Boys Don’t Cry
I’m sitting by a fireplace at a foot of a mountain. Lots of skiers are busying around. A tall muscular skiing instructor brings over a 3 year old and sits him on a couch next to me. The little guy hurt himself, he fell and hit his head. The instructor asks the boy to sit down and play a game on his phone.
My instinct is to give the boy a hug and console him, but I realize that’s not socially acceptable. I just ask him what game he’s playing and he mumbles a reply, already immersed in an alternative reality.
The boy’s sister comes and leans over him slightly rubbing his back with consolation. She asks a couple of questions. He continues to play with his phone.
The skiing instructor comes back and says:
It’s good you are tough just like me. You know what happened to Kathy? She fell down and she cried. You are tough.
The boy continues to play the game and nods his head.
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From a very young age we teach boys to suppress their feelings and not to seek consolation or help. We tell them that “boys don’t cry”, that they should “man up”, not to be “such a pussy”, etc.
Reinforcement of stereotypical gender roles (greater levels of strength, independence, and risk-taking behavior) often prevents males from seeking help for suicidal feelings and depression. In The U.S. males are about 4 times more likely to commit suicide.