Justin Baldoni of Jane The Virgin fame delivered a very powerful talk about “redefining masculinity.” Before you read on, you NEED to watch this speech. For a while now I’ve been an advocate for “being good humans” and Justin’s eloquent and relatable speech speaks on that to the power of 10.
I found Baldoni’s speech relatable because the treatment from men he speaks about — I’ve experienced. Walking out of my car into the store parking lot and immediately being harassed by men on a normal errand run. Casually talking to friends in the dance world and having men automatically assume I “owe” them a dance mid conversation (not to mention much other inappropriate behavior in the dance community). Even in the workplace. Multiple voices over opportunities were taken away from me because “they were looking for a male voice.” I’ve had many people I film and one of the first things they ask me is, “Where is your supervisor? Where is he?” Y’all why is acceptable behavior? And men, it’s not just you. Women are trained in cutthroat behavior as well.
You see it in the teen dramas… There she is “Head B*tch in Charge.” From early on we’re taught to manipulate, bully, and figuratively kill each other and for what? Respect? That’s not what I was taught with respect. We’ve made so many strides in women empowerment. Showing what a woman can do. But y’all we have so far to go. Especially this one sentence I strongly dislike – “YOU ARE A GIRL.” You heard me right. Not even, “you’re a woman.” You’re a girl. And why is that a reason I can’t do something? It was used against me when I wanted to dance. I can’t dance because I’m a woman, and I’ll automatically be marked slutty and hoe-ish? Being a woman should NOT inhibit us from doing something. If it’s a mistake, we should learn from it and grow from it, not restrict us from carving our path and taking our own journey.
There’s one line in Justin speech that shook me – “Parents, instead of teaching our children to be brave boys or pretty girls – why can’t we just teach them to be good humans?” Seriously, this. I feel like since it’s 2017, we shouldn’t need “How to be a good human 101,” but I guess we do. This isn’t a blanket statement saying ALL humans are bad… but I mean look at who’s being an influence. “Cheeto” is in the White House and let’s not forget he did say, “grab a woman by the p*ssy” (But let’s not even go into that political quadrant). Compassion. That is going to be my mantra for 2018. Because no matter how much hate someone can throw at us, all we can do is try to understand that deep down there’s a place of hurt where that hate is coming from and all we can do is love that person back.
“Be Kind to One Another” – Ellen Degeneres. Let’s redefine the conversation about gender conformity. Let’s insert ethos AND pathos. Let’s get back to the root of it – compassion, empathy, and kindness.
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