Toxic masculinity is a term that's been in the press lately- and for a good reason. Celebrities like John Legend, Jay-Z, and Terry Crews have spoken about toxic masculinity, and how we, as a society, need to change our definition of what a man should be like.
Being a man does not mean suppressing your urge to cry when you're truly sad. Being a man does not mean keeping your emotions hidden and bottled, and only expressing them through physical violence. Being a man does not mean lording your status as the "head of household" and expecting others to fall within a "hierarchy". Being a man does not mean that you are to be incapable of having feelings of vulnerability and empathy.
There is always a time and place for things, of course. In some situations it is simply not appropriate for a person, man or woman, to fully express their emotions. However, in the moments that count, it is all too crucial to be in touch with your empathetic side.
To be a man means to have love and respect for yourself, and the people around you. To be a man is standing up for the causes you believe in that will benefit not only you but your loved ones. To be a man is to understand that everyone has the possibility of being vulnerable, and the possibility that they could have that moment of vulnerability violated. To be a man is to know one's self worth when it comes to personal relationships: know that it is okay to cry when your significant other expresses their love for the first time, and know when you are involved in a potentially abusive relationship (and understand that it makes you no less of a man to reach out for support).
One of the fondest moments in my life is when my wonderful boyfriend of over two years became emotional when I confessed that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. One of the saddest moments in my life was when my father, a staunch believer in the "principles of being a man" said that he was not the type to hug on the day I left for college.
Showing emotion is not always a weakness, and to believe that is to deprive yourself of life's greatest joys. To all the men and boys who are reading this, take control of your own feelings and try to take a moment, once in a while, to reflect on how you handle being stressed, angry, happy, or lonely.