This “male feminist” is sick and tired of always trying to be “man enough”

What does the term “being man enough” mean?

For most men, being man enough includes a series of toxic masculine behaviors. It involves a stubborn sense of self-reliance and extreme emotional suppression.

Being a man means that you are not allowed to show any kind of weakness.

But what can happen when we redefine what it means to be a man? Will we end up living in a better world?

Hollywood actor Justin Baldoni wants men to challenge their perception of masculinity. He urges men to take on a different kind of challenge.

He wants men to use masculine traits to develop emotional intelligence.

Are you man enough to shut up and listen? Are you strong enough to be vulnerable? And are you brave enough to talk about your real feelings?

In this deeply-personal, brave, and refreshing TED talk, one man issues a challenge to change the way we define what being a man should be.

By all means, Justin Baldoni looks like your typical macho man. He’s tall, handsome, fit and everything that immediately makes you think ‘manly.’

But Justin is actually a proud feminist, and he has a very refreshing view about approaching feminism as a man.

Here are some important takeaways from his thought-provoking TED talk, “Why I’m Done Trying To Be Man Enough.”

1. Men live double lives.

Justin shares his own personal struggles with trying to live as a man the way that society tells him to be and being the kind of man his family deserves.

“I’ve been told the kind of man that I should grow up to be. As a boy, all I wanted was to be accepted and liked by the other boys, but that acceptance meant I had to acquire this almost disgusted view of the feminine, and since we were told that feminine is the opposite of masculine, I either had to reject embodying any of these qualities or face rejection myself. Now, I’m not here to give a history lesson. We likely all know how we got here, OK?

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“But I’m just a guy that woke up after 30 years and realized that I was living in a state of conflict, conflict with who I feel I am in my core and conflict with who the world tells me as a man I should be. But I don’t have a desire to fit into the current broken definition of masculinity, because I don’t just want to be a good man. I want to be a good human.

“And I believe the only way that can happen is if men learn to not only embrace the qualities that we were told are feminine in ourselves but to be willing to stand up, to champion and learn from the women who embody them.”

2. Men also need to “open up” about their feelings.

“I know a man who would rather die than tell another man that they’re hurting. But it’s not because we’re just all, like, strong silent types. It’s not. A lot of us men are really good at making friends, and talking, just not about anything real.”

Have you ever thought about why men are so afraid to talk about their feelings? Daphne Rose Kingma, author of The Men We Never Knew, perfectly sums it up as,

“We’ve dismissed men as the feelingless gender—we’ve given up on them. Because of the way boys are socialized, their ability to deal with emotions has been systematically undermined. Men are taught, point-by-point, not to feel, not to cry, and not to find words to express themselves.”

But what if men were free to talk about their emotions? Perhaps this can change the way they empathize with women’s issues and solve the huge gender gap that has been there forever.

3. A new challenge to men.

It’s time that we create a new challenge. It’s time to ask different questions and to talk about these questions.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with men. In fact, men are wonderful creatures. They are strong and resilient – only misguided.

The thing that needs to change is simply our definition of masculinity. And it needs to change fast.

So what do men need to do?

It’s simple.

Men need to show up. They need to listen. They need to start talking. And they need to change the way they look at masculinity.

Now that you’ve read about this male feminist, learn about Margaret Fuller, a revolutionary feminist from the 19th century.

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Written by Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon is a writer, poet, and blogger. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Her poetry blog, Letters To The Sea, currently has 18,000 followers. Her work has been published in different websites and poetry book anthologies. She divides her time between traveling, writing, and working on her debut poetry book.

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