“So I try to laugh about it, cover it all up with lies. I try to laugh about it, hiding the tears in my eyes. Cause boys don’t cry, boys don’t cry.” This classic song by ‘The Cure’ portrays an attitude that is increasingly being recognized as causing great harm to boys as they grow up, pressuring them into feeling guilty or ‘weak’ for expressing their emotions in a natural and healthy way.

This Facebook post by Lyra Balearica shows that it isn’t just men that sustain this damaging cycle, it is far ingrained into the western culture and many women are just as responsible. Lyra shared a story about a  woman who chose to berate a boy for nervous tears before getting blood drawn by telling him to ‘man up.’ “I’m a phlebotomist, almost all I do all day is draw blood,” she told Bored Panda. “I don’t know if the woman was his mother, aunt, sister, etc for sure as I don’t like to assume stuff like that without knowing for sure. But during the blood draw the kid did a really good job of holding it together. I hope my words helped him. He seemed to light up a bit after but was still visibly nervous even after it was all done.”

Because attitudes do not change overnight, it is only by having this conversation that we can begin the process of ‘normalizing’ the freedom for boys to express themselves as they wish. Various types of research have shown the damage that emotional suppression can have in later life, so learning how to respond to and regulate emotions accordingly is a vital thing for children to learn. Lyra thinks toxic masculinity has a lot to answer for. “I definitely see feminism as a force that wants to allow men to be who they are and to form emotional bonds without stigmas,” she told us. “And yes, I think this has really negative consequences for all genders. It’s absolutely important to understand that boys and men are victims of sexual assault. And it’s crucial to understand that most perpetrators of assault, including abusers of men, are men themselves. It all leads to a pretty bad place.”

Scroll down below to see the post for yourself, and let us know what you think in the comments. (Cover image: iStock / fatihhoca)

Lyra Balearica recently witnessed a gender stereotype of “boys don’t cry” still being used today and decided to speak up

Image credits: Lyra Balearica

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