I discovered Justin Baldoni when I started watching Jane The Virgin which was a long time ago. Rafael Solano has been his most prominent and well-known role to this day. And watching him play the role of a rich hotelier playboy transformed into a doting father, it was natural I’d get curious.
I wanted to see how a man could be so genuine in the character he played. And upon investigating a little, I found out Justin Baldoni didn’t only play the character, he owned it. He learned all he could from it that would make him a better man in real life. And he didn’t stop there. He applied it to his life, to his relationship with his family and to the man he wanted to be.
Justin Baldoni’s TED Talk
About two years ago, Justin Baldoni gave a brilliant speech at the TEDWomen conference called “Why I’m Done Trying to be ‘Man Enough.’” He spoke about putting a stop to toxic masculinity and redefined what being a man means.
You see Justin Baldoni and think impeccable pecs, muscles, strong, macho man. But that’s not how Justin sees himself. And it certainly is not how his dad taught him to be. He kinda blames his dad for that. He was never taught that masculinity is in thinking you’re physically stronger than the opposite gender is. Masculinity is something that lets you be kind to others, supportive and understanding. And especially to yourselves.
“I’ve been pretending to be a man that I’m not my entire life. I’ve been pretending to be strong when I felt weak, confident when I felt insecure and tough when really I was hurting,” he said. “And I can tell you right now that it is exhausting trying to be man enough for everyone all the time.”
Toxic Masculinity And Its Side Effects
For Justin, it was implied that him being a man meant that he couldn’t open up to other men about issues he may have been facing. Like body dysmorphia. And being a man also meant cutting off his wife when she was speaking. But Justin was tired of being this kind of man. He decided to conduct an experiment through social media and be vulnerable in public to see what kind of reaction it would generate.
Watch his entire speech here to see how he inspired other people to feel safe through his own public vulnerability.
“It’s time we start to see past our privilege and recognize that we are not just part of the problem. Fellas, we 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.”