When humans cry it is usually an emotional response to stimuli which they have attributed meaning to. There are a multitude of situations where they may end up in tears, as they cannot contain the emotions they are feeling. When individuals learn that a loved one is hurt or deceased the first response may be to cry; this may also be the case when everything seems to be going wrong and they are feeling depressed; or when they are in a stressful situation or in a situation where it is regarded as acceptable to demonstrate emotion, such as at a funeral. Crying therefore has its place in society, and can sometimes be used to assess a person’s state of mind, as it generally tends to be a spontaneous act which they do not necessarily have control over.
In the West there seems to be a general perception that it is perfectly acceptable for women to cry at any time and in any situation. Often a smirk will be raised amongst the men-folk at the idea that it is just ‘hormones’ driving women to cry so much. The dominant image of womanhood is still influenced by the notion of women as caregivers, as nurturers, and as sensitive. Crying therefore seems to be accepted as part of this, as is the notion that women have less control over their emotions than men. That is why high-profile females in the worlds of business and politics often have to develop a hardened attitude and to convey a sense of control and lack of emotion. There seems to be a feeling that for a woman to be successful in a man’s world, they have to adopt the qualities generally associated with men.
Nowadays attitudes seem to be more accepting of men who cry, though, particularly as scientific evidence suggests it can actually be good for individuals’ health to cry. During times of heightened emotion it certainly is acceptable for men to cry, but it might be harder for society to accept hysterical crying or crying for no apparent reason. A tear trickling down a man’s cheek might be regarded as perfectly reasonable, but there is still a certain amount of ambivalence about men who cry in general. Many men also have difficulty expressing their emotions in the first place anyway because since they were children they have been expected to be ‘tough’ and not to show emotion. They might see crying as a sign of weakness, and do not want to reveal their vulnerability to the world.
Usually it is better for the individual’s own state of mind to release their emotions through tears if necessary. Some people find other ways to cope with their problems, but sometimes crying alerts others to the distress they are feeling. There may be situations where it is harder to justify crying, particularly in a business environment, but people should generally be free to release their feelings, as they usually come out in one way or another in the end. Crying has to be a more preferable way of coping with hurt than though anger and violence, and should therefore be more tolerated than it perhaps is.