Research from Tilburg University reports that women shed tears on average two to five times a month. This is less common for men: once every two months or less. If it were up to theater maker Harpert Michielsen, the guys would let the hikers come a lot.
“The crying cycle is actually a call to men that showing emotion is not a weakness,” Michelsen told EditieNL. He drew his inspiration from Noah Valentine’s photo gallery “Crying Boys,” which depicted 21 crying men.
According to the theater maker, crying is quite natural: “Since the Middle Ages there are stories of men who fight, but who also cry because of the suffering they are going through.” But Michaelsen himself has the idea that crying is no longer acceptable. “It’s a shame, because showing emotion is not a weakness, and crying helps when you’re sad. It’s a real expression of emotion, one that you can see from the other: I’m sad, affected and need support,” he says. “I also hear people say it’s comforting, and it’s possible too.”
Is crying good?
He will work in the course with different techniques of crying. “You start to think about something that really hurts you. You take those feelings with you and trigger them,” he explains. “But there’s also a more physical approach: Let your shoulders drop, your stomach droop, your eyes sink into their sockets, and if you take a deep breath, you’ll also feel an emotion.”
But is it really necessary for men to cry more? “You can’t say in general that crying is good for men or for people,” psychology professor Sander Cole of VU University Amsterdam told EditieNL. “It’s really different from person to person.” It is not clear what crying does to humans. “It can be a social signal that something is not right,” says Cole. “You can also feel good about it. But that’s not true for everyone.”
It is true that there are biological differences between men and women when it comes to their feelings. “For example, women in general are more sensitive to negative emotions and show them more often. So there are definitely biological factors at play,” says the professor. “This difference increases puberty, possibly under the influence of hormones.”
But there are also plenty of men who express their negative feelings the same way women do. “That’s why you can’t say men should cry more,” Cole believes. “Some people don’t even cry when someone important to them dies. It’s not because they don’t mind, but because there are huge differences in how people deal with something like this.”
Not a perfect picture
In his opinion, so there is no suitable model for everyone. “Men who come into this crying cycle may want to learn how to better manifest their negative emotions, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. But putting this as a picture perfect for all men makes no sense.”
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