A lot has been spoken about men not being allowed to cry, gender bias related to it and many other things. I personally feel that even though there could be a social pressure on men for not shedding tears, it is more of a choice and poise of the man.
How do we define crying? Crying means expression of grief and pain with or without tears. So, is it that men never feel the pain or they never grieve? (Please don’t quote the filmy dialogue “Mard ko Dard nahi hota”). I have seen men in my life cry, like really cry with tears in their eyes. And no single person ever shamed them.
The first man I saw crying was my grandfather. He cried his heart out when his first daughter was going away with her newly wed husband to start a new chapter of their life. My father did the same when I got married, though in a lesser intensity. But he did cry!
I have seen my husband cry quite a few times in these 10 years. I have seen him grieving when my father in law passed away. He was crying so bad that his whole body was wobbling. I have seen him cry with me when I was in tremendous pain because of losing pregnancies before we had Aarnav. I have seen him cry when he saw me going through the medical turmoil that I had to just to conceive Aarnav. I have seen him cry when we made a wrong decision of chucking a job before having another one on hand and then later facing unemployment for a long time. Every time his crying was not accompanied by tears, but I could see he was crying within.
We have a tradition that someone from the family accompanies the new bride to her new home, makes sure she is comfortable in the new house and then return. I remember my maternal uncle had accompanied me to my new house. At the time of “Grihapravesh” I turned back one last time just to feel assured that he is around and yes, he was there, with a heart full of happiness and eyes full of tears that his little niece is stepping in to a whole new world and will be on her own.
In spite of the fan fare of this social pressure, do ask yourself if men don’t cry ever? I am sure you have seen men cry too and there is no big deal about it. Earlier generations many have set standards for shaming men for crying but hey, we can change that, can’t we? I tell my son not to cry. Yes, I do, but NOT because boys don’t cry but because instead a crying he must learn to tell what is bothering him and what can be done about it.
Next time you see a man or a boy cry, just let him be. Don’t think what society will name him. Don’t suggest him whether he should cry or not. Just let him be. Instead, try and identify many other men who cry within. Do something to shed their grief. Do something to make them comfortable.