It’s time to renew the debate on men and crying – especially after the recent season finale of the TV show “The Bachelor” - where The Bachelor cried on national TV a dozen times in less than an hour! According to ABC News, more men are crying in public than ever before, and reactions seem to be as confusing as ever before too.
Brain scans show that men and women feel the exact same emotions, but psychologists say how we express those emotions depends on how we were raised. Historically, men are taught to “tough it out” when they feel hurt, while women are taught that it’s okay to express their emotions openly. These days, those attitudes may be changing and psychologists say we have our politicians to thank, of all people. For example: Hardly anybody ridiculed President George W. Bush when he cried in public after the terrorist attacks on September 11th. More recently, Barack Obama cried while talking about the death of his grandmother, just days before he was elected President. While these male politicians got a free pass from the public, female politicians haven’t been so lucky.
In fact, many critics say Hilary Clinton hurt her chances of being elected President last year after she was seen crying on the campaign trail. Why? Jonathan Rottenberg is a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He says men usually get a pass because society still perceives their crying as being a rare thing. Also, because we’re taught that men aren’t supposed to cry, we pay more attention when they do. We automatically think: There must be something really wrong if a man’s crying.
Dr. Tom Lutz, a professor at the University of California at Riverside, did an exhaustive study on crying. He says that the same tearful response that’s seen as sensitivity in a man could be seen as a lack of control in a woman.