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Why do women cry more?

(80 Posts)
Doodleloomoo Wed 25-Jun-14 12:56:06

Just a fairly lighthearted musing of mine this fine day...

I know men cry, but my perception is that it's nowhere near as often as women on average.

Is my perception actually true? I'm sure part of it is that it's less socially 'acceptable' for men to cry (I happen to disagree), but is the result that they don't do it or that they hide it? Is there a biological aspect to it if it's true?

I'm thinking more along the lines of having a blub over a petty row/minor knock in the car/moving film/bad day at work than major life traumas or bereavements.

I'm just curious, I'd appreciate your thoughts, or you can just tell me I'm talking nonsense.

VitoCorleone Wed 25-Jun-14 12:57:31


Doodleloomoo Wed 25-Jun-14 13:00:20

I didn't want to write that, because I hate it if someone dismisses feelings as only hormones. Even if its true sometimes grin Is that the extent of it then?

chockbic Wed 25-Jun-14 13:01:31

Have more to cry about ;)

Could be conditioning ie acceptable, less so for men.

Neverendingnappies Wed 25-Jun-14 13:01:39

social conditioning.

Little girls are taught to express their emotions and little boys are taught to lock them down.

The conditioning is subtle and deeply imbedded in our culture.

Iswallowedawatermelon Wed 25-Jun-14 13:03:00

I think it is because of gender stereotypes/rules/accepted behaviours.

treaclesoda Wed 25-Jun-14 13:04:18

My whole life I have been someone who has been easily reduced to tears eg if someone shouted at me. I have always hated it, but I genuinely couldn't control it, no amount of swallowing, biting the inside of my lip, digging my fingernails into my palms helped it. I felt weak, and I hated it.

For the past few years, I have been taking medication for anxiety and I can't remember the last time I cried. Even things that I find very very moving don't actually make me shed a tear. I still feel sad, as I would have done before, but I just don't physically cry.

It actually made me wonder recently if this is what men generally feel like all the time? ie its not that they don't have feelings just that their mind/body doesn't 'release' those feelings through the physical medium of tears.

NeoFaust Wed 25-Jun-14 13:04:39

Women are (or, one hopes, were) socially conditioned to be more emotionally sensitive in order to increase their vulnerability. The same as the sensitivity to mess and dirt.

In the natural state both genders react emotionally as their individual character dictates and nobody gives a toss about discarded socks.

ikeaismylocal Wed 25-Jun-14 13:06:22

I think that it is hormones, I know the likelyhood of me crying is very dependant on where in my menstral cycle I am.

It is also interesting and possibly connected to question why men are more likely to fight (not all men, but I have seen many more fights involving men than women).

ResponsibleAdult Wed 25-Jun-14 13:07:23

It's your perception and experience. I cry very very rarely, once, maybe twice a year. Maybe I'm not normal

tabulahrasa Wed 25-Jun-14 13:11:00

It's absolutely social conditioning...I'm one of those people that cries at everything, books, films, weddings and actual stressful life events.

I'm currently dealing with a fairly major issue, I've literally been turning up at my friends' and crying at them, they make me tea, give me tissues and generally comfort me. My DP is dealing with the same issue and is just as upset as me, as far as I know he hasn't cried at all...but with exception of a bereavement I cannot imagine him getting the same reception as me if he turned up to cry at a friend.

There's no way he's feeling it less than me, I know he isn't because he talks to me, but he doesn't feel comfortable expressing it in the same way at all.

That's not to do with hormones or biology - it's IMO totally to do with expectations if gender and I think he's having a harder time because of that.

Showy Wed 25-Jun-14 13:12:43

DH cries at films and the DC's antics and songs and if he's sad or happy or tired. His Dad is the same and so are his brothers. They're all emotionally open and grew up believing you should cry where necessary. BIL 2 came home from a year away last week and the scenes of snot and sobbing were excessive. Apart from me as I am cold hearted ice maiden apparently.

I am more and more convinced it's conditioning.

treaclesoda Wed 25-Jun-14 13:14:21

I've always thought it was social conditioning too, but my experience with the medication is making me wonder if that's true. I'm still as upset if I attend a funeral for example as I was without medication, yet I don't actually cry very much.

curiousuze Wed 25-Jun-14 13:14:58

I almost never cry (my mum never cried and looked down on those who did - even at funerals!). My DH on the other hand gets a tear in his eye quite often. I don't like crying, it feels shit and I don't feel better afterwards, so I try not to. Only cry about once a year, if that.

Mind you I was quite weepy in the two weeks after DS arrived, but I imagine that was rampant hormones.

BravePotato Wed 25-Jun-14 13:15:25

The men inmy life are allmuch more probe to crying.

Maybe we are weird, maybe because we/they are slavic? Does ethnicity/culture have a bearing?

English men (supposedly) don't cry, must be a cultural thing, surely

Doodleloomoo Wed 25-Jun-14 13:18:10

I'm not much of a cryer either responsible, not over trivia, and truely sad personal events (eg my mmc)usually get my tears immediately but then not again. I wouldn't like to judge how 'normal' I am! I totally see that physical tears and emotion do not always go together.

Doodleloomoo Wed 25-Jun-14 13:25:16

X postes loads. How interesting, thanks for the replies.

I've known my dad cry once, and my dh only 2-3 times, and it always seems to me to be a much bigger deal than if a woman cries... that's got the conditioning working on me, not just that it's a rarer event. Hmm, food for thought.

Doodleloomoo Wed 25-Jun-14 13:26:16 to be the conditioning working...

SuperConfused Wed 25-Jun-14 13:27:06

I think its hormones. My hormones have changed in recent years, came off pill, accepted my own body's crappy hormones and I now cry all. the. time. Having never ever cried before that. And its not linked to how upset I am about something, and it varies depending on the time of the month.

I'm interested by the idea there may be social conditioning, but I cried in work once where it is not acceptable and I was really trying not to but couldn't control it.

ResponsibleAdult Wed 25-Jun-14 13:28:36

I was given the old school, put up and shut up, don't start crying or I'll give you something to cry about type upbringing. In my case tears and emotions are not obviously connected. It's a range and I'm probably on the icier side of the spectrum. Each to their own, I wouldn't judge a crier, passing the tissues, unless they tried to snot on my shoulder mid tears wink

BertieBotts Wed 25-Jun-14 13:30:10

I think it's conditioning and we probably unconsciously enforce it. If a little girl falls over you're probably more likely to comfort her whereas if a little boy falls over you're probably more likely to say "Up you get!" Also the way we relate to children etc. Everyone says they don't act any differently but the research shows otherwise. I think a large part of it is totally unconscious and we don't realise that we're doing it.

I do think hormones play a part but I think conditioning is the main thing.

CarbeDiem Wed 25-Jun-14 13:31:45

I'm more likely to cry because of my hormones.
I also think that men cry less, not because they don't want to or feel it but because of social conditioning from childhood.

Brave interesting you mention that. My dh is slavic too and while I wouldn't say he cries more than guys of other nationalities, he does it openly without feeling embarrassed or feeling like he 'shouldn't'.
English guys that have cried in front of me have often apologised for doing so sad

SlatternLovesLots Wed 25-Jun-14 13:32:23

Interesting thread for me especially as this morning I cried in front of my boss for the first time (I have worked for him for 7 years). When he phoned me later to check I was ok I ended up blubbing again. Why oh why did I do that?

I now feel that I have let 'the side' down by providing further (perceived) evidence that women can't hack it in the rough and tough bloke world. I am so annoyed with myself and still crying but at least in the privacy of my own home.

ikeaismylocal Wed 25-Jun-14 13:34:20

The cultural difference is an interesting point, my dp is Swedish and he cries at everything, he even cries at tv programs like the biggest looser and moving music, when ds was born he cried so hard and couldn't stop I thought the baby must be dead as why would he be crying so much about a healthy baby?

Doodleloomoo Wed 25-Jun-14 13:39:12

Oh no slatern! sad

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