5 positive male role models you need to follow on Instagram on International Men's Day
Today is International Men's Day; a day where our society acknowledges the problems faced by men and boys, and offers thanks and support to all the men in our lives who have made life better for us. Toxic notions of masculinity have taught many men that showing emotion, asking for help, or displaying vulnerability, is improper, and many men in the modern age feel threatened and emasculated. All this angst and strife has caused profound problems for the male gender, and according to the charity Calm, suicide is the biggest killer for men under the age of 45.
So what does it mean to be a man in the 21st century? Is it possible to still be a man and maintain one's mental health? How can men and women interact with one another better, and learn to share and give rather than trample on one another and point fingers? These are questions without easy answers. But men could benefit from more positive role models. To that end, we've hand-picked five all-important celebrities who we feel embody the strong, nurturing values of masculinity. Here's why you should be following them on Instagram.
1. Terry Crews
Terry Crew isn't just a male role model because he's so hilarious on Brooklyn 99, or even because he's a super-stacked bodybuilder, but because he's an honest, candid, sensitive guy who's still tough as nails. When the Time's Up movement exposed the epidemic of sexual harassment cases in Hollywood, Crews was open about how he too had been sexually assaulted by predators, showing that men can be victims too.
2. Will Smith
In addition to being one of Hollywood most successful leading men, and an aspirational role model for many African Americans, lately Will Smith's candid confessions about his marriage and family are what have earned him a place on this list. Will regularly appears on his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith's podcast, along with his children, and is open about the mistakes he's made and the bad times his family has gone through. Will proves that men don't have to be perfect dads or husbands all the time, but as long as they're willing to communicate, share, learn and grow, then it's okay.
3. John Cena
Wrestler John Cena is well-known for being generous, kindly, polite, and accommodating to his fans. He's a philanthropist who has the honour of granting more than 500 wishes for the Make-A-Wish-Foundation; the most ever amassed by one individual in the organisation's history. When he broke up with fiancé Nikki Bella, he was courteous and respectful: though not ashamed to admit he was hurting from the breakup. To top it all off, he's also a self-confessed nerd who loved video games and anime; showing that you can enjoy geek culture and macho sports. Check out his weird Instagram as well - it's totally bizarre.
4. Robert Downey Jr.
Actor Robert Downey Jr is the ultimate comeback story. Once upon a time, the Iron Man actor was infamous for his drug addiction and run-ins with the law. By 2001, after being fired from Ally McBeal, Hollywood seemed content to write him off. But after one last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Downey finally achieved lasting sobriety and his career took off again. Now you'd struggle to believe that he had ever been mired in the despair of alcohol and drug dependence, and his Instagram account proves what a friendly, together guy he is. RDJ proves that men can learn to bounce back after digging themselves into a hole.
5. Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris boasts countless fans thanks to his great singing voice, comic timing, and natural charisma. But the man himself is nothing like the swaggering, Lothario character of Barney Stinson. Behind the camera, Harris is a family man and an inspiration for dads everywhere. He regularly updates pictures of his family outings with husband David Burtka and their children Gideon Scott and Harper Grace. He's not just an icon for LBGT+ fathers; he's an icon for fathers period, which is how he's also earned a place on this list.
One consequence of men sharing their feelings more is that guys are being more candid about their wants and needs in the bedroom. Check out the 10 things men revealed that they hate women doing during sex.