‘Jane The Virgin’ Star Justin Baldoni On Manhood, His Daughter, & Female Empowerment

justin-baldoni

We love men who stand up for equal rights and understand that female empowerment does not mean their own power is going to somehow diminish. We’ve shared a handful of articles on our site about men in the public eye who are embodying the He For She mantra: comedian Terry Crews, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, actor Matt McGorry, and pro footballer DeAndre Levy.

What is most interesting to us is the acknowledgement of how toxic masculinity plays a major role in perpetuating gender inequality, not to mention rape culture, abuse, and homophobia. Thankfully we are seeing real momentum from a generation of men who are recognizing that having women on equal footing as them in all aspects of life, despite our many differences, is not a threat.

After the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, where 49 patrons were shot dead by a homophobic killer in a gay nightclub, the usual round of discussions about gun control surfaced. But because this is now the deadliest mass shooting in recent history in the US, and the fact that it was enacted against the gay community, the topic of toxic masculinity became a center focus as well.

Amanda Marcotte from Salon.com wrote a searing article, stating that our national attachment to dominance models of manhood is a major reason why we have so much violence.

“Toxic masculinity is a specific model of manhood, geared towards dominance and control. It’s a manhood that views women and LGBT people as inferior, sees sex as an act not of affection but domination, and which valorizes violence as the way to prove one’s self to the world…Toxic masculinity aspires to toughness but is, in fact, an ideology of living in fear: The fear of ever seeming soft, tender, weak, or somehow less than manly. This insecurity is perhaps the most stalwart defining feature of toxic masculinity,” she writes.

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So when we see examples of men standing against this and not being afraid to take a stand for equality, we take notice. it’s important these kinds of messages are infiltrating the zeitgeist as much as the “if it bleeds it leads”-type shocking news stories. When celebrities speak, masses of people listen. That is their currency to do with as they wish.

Actor Justin Baldoni, best known for his role on the CW’s Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning show ‘Jane The Virgin’ recently wrote a powerful op ed on Zap2it.com about the reason for his desire to see more female empowerment in the world, and why is wants to encourage his fellow men to take a stand for this.

He starts off by talking about how the birth of his daughter marked a shift in his perspective on gender.

“Everything that I thought mattered in life suddenly became irrelevant and my whole world shifted. If I was at all interested in the advancement and empowerment of women before my little Maiya came into this world, I was going to turn it up to hyper-speed now,” he said.

His spirituality, in the Bahai faith, also played a part in allowing him to see why equality is important. He explains how the faith teaches that humanity is like a bird with two wings, one is male, the other female. If one wing is weak, flight becomes impossible. It is a simple yet powerful analogy of empowering in the world today.

Like many dads who have daughters and see the penny finally drop, Justin how has the responsibility of ensuring that his daughter gets to grow up in a world where nothing holds her back, least of all her gender.

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“There is nothing I want more than for my daughter to grow up in a world where anything is possible. I want her to have a support system and be able to know that she can succeed, no matter what society tells her, and that her beauty is far deeper than anything a mirror could reflect. As her father, a lot of this will become my responsibility … but I can’t do it alone. I need the help of my brothers to show my daughter through their actions that she can achieve whatever she puts her mind to,” he said, issuing a call-to-action.

Next he discusses the role of masculinity in the world and how is has been a cause of a lot of hurt and pain.

“This might be controversial, but there is no way that our planet would have a fraction of the death and destruction it faces on a daily basis if more women were in positions of power around the world. But yet some men worry that they will lose their power if they empower women, which makes absolutely no sense to me,” he said.

And as we are currently seeing the US presidential election, as well as many other political elections on a number of legislative levels around the world, we are really seeing more and more women come to power which we believe is going to have a dramatic effect on the future of this planet.

Unlike traditional and narrow definitions of what manhood is about, such as being the financial provider, the protector, or making executive family decisions, Justin says manhood today should be defined differently.

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“I believe that the weight of the world that men need to shoulder today is the advancement and relentless empowerment of women. I believe that now more than ever it’s the man’s job to champion and be a voice for their female counterpart, just as I believe it’s the responsibility of a white person to stand up and fight for his or her brothers and sisters weighed down by the chains of racial prejudice and inequality,” he said.

He has recently become involved in a non-profit female empowerment organization called I Am That Girl, which is a grass-roots, community-based initiative that encourages girls to own who they are and support one another. He and his wife had the chance to speak to a group of teen girls at one of their many nation-wide events and they were inspired by what they saw. He says the impact IATG are having on the young women today, gives him “hope for our planet”.

He ends his passionate article by laying the challenge for other men to shed the cage of outdated masculinity, and be part of a world where everyone benefits, no matter what your gender is.

“So, what does it mean to be a man?  It means to lift up our women and instead of talking about making things better, actually doing something. It means being honest and open and vulnerable. It means being present fathers and husbands and making sure that we celebrate the women in our lives instead of inadvertently holding them back because we refuse to change our definition of what a woman should be. It means loving in a way that may seem foreign to us, and if we happen to be in positions of power, leading by example and going out of our way to educate and provide opportunities for our sisters wherever we can.”

Just like his op-ed, change begins with a simple conversation, the courage to put pen to paper and express our desire to do something that makes this world better for everyone. To read Justin’s full post, click here. Watch Justin talk more about his family in the video below:


 

2 Comments

  1. Sweet article
    Thank you

  2. Pingback: If Justin Baldoni's New Talk Show Is As impactful As His Voice On Social Media, Count Us In! - GirlTalkHQ

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