Toxic masculinity more than just a topic of conversation on Twitter. Toxic masculinity, which encompasses the behavioral standards our culture has set for men, has real-world implications that hurt people of all genders. Many people subscribe to the idea that a man must be strong and tough at all times, and that can lead to men not seeking help for health or other issues, promoting violence, homophobia, and other issues, as Suzannah Weiss wrote for Bustle in 2016. Because of toxic masculinity, some men feel uncomfortable showing affection towards other men, fearing that they will be ridiculed, but the viral Twitter hashtag #BlackBoysEmbrace is celebrating openness and sensitivity among Black men and boys, and it's a powerful example of what happens when you reject toxic masculinity.
Jermaine Dickerson, the creator of #BlackBoysEmbrace, described his struggles with showing affection towards other Black men to Blavity. "Growing up I just found it really hard to express intimacy with the male role models in my life, it was hard for me to express a certain level of emotion.” Dickerson, who is gay, wants straight folks to "be held accountable" for fostering heteronormative ideas of what male intimacy can look like. "As I got older and began to learn about heteronormativity and all these things that sort of negate intimacy among Black men, I took it upon myself to try to deconstruct some of those oppressive ideals," he told Blavity.
Dickerson invited Black men to help him to dismantle “the stigma surrounding Black male intimacy (platonic and otherwise),” and the results will bring a tear to your eye.