What seems to be the most common problem when men express their grievances about the pressures of masculinity is “suffering in secret.” Traditional gender roles benefit no one due to the lack of choice in identity. Often both men and women complain that they feel forced into these roles and have to ‘play a part’. Men, especially, don’t feel safe to show vulnerability with their family, friends, or peers. They often don’t have healthy spaces to express their emotions without judgement.
This has led to toxic masculinity. A social construct that promotes rigid and harmful expectations of what it means to be a man. In his TEDTalk, “Why I’m Done Trying to Be ‘Man Enough’,” Justin Baldoni sheds light on the detrimental impact of toxic masculinity on happiness, trauma, and mental health.
Society perpetuates the idea that men should be stoic and strong. Discouraging them from expressing vulnerability or seeking help when facing emotional distress. This suppression can have a severe impact on mental health. Which can lead to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and even suicide among men. By denying themselves the opportunity to process their emotions openly, men are robbed of the chance to find support, healing, and connection.
“It’s exhausting trying to be man enough for everyone all the time.”
Baldoni’s TED Talk encourages men to break the silence surrounding their emotions and challenges them to embrace vulnerability as an essential part of their humanity. He shares personal stories of his own struggles and the transformative power of opening up emotionally.
Justin Baldoni also urges men to redefine masculinity for themselves. Recognizing that true strength lies in embracing their emotions, nurturing their relationships, and supporting one another. He emphasises the importance of creating a culture that values empathy, compassion, and emotional intelligence as essential traits for both men and women. By broadening the definition of masculinity, society can foster a more inclusive and supportive environment. Which benefits the mental well-being and happiness of all individuals.
“Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”
Toxic masculinity exacts a heavy toll on the happiness of men. By dismantling this outdated gender role, men can cultivate happier, more fulfilling lives, and finally shed the burden of performing as a ‘man’.
Watch the Ted Talk here.
Feature Image: Elias, On Pixabay. Creative Commons