Crying is Cool
November 18th 2016. CAC Global Citizen Alicia Calcagni wrote about gender stereotypes in Malda, India with Slum Soccer.
When was the last time you cried? If you’re a man then your answer is definitely, “Never.” If you’re a woman then your answer is definitely, “This morning.” This is a common stereotype across our world.
Last week I was working with a group of 18-22 year old coaches from a village in rural India. We played a game that discussed typical male and female qualities. I introduced it by asking the group to define four characteristics of a man. They shouted, “strong, angry, and happy.” After struggling to determine a fourth, in between giggles, a young man offered “crying.” You guys get the joke, right? Obviously guys do not cry. However, he stopped giggling when I asked him: “Why don’t boys cry?” “Because we are not girls, we are strong.” I should have guessed that. Then I really challenged him, “Even though you do not cry, do you still feel emotions inside of you?” He nodded slowly, uttering a serious “yes.” I am proud of him for admitting this in a world where the cultural norm is to oppress emotions.
We continued our discussion and I suggested that boys are strong when they cry. Maybe you can imagine the crowds response. It was an uproar of laughs and “no, no, no!!!!!” It is also important to note that the boy to girl ratio was 15:8, and the men were dominating this conversation. If no one ever questions then boys will always be strong, and girls will always be weak. Will we ever be able to define crying as strong? I have trouble understating why it is normal to suppress emotions, when 1. It is impossible and 2. Everybody feels them. However, now that it is public knowledge that women AND men have feelings why not give crying a try?