'Stiff upper lip' is a phrase that has been said to define the British male. Men aren't supposed to express their feelings, men aren't allowed to show any weakness, and, perhaps most prevalently, men shouldn't cry.
However, in recent years, more and more people have been fighting to rid this old fashioned and repressive view of what makes a man from day-to-day life and values.
Often referred to as 'toxic masculinity', it represents a view of masculinity that operates from a place of 'fear and anger' instead of a place of confidence and compassion.
When Facebook user Lyra Balearica came across a woman trying to force ideas of toxic masculinity onto a little boy who had come to see her in order to have a sample of blood drawn, she wasn't having any of it.
The woman then started mocking the little boy even more, threatening to film him if he kept on crying, and saying that she would then share the video with all of his friends to humiliate him. Balearica explained to the woman that they have a strict no filming policy in the clinic, and then in response, the woman got angry because she was 'ruining the joke'.
She then explained how sickened this repressive view of masculinity makes her feel, and how damaging it is, not only to cis men and boys, but to women and femmes, who become terrified that they will be on the receiving end of male violence caused by this repressive notion of masculinity.
The whole post reads:
The way our culture treats boys sickens me.
I had an 11 year old boy( in my room to have blood drawn today.
He was crying. Not bawling or throwing a fit, just a few nervous tears.)
His guardian kept telling him to 'man up' and 'stop asking like a sissy'.
Then she threatened to record him crying to show it to all his friends, which made him cry more.
I told her we had a strict no recording/photo policy and she got made at me for 'ruining the joke'.
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.
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.
You know why women and femmes have to fear violent men?
Because of this shit that represses boys and men.
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.
Many people were quick to agree with her sentiment.
Thank you so, so, so much for having that talk with that boy. It makes me sick, too, that our culture teaches males this! You are probably the only person he has ever heard express that, and I really hope he took your words to heart.
Another added that there is a knock on effect that makes men think that it's an insult to be called feminine.
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.
A third responded that they raise their children to be feminists:
That so AWFUL and it gives the kid MORE anxiety. I raised my boy feminist and he never minded blood draws or the dentist or any of that!
Let's hope that more parents stop perpetuating ideals of masculinity that support ideas that boys shouldn't cry by raising their sons to be feminists and never shaming them for showing emotion.