From childhood, the above phrase is instilled in the minds of men. Why? Because, he is a man and he is supposed to be strong. I often wonder what makes us women so strong, that we easily face every trauma in our lives, and what makes our partners (men) so harsh, that at times when they are supposed to feel pain; they happily pretend as if nothing affects them. The answer I found for this question, is that we women cry. Yes, crying is often indicated as a favourite hobby of a woman or their way of emotionally blackmailing, whereas this is not the reality. Crying lets a person take out all the frustration that is in them, it helps in taking out the pain they feel in their heart which is not physical yet is damaging.

As a girl, I always believed that men are not as bad as they seem that there is always a sensitive side in them. But sadly it has been hidden somewhere among the teachings of our society.

Since an early age, little boys are told not to cry, even if they are upset about their toys being broken or whether they are scared of going to school. In the different phases of their life, they are repeatedly being told to overrule their emotions and to not express them. Suppressing of feelings is the most damaging part of a person’s personality, whether a man or a woman. We women easily express our pain or grief thorough crying, but let’s see this from a man’s perspective, he is never allowed to cry; the patriarchal society’s most toxic aspect is that men always have to put a strong face no matter how hurt or upset they feel.

How unfair to men! We always make men feel that things which are making them upset is not worth it, whether it’s a game they lost, a ruined relationship or anything else. We always ask them to suppress their emotions, which is completely wrong, just like every living thing they also possess a heart with feelings. They have equal rights to express those feelings. Expressing emotions is not “gender-specific”, and by suppressing feelings they are only leading towards abhorrent forms of expressions. These expressions can be anything, it can be getting indulged in drugs and alcohol, it can be ruthless behaviour, or the worst of them all, self-abuse or domestic violence. So it’s time we teach our boys that it’s okay to cry, they don’t have to shut their feelings and end up being emotionless. Next time when you see your friend crying don’t say boys don’t cry, instead tell him that “It’s ok to cry.”

SIDRA SHOAIB,

Karachi, November 4.