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It's Hard for Men to Cry

Updated on March 20, 2019
Pamela99 profile image

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.

Men - Reveal Your Emotions

Many men are closet sobbers, as they have been taught that it is not okay for men to cry. However, men's health is improved when they feel comfortable enough to reveal their emotions with tears. A study published in the journal of Psychology of Men & Masculinity found that football players who cried over losses or wins had higher self-esteem.

Often, it is hard for men to cry as they were taught as boys that it is not manly to cry, so they suppress their emotions, which can lead to suppressing even their happy emotions, such as love. The fact is guys cry; however, they are more comfortable showing emotions of anger or sexual arousal.

It is helpful for crying to be accepted by women, whether they are the wife, sister, mother or girlfriend. Their support and compassion for a man to begin to express those emotions they’ve held inside for a very long time is good for the man, but also their relationships.

Crying Boy


History of Men Crying

Yet, history shows us men have always cried across time and various cultures. We see many references to men crying in ancient Roman and Greek culture.

Homer’s, The Iliad , Odysseus heroic qualities include many episodes of weeping for his home, fallen comrades and loved ones. In the Old Testament there are many references to men weeping. The Gospel’s did not see tears as a threat either. Jesus wept.Early churches considered tears a gift and a natural occurrence to spiritual experiences.

Medieval European and Japanese epics are chocked full of men that cried. During the Romantic Era, a celebratory attitude toward men crying prevailed. By the time we reached the 20th century the tearless man was the ideal.

Real Men Don't Cry T-shirt


Changing Views of People on Crying

Today it has become more acceptable for men to cry publicly. A Penn State study using a sample of 284 people suggests that it is becoming more acceptable for men to cry and less acceptable for women. The men were viewed as expressing honest emotion, while the woman were considered out of control."

When Hillary Clinton cried in New Hampshire during her 2008 campaign some had compassion, but others saw it as a sign of weakness, thus making her ill suited for leadership.

On the other hand, Mitt Romney has choked up several times on news programs, and it seems no one pays attention.

In one of the final episode of "The Bachelor" the star dumped Jason Mesnick, who became a target of insult from many viewers as he cried a dozen times in that show.

President George W. Bush teared up several times when talking about causalities of war. The president also got teary eyed when talking about his grandmother.

Chuck Schumer is known for becoming very emotional over issues he feels are important and he cries.

Many people do see a man’s tears as proof that he is a sensitive and humble man.

Is it OK for Men to Cry in Public?

Movies that Make Men Cry

Unfortunately, there are still many people who feel a man should remain stoic and never show those tears. I think I only saw my father cry once.

There is a difference between a man blubbering over every minor incidence as compared to a man who cries over the loss of a loved one, the birth of their child, the death of beloved pet, a very spiritual experience, at the marriage altar and you see many Vietnam Vets cry when visiting the Vietnam Wall. There are countless other examples as well.

There are also some great movies that have made men cry, such as:

  • Brian’s Song
  • Gladiator
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Field of Dreams
  • Old Yeller
  • Life is Beautiful
  • Schindler’s List
  • Rudy
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Philadelphia
  • One Flew Over the Cuckcoo's Nest
  • It's a Wonderful Life

Sports Team with Some Tears


"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."

--Mark Twain

Times a Man Might Hold His Tears

There is some times where a man should try to hold back the tears, like when their favorite sports team losses. It isn’t like they know these people personally.

It is best to try not to cry when a loved who is close to you needs you to be a source of strength. Hold those tears in check when you don’t get your way.

Disappointment is normal, but self-pity isn’t healthy. Don’t cry over being frustrated when you don’t know what to do, but man up before deciding your next move.

Diana Krall - "Cry Me a River"


Remember that no matter how you were raised, tears are a normal emotion for many situations for men or women. It is not natural for someone to have to stuff their emotions, and it isn't healthy for that individual either. They have nothing to be ashamed up.

It is much more acceptable in today's society for a man to cry, and there is no reason to be ashamed.

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The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Pamela Oglesby


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