Students and members of the community gather at 416. College St. to hear the words of Alejandro Jimenez. Photo by Makayla Blevins I The All State.

On Tuesday, March 4, the Latino Community Resource Center (LCRC), the Office of Diversity, Access, and Inclusion, and Fraternity and Sorority Affairs hosted an event featuring Alejandro Jimenez, a TEDx speaker, and Emmy-nominated poet, that discussed the effects of toxic masculinity on young men at 416 College St.

Jimenez discussed the importance of young men understanding what toxic masculinity is and how it affects them negatively throughout their lives.

Jiminez said, “This can become such a heavy burden that we have to carry with us all of our lives, regarding how we should behave as men or how we should be as men. The traits that are considered bad are the ones we should receive more praise and recognition for. The good traits make us hurt people and fail ourselves.”

Jiminez encouraged young men to embrace the emotional part of themselves, “Anything you feel is normal. We all feel that, regardless of gender and regardless of sexuality. Those are just human emotions. We place this idea of Well, they’re emotional, so they’re more feminine,’ or They’re more this, so they’re more masculine,’ but they’re just human emotions,”, said Jiminez.

Jimenez ultimately motivated young men to be more emotionally vulnerable and to break away from societal pressures to be “more macho”.

Jiminez said, “Young boys stay in the box, afraid of what people might say. Break away from that box and embrace yourself and what you have to offer to the world.”

In addition to Alejandro Jimenez’s speech, Senior and president of the Interfraternity Council Jacob Robertson discussed the role toxic masculinity plays in young men who attend college.

Robertson said, “Young men who try to fit in sometimes change the way they act to try and fit in and store their emotions just to seem cool. Especially being a freshman onto campus, if you don’t know anybody, you just attract whoever seems cool. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I think that there could be a lot of issues that could come from that, just because people aren’t going to be themselves.”

Additionally, Robertson gave advice to the young men currently attending college.

Robertson said, “We talked about eliminating toxic masculinity. It’s not safe. It’s not healthy. It leads people down a path that they shouldn’t be going down. I suggest that people surround themselves with people that they genuinely get along with on a personal level, rather than the coolest people on campus. As you get to know each other on a personal level, you care for each other.”