Justice

Crying Jordan Meme Brings up a Good Point About Men

It may sound silly, but memes have the power to bring people together. Memes are like a shortcut into having a private joke with a friend. Due to the ever-changing nature of Internet culture, memes tend to come and go.

There is, however, one meme The New York Times calls "the meme that just won't die." It's Crying (Michael) Jordan. But should we really be sharing it?

The entire meme relies on the idea that it's funny to see a grown man cry.

In 2009, Michael Jordan broke into tears as he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. However, it wasn't until six years later that the meme was born, and went viral.

crying Michael Jordan meme

There are conflicting reports as to how Jordan feels about the meme.

Estee Portnoy, Jordan's spokesperson, told the New York Times that, "Michael actually thinks it’s funny."

Portnoy also told the Chicago Tribune, "I don't recall when we first started noticing it — everything explodes so quickly on the Internet, and suddenly it was everywhere. Everyone seems to be having fun with the meme, and it just keeps going. We haven’t seen anyone using it to promote their commercial interests, which is something that we’re monitoring."

Friend and former teammates Charles Oakley told TMZ that even though Jordan understands why people like the meme, he himself is not a fan of it. "Nah, he don’t like it," Oakley said.

Jordan isn't the first man to be be turned in a moment for a public display of emotion. Former Speaker of the House John Boehner was also given the meme treatment when he was reduced to tears during an address by Pope Francis.

However, the meme contributes to the stigmatization of men displaying emotion.

Andrew Reiner wrote for the New York Times in April that, in addition to men being socialized into downplaying their emotions, there's also a critical lack of resources for even those men who would want to seek help.

Some universities offer counseling services for men of color and gay men, and some sponsor clubs through which male members explore the crisis of sexual violence against women. Only a precious few — the University of Massachusetts and Simon Fraser University among them — offer ways for all men to explore their shared struggles. And these don’t exist without pushback. Talk of empowering men emotionally yields eye rolling at best, furious protest at worst — as when the Simon Fraser center was proposed, in 2012, and men and women alike challenged the need for a “safe space”for members of the dominant culture. — Andrew Reiner, The New York Times

Noah Brand wrote for the Good Men Project about the toll that this pressure to supress emotion takes on men:

The damage inflicted by this societal idea is incalculable. Add up all the suicides, the stress-induced heart attacks, the alcohol-induced liver damage, and the deaths in fights between guys who weren’t allowed to not be angry, and all you’ve done is scratch the direct mortality rate. The subtler forms of damage, the loneliness, the uncommunicative relationships, the desperation, the repressed pain and regret and fear that no one must know about… there’s no way to measure all that.

Does this mean you can't enjoy the Crying Jordan meme? Of course not. But, as ATTN: previously reported, it's time to take a look at society's double standard over men crying and end it.