By Daniel Scharpenburg
I think our culture teaches us that men aren’t supposed to be sensitive.
This is the sexism we never talk about. We are all well aware of the trip that gets put on women by society. Women are taught they can never be beautiful enough (and that’s sad because every woman is beautiful).
But we don’t talk about the trip that gets put on men very much.
Men are expected to hide their feelings. We aren’t supposed to cry when we’re sad. We’re not supposed to be needy when we want attention. We’re supposed to be tough and mostly emotionless.
I am sensitive. I feel too deeply sometimes. I care too much.
I am needy.
I like to be touched and be close. I like hugs and cuddling. I am loving and kind. I am overflowing with boundless compassion. Most of the time I just want someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be okay.
Men are told in our culture that we aren’t allowed to be sensitive. That we should hide our feelings or at least never talk about them. I think that does us a disservice. So many men don’t know how to talk about their feelings.
I cried when my parents died and I’m not ashamed of that, but I know some men who would be. I cried when I was bullied as a short little kid too.
I wonder sometimes what happened to bring this to our culture. Women are allowed—no expected—to be really emotional and in touch with their feelings. Men are expected to shut their feelings off; to be stoic at all times.
Now, as a Buddhist I have do have to mention one thing: the world is full of suffering and of course it’s not good to let our negative feelings carry us away. But, managing our negative feelings is completely different from pretending they don’t exist.
I’m in touch with my feelings.
I’m needy and emotional.
Sometimes I value intuition over logic. I am attentive and caring. I like to hold hands and I love feeling loved. Also, I am a really dedicated parent.
These things aren’t considered masculine qualities and I don’t know why.
But maybe we can change that.
*Editor’s note: Are you a sensitive man? What is your perspective on sensitive men in our society? Send in a piece to go with this series to: editor@thetattooedbuddha.*
Editor: Dana Gornall