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The author of the linked article went on a quest to find out why he wasn’t crying when he was sad. When he was young, he says he cried a lot but as he got older, not so much. He noticed that was true of his other male friends as well. There just wasn’t a whole lot of crying going on. Sadness yes, depression yes, anger yes, but not a lot of crying. He began to wonder, “am I broken?” No, you are not broken, you just grew up and became a man.
During his quest the author discovers, “… a 2000 study on brain differences between males and females during sadness. The paper came from an experiment using a mood induction procedure … during happy and sad states focusing on the amygdala part of the brain.”
What was the result of this study? Pretty much just what we all would expect it to be.
“…men and women experience pain and sadness in different regions of the brain. Men’s pain tends to focalize almost entirely in the amygdala—a region associated with fear and trauma—and that could explain why men’s sadness often manifests in anger rather than tears.”
Men DO cry. A man who cries at appropriate times is not looked down on by other men. But men don’t cry all that often. For whatever reason that is true, it is true. Crying more than is normal for a man isn’t going to make you a better man. Crying can be a liability though. Evolutionarily speaking it make sense that the gender responsible for fighting, defending, and hunting shouldn’t just break down. Imagine, Ogg is out hunting with the tribe stalking the mammoth that will feed the tribe for a month when suddenly, into view, steps the beat’s new-born baby! He thinks of the tragic death and life’s unfairness and breaks down crying. He flings his spear but it misses the mark, he can’t see though the tears. The tribesmen turn on him but he can’t see them either, he’s too busy sobbing. Ogg, alas, is no longer chief.
When I talk to my buddies about their crying or lack of it, they mention a sadness that they’ve had the tears educated out of them, and that society still doesn’t accept that males need to cry, or realize that when they don’t they just get angry. The world needs everything but more angry men right now.