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Characters Who Cry and An Author Who Loves Them

November 7, 2011

You know what phrase I hate? Like… hate-hate? ‘Real men don’t cry’. Actually, the ‘real men’ part is also a huge pet peeve of mine, but that whole phrase just pisses me right the hell off. Boys are trained from an early age that crying is for sissies, and girls are told that boys aren’t supposed to cry. We’re trained, from childhood, to force men to suppress their emotions, and I’m just not down with that. If I ever have a son, I’ll be damned before I tell him it isn’t all right to cry.

By extension, I don’t muzzle the men I write. If it’s an emotional moment for that character, he’s going to cry. He’s going to have the literary freedom to weep, and I’ll take all the heat I have to from readers who sneer down their noses at him. Judas and Hadi in The Keeper wept quite a bit, and that didn’t please many people. I know Kasper from Catalyst wept, as did Riley from Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley, but I think the situations in which they did were excusable to the general public. I know I had Aric from Rachmaninoff cry, but he was young, emotional. In most cases, the crying could be waved away, but nobody really liked Judas or Hadi crying. I’ve never understood it.

It’s another of those societal things I don’t condone. Men should feel that it’s all right to cry as much as a woman is. We tell women crying helps to relieve stress, it’s an emotional, reflexive reaction, and just like laughing, it can help to prolong one’s life. But men… oh, no, men need to buck up, swallow it back, and not let a tear fall, even if they’re at their mother’s funeral. Why? Why must we disparage men for expressing what women are allowed by default of their gender?

Well, I won’t be a part of that. 😉 Nope. My men will cry. My women will cry. Sometimes my women will be stoic, and sometimes my men will be stubborn pigs. They will be people, and I’m just not interested in apologizing for that.

Three cheers for characters who cry!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2011 1:11 pm

    I totally agree about the “real men” crap and the crying. A lot of my characters do a little weeping and some outright bawling when the situation is warranted. And to the people who say writing men as emotional and caring is not accurate, I say you obviously only know one type of man.

    Great post.

    K-lee

  2. November 7, 2011 2:05 pm

    K-lee — I just don’t like these broad stereotypes that readers try to push onto authors… all while screaming about the unfair stereotypes in the genre. Bzuh? XD No thanks. I’ll just write what I write, and if my men cry, well, then, they’re human. 🙂

  3. November 9, 2011 1:56 pm

    I write men who cry and men who don’t. One insists that tears mean he’s nothing but a big baby and he hates being punished by his owner, because the owner always beats him until he cries.

    Some let a manly tear leak out in moments of deep sorrow. Some rage and destroy and collapse sobbing.

    “There are all kinds of men who behave in all sorts of ways.” –Carroll Todd, Victor/Victoria.

    It’s my women who don’t cry and don’t fall in love.

  4. November 9, 2011 4:06 pm

    I love that quote. 😀 I think that’s the thing that really gets me with a lot of comments I see. ‘I want to read real men’. As if all men must act one way to be considered ‘real’. Men and women are so different, no one person is exactly the same, and authors should be celebrating the diversity, not trying to pigeonhole their characters into some pre-determined mold.

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