The Block: Why are we so surprised when we see men crying on TV?

“I think sometimes you need to man up a bit and take control.”

Four days ago, Whitney and Andy from The Block confirmed that they had broken up. According to Woman’s Day, Whitney dumped Andrew “for being a cry baby” after he experienced a number of emotional episodes during filming. Whitney told Woman’s Day, “that’s not a bad thing, but I think sometimes you need to man up a bit and take control.”

Jack Mussett writes here about the notion that men can’t be seen to show weakness:

I don’t usually read this stuff, nor care for reality TV in the slightest — but a particular article caught my eye. It was about the recent relationship breakup of two reality TV show personalities on “The Block”.

It didn’t pique my interest because they broke up, or when they broke up, or how they broke up – it was about WHY Whitney and Andy broke up.

The reason? Apparently The Man in the relationship was anything but.

Watch Whitney and Andy talk to Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek the real reason Andy broke down here. Post continues below. 

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Video via The Block

Clearly, being on national television can put a lot of pressure on an individual, as it has put on this couple. However the point I want to delve into is about the pressure and expectation put on males to be “men”.

Men are expected to be tough, to be resilient in the face of adversity and to carry the weight of the world without showing fear. Or to smile when they feel like crying, and swim when they feel like sinking, because men don’t just give up. They brush aside emotions and keep on going. Right?

Whitney’s comments perpetuate the stereotype that men can’t show weakness, least of all to the person they love. It seems selfish to think that someone must support you and the moment they show weakness you’re out the door.

She wanted him to “man up”. Imagine what it feels like to be told that. You’re not a man — you don’t even fulfil the basic expectation of being a man. Now we all know that magazines and websites sensationalise a large portion of their content, because for the most part it can be dull. So whether it was an accurate quote or not, it doesn’t matter — it continues to help dig a bigger and bigger hole in the lives of many men.

andrew and whitney the block
The Block contestants.

Men constantly suppress their feelings and emotions in fear of being perceived as “weak” – and then one day it’s just too much.

I wholeheartedly advocate that men need to listen more and support women, but women also need to support men. Now that Tony Abbott is gone, the dark ages are over. Women can put down the irons – and men can get in touch with their emotions.

It’s the 21st Century, enough of the stereotypes. Nobody is really to blame here, it’s a lack of societal progression, empathy, education and understanding.

You can follow Jack on Twitter here.

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