Woman's Viral Facebook Post Slams The Notion That Boys Who Cry Are Weak

"Crying doesn't make you weak. Fear doesn't make you weak."

Despite increased awareness, gender stereotypes persist across the globe. Most notably, boys are constantly told to "man up," which essentially implies that they should stifle their emotions. One woman, however, has had enough of society's perpetuation of toxic masculinity, especially when it comes to telling young boys that crying makes them "weak."

"The way our culture treats boys sickens me," Lyra Balearica wrote in her now-viral Facebook post. Balearica felt it necessary to share her experience after an 11-year-old boy who'd come in to have his blood drawn was chastised for his "nervous tears."

"His guardian kept telling him to 'man up' and 'stop acting like a sissy'. Then she threatened to record him crying to show it to all his friends, which made him cry more," she explained. "I told her we had a strict no recording/photo policy and she got [mad] at me for 'ruining the joke.' " 

Once the woman left to use the restroom, Balearica quickly took the opportunity to assure the young boy that his tears and his emotions were valid and important.

"When this woman went to the bathroom I told the kid it was okay to express his emotions however he needed to and even grown men are scared of needles," she wrote. "That everyone is scared of something and he was brave for doing it even though he was scared."

"Stop. Telling. Boys. They. Aren't. Really. Boys. For expressing emotion," Balearica added. 

Balearica then reminded parents and adults that how they treat young boys ultimately impacts who they'll be as adults and how their repressed emotions and inner conflicts might inevitably hurt the women and girls in their lives.

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"You know why women and femmes have to fear violent men? Because of this shit that represses boys and men," Balearica emphasized. "Crying doesn't make you weak. Fear doesn't make you weak. But berating a child for showing those things make you one weak ass adult."

Balearica's friends and followers were quick to praise her condemnation of toxic masculinity and reinforce the fact that adults must help boys develop their emotional intelligence in order to stop the cycle of anger and violence that often arises.

"Thank you so, so, so much for having that talk with that boy. It makes me sick, too, that our culture teaches males this!" Rhiannon Hartman Dunn wrote. "You are probably the only person he has ever heard express that, and I really hope he took your words to heart."

"This leads to the demeaning behavior when men refer to each other as "girls" to insult each other, or ask if they're on their periods, or any feminine reference as weakness," Marie Masciovecchio said.

Rhizome Syndrigast Coelacanth Flourishing noted that parents and caregivers who perpetuate this stereotype "create the terrors non-cis men have to deal with," as well. Whether overtly violent or covert and psychologically damaging, she added, the root of the problem likely lies with how these adults were raised themselves.

"Parents do need to be held at least partially accountable for the unparented, emotionally damaged and damaging men their children grow up to be," she wrote. "What are we doing to help the non-cis men they will encounter and try to connect with in their teens and adulthood? #IWillBeAccountable"

Ultimately, those who are raising the next generation must take inventory of their own internal biases and assess how these preconceived notions might negatively influence young minds. We have the power to improve the future of mental health. We need only open up the pathways for communication, and that means embracing — not ignoring — the emotions that occupy our thoughts each day.

Cover image via Africa Studio / Shutterstock

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