I just finished reading a blog post about weakness. And in that post, weakness was personified as feminine. I could not get past the fact that terms used to describe weakness—not the least being “he cried like a little girl” are offensive and merely lend credence to the fact that we are not as far in this journey of equality as I thought. The post was probably a good one, but I could not get beyond the way that feminine traits are looked upon as weak.
I admire a man who cries—he is not weak—in fact he is usually so strong in his convictions, in his compassion, in his beliefs—that this outlet is far from being weak. And when a woman cries—it is because that is how she becomes brave—that is how she gets over things—that is how she temporarily expresses her anger, frustration, and sometimes, compassion for others.
Whenever I see tears well up in my husband’s eyes, I know that he has been touched deeply by things—and to be touched deeply is not for cowards. It is a deep disservice to men (I am the mother of two boys) to have their feelings taken away from them. To disrespect someone, to mock someone, to make fun of someone for being “soft” is outrageous.
I do not mean soft in not having strength of conviction, in being spineless, or lax and pathetic. I mean soft as being flexible, sympathetic, gentle, sensitive, and soft-hearted.
Men and women need to give men permission to feel and to express their feelings in ways that do not entail punching a hole in a wall, spouting angry words, or making fun of perceived weaknesses.
As a woman, I cry. And I always feel I have to apologize for crying. Yet it is a real expression of real emotions, real feelings. And I should not have to apologize. Nor should you have to apologize to me for crying.
Equality has a myriad of faces. That there is even the question whether or not men and women are equal angers me. Men should not feel the burdens they do; women should not apologize for their independence. It is so basic and so ingrained in me that I cannot see the other side of this issue. As far as I am concerned there is no valid argument for inequality. And once everyone agrees that men and women are irrevocably, conclusively, forever equal — men will not be made fun of for expressing their emotions; and woman will not be looked upon as weak.