Something has been bothering me this week. Although I have started to use my blog in a more professional and less personal way in recent months, I think this is worthy of a blog post. I want to talk about men crying. Hot topic these days, right? And so it should be.
In Scotland this week, a musician took his own life. It feels like every few weeks, another young man in the public eye is taking his own life. As the mother of a son, this frightens me. How many more young men are we going to lose to suicide and depression? It’s not just the deaths of these young men that makes me feel so uneasy though. It’s things I am witnessing with my own eyes, things that are affecting my son, people who are influencing him. Just last week, he said one of his friends was “crying like a baby.” He certainly didn’t learn that kind of insult at home. Let me give you some examples or what’s at the source of this.
- Last year I took my six year old son to see Santa Claus at a local castle. He was employed by the local council, so his wages were probably paid with public money. Santa gave Luke into trouble for being too gentle with his hi-5 and told him not to hi-5 “like a girl.”
- A few months ago, someone who is employed to work on school transport told my son not to cry because “boys don’t cry.” She no longer works with him, thankfully.
- I was at the seafront in Largs a couple of weeks ago and I was helping my son get onto the mini-rollercoaster. Another parent was doing the same. The other parent’s little boy got into a pink car. His father told him to get out and get into another one because “pink’s for girls.”
- I was watching Formula 1 coverage on Channel 4 and Steve Jones said it looked like Bottas had been crying. Eddie Jordan said that he thought Bottas was “above that.” David Coulthard refused to agree with Steve Jones that real men cry and described himself as an “android.” Needless to say, I have a lot less respect for both Jordan and Coulthard after that, whereas I have a lot more for Steve Jones.
Since I’ve given birth to my son, I’ve been asking myself, can I still fight for the rights of men and be a feminist? I kind of think I have to. I want to fight for equality for my own gender, but I want to fight for the rights of boys and men to be allowed to FEEL too. It’s a battle that no human being should have to fight, feeling like expressing emotions makes them less.
Thankfully, my husband is the type of man who sees no problem with crying and I know that we are on the same page. When I see something sad on TV and I reach for a tissue, I automatically reach for two and pass one to my husband because without even looking at him, I know he will be crying along with me. We are trying our best to raise our son to be the kind of young man who is secure in his own masculinity and knows that showing a whole spectrum of emotions makes him a more complete, balanced and healthy human being but we have a fight on our hands. And apart from the woman who worked on school transport, that problem is coming from other men in his life. From television, from sportsmen, from his friend’s parents and from Santa. I mean, really Santa? I don’t want my son to become a statistic once he reaches adulthood and what I am witnessing around me makes me fearful. These harmful attitudes have to stop.