The poem “Peso Ancestral” by Alfonsina Storni introduces us to the stereotype that men don’t cry. The opening lines of the poem give the readers an understanding that this has always been something looked down on for many generations. The tone of the poem is sad and hurtful; a man must control his emotions. Someone who cries is seen as someone who is weak and cannot control their emotions. Men are deprived from any emotional feelings, and a person can only take so much because we’re human and are meant to show emotion, which is a characteristic that distinguishes us as human beings.
I agree with this poem, it has been a stereotype carried through many generations especially in a Hispanic home. I’ve seen first hand mothers telling their boys “don’t cry, crying is for girls.” A man should be able to show his emotions when needed and not be made to feel less than others. Carrying so much pain is bad for a person; it makes a person hateful, emotionless, and uncaring. The only person you end up destroying is yourself and sometimes the people that care for you. They see how much a person tries to be tough on the outside and they hurt for you. Over the generations the saying “men don’t cry”, has died down, but it is still common in Hispanic homes in where mothers and especially strict fathers raise their kid to be strong and hold back their emotions because it makes them “look like a girl”. A man should have the right to show how they feel without society having to look down on them.
Juan has a hard time explaining how he feels when he gets sad. Inside he feels like he has a million bricks on him, pushing him down and not letting him express himself. He knows how he feels, but he can’t let it out. He then thinks about when he was a kid how his dad would push him around for acting like a girl when he cried; trying to toughen him up. He remembers how his older brother would mock him when he cried. Juan was only six years old. Because of this he feels like he is suffocating when he tries to express himself. He knows the feelings. But he doesn’t know the words. He has a family now: a wife and kids. They know that he loves them. After everything Juan sacrifices for them. Having a second job so they can have everything they need. An education. A home. Stable lives. How could he not love them?
One day Juan got a visit from his nephew, Carlos. Carlos told Juan that his dad, Juan’s cousin Alan, whom he grew up with as a kid, had passed away. Like Juan, Alan too was raised in a family in which men don’t cry. Carlos cried as he told Juan, getting closer to his uncle saying, “I loved him so much. He loved us so much. He just never told us! And now he’s gone!” Juan didn’t know what to do, but to awkwardly hug him. As he held his nephew by his side, he thought life was shorter than he thought and that one day he could be gone from this world and his kids never being told by their father that he loved them.
Crying doesn’t have to do with someone’s character. It doesn’t have to do with someone’s masculinity. It’s a natural response to the way we, as human beings, strongly feel about something. Crying is not always tied to negative feeling but can be tied to positive feelings. When suppressing feelings that our bodies are naturally meant to do, in a way we dehumanize ourselves from living life the way it can be lived.