to traditional ideas about masculinity and gender roles.   Crying frequency between boys and girls shows little difference until the age of eleven or twelve when girls overtake boys. 

Being told that "big boys don't cry",  boys are socialized against any display of strong emotion considered inappropriate while crying is specifically targeted as being "feminine" behaviour.    There can be enormous culture differences over when and under what circumstances men and women are allowed to cry but men are often expected to be more stoic and unemotional in most situations.

To read more, check out my new Psychology Today post.


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