Barack Obama spoke about toxic masculinity, and every man on the planet should hear this

There are countless reasons we miss former president Barack Obama. His values, his dignity, and yes—his unabashed and vocal feminism—to name just a few. And just when we thought we couldn’t miss him any more, the retired politician gave a speech on the dangers of toxic masculinity and what it means to be a “real” man (hint: it’s not about being tough or “manly”). Obama addressed the crowd at a My Brother’s Keeper conference in California on Tuesday, February 20th, specifically discussing how men—especially young men of color—shouldn’t fall into the trap of toxic masculinity.

“All of us have to recognize that being a man is first and foremost being a good human. That means being responsible, working hard, being kind, respectful, compassionate, he said. “The notion that somehow defining yourself as a man is dependent on, are you able to put somebody else down—able to dominate—that is an old view."

He continued, “If you’re confident about your strength, you don’t need to show me by putting somebody else down. Show me by lifting somebody else up.”

This, ladies and gentleman, is what leadership looks and sounds like. And in a time when sexual assault happens daily, and when male suicide rates are disproportionately high compared to women (which could be because men are much less likely to seek help), something needs to change. Let’s hope America’s males are listening, and that more men with power and status speak up on this issue.

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