“Ladke roote nahi hain,” a parent shushes her crying son.
“Ladki hai kya? Rona band kar,” are words college friends have told to a sobbing guy.
“Grow a pair and stop crying, will you?” Fellow men muzzle their tearful colleague.
Men and crying don’t seem a believable or sensible image for society. Why, of course, since men are tough pillars of strength and anything that goes against that image is plain wrong. Well, isn’t this what the society has always taught us?
“I was known as the cry baby in school. People would tell me to be a man and harden up. Eventually, I stopped. I hid from it and ran from it,” says Ashutosh Matai. The last time he cried was two months ago. Crying to him means letting out his pent up emotions and reminds him that he still alive. Even then, he resists shedding tears in front of others and feels as if they will judge him for doing so.
Here’s where the Man-Up Campaign comes into the picture. Grief-stricken by the loss of a friend to suicide, Gus Worland, co-host of the Sydney Triple M Grill team came up with an idea to encourage men to express their emotions openly. Here is what some Indian men think about this campaign and men crying.
On hearing the news of his younger sister’s marriage, Simardeep Nagpal couldn’t control his tears. Throughout the 23 years of his life, his parents have been very supportive when he expresses himself and consoling when he cries. Women were, and in some places still are, considered the weaker sex, which he believes is completely baseless. Crying being portrayed as a sign of weakness is directly related to an act only women do, which forces many men to bottle up their feelings because they don’t want to seem ‘unmanly’. To Simardeep, crying will always mean freedom of expression and an indication of how deeply he is affected by something.
Crying is preferred by some people to let out their frustrations at the end of a long and hard day. Not for 17-year-told Aditya Sharma though, since he believes crying is too much work. He last cried when he was 9 or 10 years old. He has learnt to suppress his emotions and would rather eat, read or sleep than weep. He blames television for the stereotype that only women cry since all the women on Indian daily soaps are seen throwing crying fits. When asked about his views on the Man-Up Campaign, he said, “I think it’s a great idea to spread the message that it’s okay for men to cry and not put on a tough exterior just because of their sex. Just because I’m don’t like crying doesn’t mean I have a problem with other men crying.”
Ronak Singh, 23, says that the biggest lesson society has taught him is to not believe in what the society says. For him, crying is as important as breathing for it is an outlet to all the emotional trash one has gone through. He tends not to cry so that he can use his frustrations and emotional saturation to strengthen himself. But to make sure he doesn’t end up emotionally fortifying himself, he lets himself break down too. He clearly remembers how a girl suggested to a male friend of his to ‘stop crying like a little girl’ when he was sobbing. “When you’re a kid, you’re accustomed to certain beliefs which the society classifies as right and wrong. But as you grow up, you start questioning everything and that’s when the truth finally surfaces,” he adds.
The Man-Up Campaign not only prevents men from being emotionally stunted but also shows them how important emotions are. It guides them to be vocal about their feelings and leads them to accept the fact that crying isn’t a big deal. The aim of this campaign is to reduce the high suicide rates in men and give them an open environment where the society doesn’t guide their every move.