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Channing Tatum isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, as the actor revealed in a recent interview that pretty much anything can make him cry.
Speaking with Instagram's Eva Chen for Barnes & Noble, Tatum was promoting his new children’s book, The One and Only Sparkarella, when he was asked if there was a time growing that he felt like he didn’t fit in. He admitted that as a kid, being an easy crier made him feel different than his friends.
“I think I was a really emotional kid,” Tatum said while wearing a homemade tiara and a pink and purple boa. “I think I just had big, big emotions. And I would cry really easily… I didn’t see a lot of my buddies crying. I would cry if I did something good.”
Tatum said that when he was playing football growing up, one time he ran a kickoff back for a touchdown and while celebrating, he felt himself tearing up.
“I was just so happy that I got a touchdown and that I ran it back that I think I literally started crying,” Tatum admitted.
And Tatum revealed that even as an adult, he still regularly cries. He said that watching The Biggest Loser has brought him to tears and that anytime he watches a movie on a plane, he can expect the waterworks.
Tatum’s revelation that he is a lifelong crier might be shocking to some fans, as the man who brought Magic Mike to life has become a symbol of masculinity for an entire generation. And when most people think of manly behavior, sobbing on an airplane while watching Finding Neverland probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.
But that’s exactly what makes Tatum’s honesty so refreshing, as he is clearly not afraid to express his emotions and defy outdated standards of how men are supposed to act. Toxic masculinity has taught men to bottle up their emotions and not express how they are feeling in a healthy way.
As a result, men have been found to cry nearly three times less than women in any given year and are far less likely to share their emotions with others. Wizdom Powell, Ph.D., a nationally recognized expert on masculinity, says that from a young age, boys are taught to repress their feelings due to fear of being seen as weak by society.
“The social norms that instruct boys and men to be strong, stoic and silent have had generations to take root,” Powell tells Yahoo Life. “In other words, men are not hardwired to suppress emotions. Rather, they are exposed across the life course to social prescriptions and proscriptions that discourage and punish them for displaying emotional vulnerability.”
According to Powell, both men and women must “adopt a broader view of masculinity” in order to grant men “radical permission to cry.” Because currently, most men are unable to recognize the benefits that come with openly expressing their emotions.
“It is important that men understand that crying in response to grief, loss, disappointment or stress is far healthier than keeping those emotions close to their vests,” Powell said. “Doing so habitually can have detrimental effects on behavioral and physical health. Real men do cry and not in the dark.”
Tatum’s willingness to be vulnerable and cry on a regular basis shows that he has managed to escape toxic masculinity and is comfortable being himself. Hopefully, Tatum’s transparency will inspire other men to embrace the power of a good cry and society can finally move past the idea that there’s no shame in shedding a few tears.
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