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Societies View of Men

 

When I was little, It was known that boys were not supposed to cry. I don’t know why I knew it, but I did. I remember falling on the playground, or scraping my knee, and trying not to cry, out of fear that other people would make fun of me. I got this idea in my head that if I ever wanted to be a man, I couldn’t cry or express my emotions, at least in front of people. That’s why, when I needed to cry, I tried to hide it. I wore a “mask” that hid my emotions and made myself appear okay and as if everything was good.

          

In 2017, an article was published by the New York Times called “Talking to Boys the Way We Talk to Girls”. In it, the author, Andrew Reiner talks about how boys and girls get talked to differently when communicating with their parents. He mentions how his son, at a father’s day breakfast sang a song about how his dad is “big and strong, fixes things with his hammer,” and ultimately “is very cool.” In the first paragraph, he makes a crucial point. “Now, there’s nothing wrong with most of these qualities in and of themselves. But when these lyrics are passed down as the defining soundtrack to masculine identity, we limit children’s understanding not just of what it means to be a father but of what it means to be a man — and a boy, as well.” What Michael implies is that when ideals get passed down from generation to generation, they come across as more of a requirement than something to be proud of. 

 

A study made in 2014 shows that Spanish mothers more often talked to their 4 year daughters about deeper, more emotional subjects. However, when speaking with their 4 year old sons, they refrained from speaking about such topics. Interestingly, the same study revealed that 4 year old daughters were more likely to talk about their emotions when speaking with their fathers about past experiences than 4 year old boys. And during these deep, bonding conversations, it was shown that the dad was more likely to use emotional-laden words with their daughters than with their sons. When fathers talk with their sons in an emotionally exempt way, it creates a feeling that the young boys shouldn’t express them in conversation either. This then causes them to grow up not knowing how to process their emotions properly.

 

While we think that boys should be able to express their emotions, there becomes a certain point in a boy’s life when they shouldn’t cry due to pain. It’s okay to cry if your grandma dies or your girlfriend breaks up with you (for example), but if you get to be about 7 grade, you shouldn’t be crying if you scrape your knee. At this age and older you should be mature enough to stop yourself from crying over little things. If you don’t, you could face bullying from peers. When these stereotypes are passed down, kids don’t understand the harm they can cause if they’re not taught properly. This is why it’s important to let young boys express their emotions, encouraging them to be more open in their adulthood. 

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About the Contributors
Blake Baxley, Editor and Writer
Blake is the middle child, with a twin and a third younger brother. In his spare time, he plays water polo, soccer, and swims. Blake is editing the newspaper with Poppy Henderson and Ben Baxley.  
Benjamin Baxley, Editor and Writer
Benjamin Baxley is editing The Lit with Blake Baxley and Poppy Henderson. He is the firstborn, with a twin brother and a younger brother. Benjamin enjoys many things,  such as sports and cooking. He and his family have moved around many times but have been residing in the San Geronimo Valley for the past 4 years.
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