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Why We Cry

I recently read an article about crying that brought to light an old point I’d cooked up. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to reframe feminine traits that the patriarchy has vilified. The subtle inculcations of at a male-based society can seem quite benign at first, then dastardly pernicious. 

For instance, have you ever wondered why we are shamed for crying? I always thought that it was because it was a sign of immaturity or weakness, and under no circumstances should we inconvenience others with our emotions. It recently occurred to me that I actually cry all the time, and no one seems to think anything of it.

None of my friends have ever called me a cry-baby or even overdramatic, and in the times friends have cried to me it’s never felt inappropriate or strange. So, who are we shaming here? Certainly, you expect children to cry. I think it’s really just meant for little boys becoming adults, but how are we not thinking of the spillover effects to little girls?

I know, a lot of people have accepted that crying is okay for little girls, but only because pointing to women’s tears as a sign of weakness furthers the argument that boys shouldn’t. The latent thought being that crying is a passive act of weakness, and belies our uncontrollable base temperaments. That is so strange to me.

Because the way I see it, crying is an evolutionary asset. As we began our ascent (descent? Natural departure!) from apes, the body evolved a mechanism in which to stop the mind from proceeding down a path that the person would eventually regret. When fighting and tensions rose, our bodies blurred vision, stopped speech, doubled over, and made it hard to breathe.

This mechanism stopped a person from acting out in a time of great stress, showing the body’s ability to respond foremost and on behalf of the mind and of the soul. This still happens today, ubiquitously. But instead of being seen as an intelligent and forethinking ability of the body, we have created in this action weakness

We cry because it physically paralyzes us. Crying, in essence, reduces the human to inert matter until a better mental state is achieved, thus, protecting the community from rash actions caused by great stress. It is a highly evolved social mechanism by our bodies on behalf of our rational and emotional minds.

I am thankful for this evolutionary trait and the calmer soul it breathes into me each time the power is activated. I hope you will join me in this conclusion. But if you don’t, don’t worry – I’m not gonna cry about it or anything.


Photo Credits: cry by Craig Sefton


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Interested in many things, but nothing captivates more than technology, entrepreneurship, futurism, and humanity's quest to problem-solve.

  • Dylan J

    I like this analysis, actually. I’m an intellectual by nature, and I have noticed over the years that crying does help achieve a more rational state. Sometimes the stress will build over weeks, and I’ll ignore for the sake of productivity. But once I have a few hours alone, I can feel the stress peaking in my body. And I cry. Once it’s over, it feels almost like a hard reset. I can get back to behaving more calmly and rationally for an extended period of time.

    And when I’m talking about something and I feel the tears coming (throat tightening, blurred vision and you just know if you say another word then the flood gates will open), I have to stop and ask myself if what I’m about to say is really what needs to be said. Think rationally about the subject, find the best phrasing, and by then the tears aren’t quite as close to the surface. That’s touched on in the article some (needing a breather for a moment) but it’s still very interesting.

    My response wasn’t nearly as logical as yours, but my point is you have a great analysis.