Big Girls Don’t Cry (And Neither Do Boys)

Fergie’s popular song “Big Girls Don’t Cry” made the charts years ago, but the theme of it is everlasting. It has been a common theme in history that boys and girls cannot have any similarities– girls are pink and boys are blue. Erica Hateley’s essay touches on this subject, tying it in with children’s literature. She claims that the books that children read when they are young enforce the gender roles upon them. For example, she quotes that books “presented boys in fiction as movers, doers, explorers, adventurers, creatures of action, guile, mischief, intellect and leadership,” but girls are described as “docile, passive, emotional, and unimaginative.” People have been creating this divide amongst the genders since the dawn of time, and it should end now.

Boys have always been taught that they should not cry or show any emotion, or else they wouldn’t be considered manly enough. Boys carry this stigma around with them and are scared of whatever consequences there may be if they were to cry, so they don’t. Then they teach the same thing to their sons, and it gets passed on through generation after generation. Eventually, it starts to get spread to the girls too, since it is so engraved in every male brain. In Meet Kirsten, Kirsten’s good friend dies from disease and, like any girl would, she cries. Her mother hugs her in consolation, but her father just pats her shoulder and tells her to stop crying and that it was enough. As a man, he couldn’t show emotion, and didn’t think anyone else should be able to. Just as boys are told to not cry, it is not rare for older girls to be told the same thing. Like Kirsten, older girls are told that it is not okay to cry, because they are “too old” for it.  

Will we ever live in a world where people can have emotions without being judged for it? Let people live how they want.

4 thoughts on “Big Girls Don’t Cry (And Neither Do Boys)”

  1. I remember being so shocked the first time I saw my dad cry. I’d seen my mom cry hundreds of times…but my dad never even got close until my grandma’s funeral. I felt so sad for him and my brother because I realized they must feel the same pain as we do from day-to-day, they just can’t let it out.

  2. I find this blog post very intriguing because I have personally seen a young boy be judged for showing emotions. I work at a preschool and after school program and while most kids pay little attention to kids showing emotions, there are certain children who tend to make fun of a little boy who is slightly more emotional. Whenever he cries, the kids will call him a girl or a baby and they will tell him that he needs to stop being weak. Although this seems extremely harsh, it is also the harsh reality that songs such as “Big Girls Don’t Cry” are portraying. It is likely that the children who are making fun of the boy have either been exposed to ideology from the media or their parents, but it needs to stop. Just because someone shows more or less emotions, does not make boys any more girly or girls too emotional.

  3. I really like your connection between popular culture even years ago and how its meaning remains pertinent today too. Also, I find it strange from our Kirsten readings that even as a girl she was told not to cry and as a man how opposed to the expression of emotion he is. Your comment on older girls also made me think of the connections to the keyword of “girlhood” and whether the end of girlhood signals an inappropriateness to cry.

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