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Masculinity and emotion

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Society pressures men to refrain from expressing their emotions in public and even private settings.

Society pressures men to refrain from expressing their emotions in public and even private settings.

Society pressures men to refrain from expressing their emotions in public and even private settings.

By Jennifer Ladwig | Evergreen relationship columnist

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Society has developed a stigma that men shouldn’t show emotions, that if they cry, then they aren’t manly. And of course it has. Every time you see a strong male lead, they are stoic, or show their emotion through anger, punching things and such.

It is important for men to be able to show their emotions for two distinct reasons: for the health and well-being of their relationships, and for their own personal health and well-being.

Firstly, the ability to express emotions will help a man resolve issues with their partner. I have had to guess at what my partners were thinking more times than I can count, and it gets frustrating.

Being in a relationship makes you want to help your partner, you want to be able to take care of them and help them through the hard times. If your counterpart isn’t able to show his feelings though, how can you know just where his mind is at, just what is bothering him?

I understand where the men are coming from. Females have more freedom to be emotional because society says so, and some women like myself take full advantage of this. I cry all the time, at a sad movie, at a happy movie, when I fight, when I feel hurt.

The man in my life feels the need to comfort me every single time. Which is great, but it makes him feel the need to support me and not let himself feel anything.

The point of being in a relationship is to be able to support each other. So guys, if you’re looking for support, you need to be able to express those feelings.

As for my second reason, men need to be able to admit their emotions in case they have anxiety or depression, which can only be identified and treated if they own that they have something they need to deal with.

The American Psychological Association published in the article “Study finds sex differences in mental illness” that depression and anxiety diagnoses are more likely among women whereas substance abuse or anti-social disorders are diagnoses are more likely among men. The article also says women are more likely to suppress emotions and men are more likely to express them.

Isn’t this contradictory to my argument? Yes, it is, but the article explains that the emotions men show are mostly anger, stemmed from aggressive and impulsive behaviors. So once again, men get angry and they punch things.

Women, by internalizing emotions, will be more withdrawn and are prone to loneliness. No matter how long a women can suppress emotions, how will it come out when she can’t keep it down anymore? As tears. As sadness.

The point is men tend to show anger and women show sadness. But if a man is sad, he should be able to express it, if he has depression, he should be able to get help.

As a friend, family member or partner, it is important to recognize when a man in your life is hurting, and let him know it’s OK for him to express those emotions. Show them you love them by supporting them through the lows, not just the highs, of life.

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Masculinity and emotion