Sobbing in bed with a mouth full of Double-Stuffed Oreos may seem like a breakdown,
but I call it a cathartic release. Although crying is the expression of many emotions that we all
feel, from frustration to happiness, an unfavorable stigma surrounds this action. Often, people are
embarrassed to cry in public or are frustrated with themselves even when crying alone. This is
because people who cry are deemed weak and childish, needing to be cared for and incapable of
rational decision-making. It’s time to discuss the importance of being able to cry in a world that
largely tells us not to.

Condemning the act of crying re-intrenches the hyper-masculinity that plagues our society.
Boys, by the age of 5, have learned that they are not supposed to cry, that they should “man up”
and stop being a “sissy.” Through glorifying stereotypically masculine traits such as strength and
dominance, and discouraging those that show emotion, we encourage a cycle of repressing
emotions which then resorts to violence. As people cannot express their emotions in healthy
ways, these bottled up feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration are eventually unleashed in the
form of lashing out. This emotional or even physical violence can be perpetrated against others,
against oneself, and often times against those with traits deemed feminine. When masculine traits
are at the top of the hierarchy of acceptable characteristics, masculinity becomes a rejection of
everything that is considered to be feminine. When boys ridicule others for certain traits, it is
because they have been socialized to hate those traits within themselves. This manifests into
homophobia and misogyny. It is not natural to disregard the compassion, care, and important
emotions that come with being able to cry, but because these are qualities society has defined as
feminine, we say they cannot coexist with the idea of being masculine. None of the
characteristics that are associated with being a man in our culture involves crying. But we do not
cry because we are a certain gender, or because we have masculine or feminine qualities, we cry
because we care.

Being able to cry entails having the compassion, empathy, and vulnerability to connect
with those around us. In a world where many of us have become desensitized to the atrocities
that happen daily because we simply cannot bear to witness them and also carry on with our
everyday lives, having these natural feelings are more important than ever. Turning a blind eye
to those in need, upholding institutions that perpetuate violence against people, or praising
hateful ideologies all involve suppressing the emotions that would prevent us from letting these
issues continue. We must provide communities that build an understanding of one another rather
than tear each other apart for certain traits or differences, and will allow people to feel safe and
express their emotions. So whether that involves eating Double-Stuffed Oreos or not, we could
all use a cry.