It is okay for men to show emotions.
A few days ago, I challenged someone on Twitter for saying something I take real issue with. I read it and I couldn't ignore it. I don’t understand why in a world that is more liberal than ever before, people still have these ideals of how each gender should behave.
This conversation really got me thinking about the topic of masculinity. What does it actually mean? What are my own experiences of being challenged as a man?
Having thought about it, I've been challenged a fair amount of times on this topic within my life because of the way I am. I am the first to admit that I am not the stereotype of being "manly". I don’t have an interest in football or sports, and many of my friends are girls. Does this make me any less of a man? 100% not.
The ideals of men having to be tough (emotionally and physically) to be accepted as “manly” are old ideas that are extremely damaging. It’s causing men to miss vital appointments with their GP’s, leading onto depression, anxiety, and even suicide.
I have no problems admitting I cry sometimes. Sometimes I cry a lot. I am a man and I will not be told I cannot display my emotions because it is not "manly". Too many men have attempted or committed suicide because they feel they can't talk to anyone, believing that showing emotions is a weakness. In fact, Suicide is the number one killer of men in the UK today, because a lot of men feel they have no other way out. It makes makes me really sad that this is the world we live in. Men: It is okay to not be okay. It is okay to cry. It is okay to ask for help.
I can’t stress enough how important mental health is, especially in the world where images and videos of the “tough” men are so accessible to people on social media. It's easy to think “I’m not as big as that guy, therefore I’m not manly enough” or think that fitness models on instagram don't ever cry. They do, but you just don’t see it.
I’ve been pretty open in the past with my experiences of mental health and what works for me to keep on top of it. I’m not an expert, but have a read, you might find something meaningful for you. Most importantly, men, please don’t feel like you aren’t a man for crying or not a man for visiting a doctor about your mental heath. Please speak out.