“Jane the Virgin” star Justin Baldoni is challenging men to be sensitive.
In a powerful TED Talk, published Monday, the actor discusses toxic masculinity and the pressure that comes with feeling the need to be “man enough.” Baldoni first delivered the 18-minute talk in early November during TEDWomen 2017 in New Orleans.
During the talk, Baldoni detailed how as a young boy he felt he needed to reject qualities deemed feminine in order to be accepted by other boys.
“I either had to reject embodying any of these qualities or face rejection myself,” Baldoni said. “This is the script that we’ve been given. Right? Girls are weak, and boys are strong. This is what’s being subconsciously communicated to hundreds of millions of young boys and girls all over the world, just like it was with me. Well, I came here today to say, as a man, that this is wrong, this is toxic, and it has to end.”
The actor then said he didn’t want to fit into “the current broken definition of masculinity.”
“For many of us, myself included, our identities are wrapped up in whether or not at the end of the day we feel like we’re man enough,” Baldoni said. “But I’ve got a challenge for all the guys, because men love challenges.”
“Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life? To hear their ideas and their solutions? To hold their anguish and actually believe them, even if what they’re saying is against you?””
Baldoni’s challenge made reference to the numerous sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations brought to light against powerful men, including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, in recent months. In his talk, Baldoni also mentioned the #MeToo movement that these allegations sparked.
“I challenge you to see if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper into yourself,” Baldoni said, addressing men in the audience and elsewhere. “Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Can we redefine what those mean and use them to explore our hearts? Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? To reach out to another man when you need help? To dive headfirst into your shame? Are you strong enough to be sensitive, to cry whether you are hurting or you’re happy, even if it makes you look weak? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life? To hear their ideas and their solutions? To hold their anguish and actually believe them, even if what they’re saying is against you?”
He continued: “And will you be man enough to stand up to other men when you hear ‘locker room talk,’ when you hear stories of sexual harassment? When you hear your boys talking about grabbing ass or getting her drunk, will you actually stand up and do something so that one day we don’t have to live in a world where a woman has to risk everything and come forward to say the words ‘me too’?”
The actor said that when it comes to gender inequality, it’s time for men to look past their privileges and realize they are the problem. “The glass ceiling exists because we put it there, and if we want to be a part of the solution, then words are no longer enough,” he said.
The preview of the TED Talk shared Monday on Facebook has gone viral, with more than 3.4 million views and 56 million shares. Watch the snippet above and the full TED Talk below.