This has potentially bad ramifications! Frey found that, in addition to prolactin, emotional tears contain adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), a stress indicator. He hypothesized that crying might help rid the body of stress-related toxins, which would help explain why you feel better after a good sob sesh. It also gives women a leg up on men in terms of stress relief.
“Big boys don’t cry” is a pretty real thing
Crying isn’t merely a physiological response to an event; it’s coded into stereotypes held by society at large, argues Dr. Brizendine. “How we’re raised to adhere to cultural gender expectations plays a role, and between 9 and 15, a boy’s testosterone goes up around 250 times.
“Think of it as learning to play an instrument; you practice consistently and get better and better at that thing, and at control -- little boys are always told to ‘suck it up,’ and little girls don’t hear that. Boys are trained to control tears. They’re trained to control their emotions. And if you practice that your entire childhood, by the time you become a young adult, you’ve gotten very good at it. Like an instrument, we learn to play the emotions acceding to our gender role.”