There was once a time when young boys were routinely told that repressing their emotions was the only way to make them men. Though many like to think of those days as long past, the sad truth is that many people still pass this harmful belief onto their children. Facebook user Lyra Balearica witnessed a parent teaching their child this "toxic masculinity" first-hand, and wrote about it in a post that has now gone viral.
Lyra, a nurse, was administering a shot when her young patient began crying nervously. His mother immediately began making fun of him, even threatening to take a video of him to show his friends:
The way our culture treats boys sickens me. I had an 11 year old boy( in my room to have blood drawn today. He was crying. Not bawling or throwing a fit, just a few nervous tears.) His guardian kept telling him to 'man up' and 'stop asking like a sissy'. Then she threatened to record him crying to show it to all his friends, which made him cry more. I told her we had a strict no recording/photo policy and she got made at me for 'ruining the joke'.
When the young boy's mother went to the bathroom, Balearica delivered an important message:
When this woman went to the bathroom I told the kid it was okay to express his emotions however he needed to and even grown men are scared of needles. That everyone is scared of something and he was brave for doing it even though he was scared.
She left readers with an important take-away:
Stop. Telling. Boys. They. Aren't. Really. Boys. For expressing emotion.
You know why women and femmes have to fear violent men? Because of this shit that represses boys and men. Crying doesn't make you weak. Fear doesn't make you weak. But berating a child for showing those things make you one weak ass adult.
More than 115,000 Facebook users have shared Balearica's post, with many showing their support for her message:
When the conversation appeared on Reddit, many users there also had something to say:
Trying to repress emotions is a losing battle...they're going to come out eventually, one way or another.
Knowing how to properly handle your emotions is far more valuable than trying to pretend they don't exist.
There's nothing weak about feeling.
Several men on the receiving end of practices like Lyra witnessed also spoke up:
All people experience emotions, and telling young boys they're not allowed to their feelings makes life unpleasant for both them and everyone who will ever try to be close to them. Toxic masculinity must end!