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Expressing your emotions is a perfectly normal and healthy part of the human experience. But far too many boys and men feel as though their identity as a male depends on upholding both a tough exterior and interior — void of feelings and tears.

Actress Jessica Chastain wants that to change. Because to her, lives truly do depend on it. And the stats back her up.

In a tweet shared on April 29, the Hollywood A-lister called on all of us to challenge the stereotypes and expectations associated with masculinity — starting with one particularly harmful phrase.


"Can we please eliminate the phrase, 'Stop crying. Be a man'?" the actress wrote. "The old fashioned stereotype doesn't work."

Chastain then highlighted an alarming reality: More men die by suicide than women.

As she pointed out in her tweet citing data collected by the CDC, 121 Americans, on average, die by suicide each day — and 93 of them are men.

Men are far less likely to reach out for help if they're experiencing mental health issues. Many advocates argue there's a clear link between toxic masculinity — a set of attitudes that suggest men should be assertive and dominant, not emotional or vulnerable — and the fact men are over 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women.

It's a topic comedian Michael Ian Black recently explored at length in a New York Times op-ed, where he argued rigid gender norms are exacerbating America's gun violence problem:

"Too many boys are trapped in the same suffocating, outdated model of masculinity, where manhood is measured in strength, where there is no way to be vulnerable without being emasculated, where manliness is about having power over others. They are trapped, and they don’t even have the language to talk about how they feel about being trapped, because the language that exists to discuss the full range of human emotion is still viewed as sensitive and feminine."

We need to get better at allowing boys and men to be emotional, feel seen, and be comfortable opening up. We need to get better at allowing boys and men to be human.

"Let's cherish the vulnerabilities of men," Chastain wrote in her tweet. "Their lives depend on it."

If you need help, don't hesitate to reach out and get it. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or learn more here.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


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