Updated: 19th October 2017

The week that Obama and Biden cried

(CNN)It’s been a rough week for America, but it’s been a good week for masculinity. No, not because we had to endure another display of Donald Trump’s bellicose machismo, but because we witnessed two of the most powerful men in the world allow themselves to shed tears in public.

Speaking of his love and appreciation for first lady Michelle Obama, President Obama was moved to tears. And, surprised by the president’s decision to award him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Vice President Joe Biden cried, too. Might it be that we are finally, blessedly, moving beyond a world in which “big boys don’t cry”?

    8

    I am grateful to live at a time when a man — the most powerful man in the world, no less — can model what it means to let life affect him to the point where tears come. Would you want to be married to a man who has never been moved to tears by his love and appreciation of another human being?
    But I am not kidding myself. We have a long way to go in transforming masculinity. There are still far too many men — and, if we take Ingraham’s comments as evidence, women too– who insist that real men don’t cry, that a man with a tissue is really just a “sissy.” (That kind of regressive masculinity, it seems, will now enter the Oval Office.)
    Make no mistake: That kind of thinking and talking has real consequences for men and boys. My father died suddenly when I was 12 years old, and I remember — it is etched into my mind and my body — being firmly instructed by a well-intentioned relative, “You can’t cry. You have to hold it together.”
    I recall being told by countless visitors that “I had to be strong for my mother.” And so I walked around for years pretending to be OK, tough, strong, even though I had just lost everything. That kind of repression takes a toll on a man’s emotional and physical health.

    Join us on Twitter and Facebook

    Can a man not be strong and cry — without shame? Perhaps we can model the courage it takes to cry when our heart hurts and the world seems to have fallen apart. Perhaps we can model the presence and openheartedness that make it possible to cry because the love another person has for us nourishes and sustains us.
    I hope my sons will one day find a love so deep that it moves them to tears, and I hope that they remain unaffected by those who would deprive them of the full range of human emotion. When all is said and done, those who mock men who cry do little but betray their own emotional impoverishment.

    Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/



    COMMENTS