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Courtesy of Stacie McChesney / TED

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‘Jane the Virgin’ Star Justin Baldoni Addresses Male Stereotypes in TED Talk

“Instead of teaching our children to be brave boys or pretty girls, can we maybe just teach them how to be good humans?”

Throughout much of the negative news involving the many sexual assault allegations, one man is trying to address the toxic masculinity that is often found in the Hollywood industry and how that contributes to the negative behavior often exhibited by men.

Justin Baldoni, who portrays the character of Rafael Solano on Jane the Virgin, recently spoke at the TEDWomen Conference held in New Orleans. On the popular CW show, Baldoni plays an incredibly masculine character who is only “occasionally shirtless” in Baldoni’s own words. However, Baldoni believes that the way Hollywood views him is not the way he views himself. At all.

Behind the facade of a seemingly confident man, Baldoni confessed that he struggles with body dysmorphia, a disorder where one consistently perceives flaws in his or her physical appearance. Indeed, he also participates in activities that might be considered less traditionally masculine.

On his Instagram account, boasting more than 1 million followers, many of his posts center around his two children and his wife, prompting some male users to refer to his content as “gay.” One such user commented just that and Baldoni responded with this: “I said, very politely, that I was just curious, because I’m on an exploration of masculinity, and I wanted to know why my love for my wife qualified as gay sh*t. And then I said, honestly I just wanted to learn.”

An astounding conversation later revealed the thoughts and motives behind this user, who apologized to Baldoni. He said that he “was wrestling and struggling with his ego” and that how, in the user’s childhood, “public displays of affection were looked down on.”

This interaction shows that by breaking down the toxic walls of male stereotypes, the negative behavior portrayed by men can be hindered. Therefore, the deplorable actions of men such as Kevin Spacey, Roy Moore — who may soon be the next U.S. Senator for Alabama — and many others can be prevented in the future.

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Written By

Sophie Sebastiani is a young person living in the Southern United States who loves creating beautiful things. Photography, design, and writing are just a few of her passions. Promoting activism and providing accurate information in her articles is extremely important to Sophie, who values strong and honest voices above much else. You can find her work on her website (https://goo.gl/T29QLq) and her Instagram (@sophiesebastiani).

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