The actor and his wife Emily Foxler Baldoni got real about handling gender stereotypes with their two-year-old daughter and nearly two-month-old son.
Justin Baldoni may be best known for playing Rafael on The CW's Jane the Virgin, but the 33-year-old actor is quickly building his reputation as an outspoken feminist and social activist. Back in October, his TED Talk called, "Why I'm done trying to be 'man enough'" -- which aimed to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity -- went hugely viral. Now, Justin is debuting a weekly web show, produced by his media company Wayfarer Entertainment and made possible by Harry's, fittingly called Man Enough.
The gist: Famous dudes from all corners of showbiz sit down to dinner to discuss what it means to be a man right now. Moderated by the actor and entrepreneur, the show covers a huge variety of topics -- from fatherhood to body image, marriage, happiness, sexual harassment, and feminism. Their goal is to have conversations that men don't usually have -- especially not with a camera rolling.
(Link to enter in my bio- all our shirts/onesies are included) Heyyyyyyy!!! These are our excited faces (don’t judge it was very early) the reason we are so excited is because we are doing a campaign to raise money for the @skidrowcarnivaloflove with our friends at @prizeo! Every year we throw a massive carnival in the heart of “Skid Row” (One of the worst man-made disasters in our country) for all of our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. But this can’t happen without your support. For only $10 you enter to win a trip to hang out with me on the set of Jane The Virgin and be my personal guest to the 2018 Carnival of Love! Each entry is $10 and there is only a week left! There are ton of other awesome prices too - like these custom t -shirts!! ❤️👆🏼None of this possible without you guys and I appreciate you all so much! I know $10 a lot so even if you can’t enter please share! Love Justin, Emily, Maiya and Maxwell “So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth” - Bahá’u’lláh
As a dad of two -- two-year-old Maiya and almost two-month-old Maxwell -- who he shares with his wife Emily, Justin is acutely aware of how many of these issues will come up in conversations related to raising his children. Following a private premiere screening of Man Enough's first episode on Wednesday, December 13, Justin and Emily sat down to talk to to Parents.com exclusively about the challenges they realize they'll face -- or are already in the midst of tackling -- with their L.O.s related to gender stereotypes.
"I think that having a kid at all, whether it's a girl or a boy, it makes you think about humanity, like who we are as people," Emily shared. "Who I am as a woman, who [Justin] is as a man, and who are they going to grow up to be, and who will they be surrounded by? How will men act around my daughter when she's 16, 18, and how will women be with my son, how will he be with women? There are just so many questions when you become a parent. ... One thing that I think we decided early on ... we wanted [our kids] to be able to feel and we want to be the kind of parents that have our arms open to whatever emotions they have. And we want to be there for them to talk about whatever it may be. Even if they're like hating on us, I want to be the kind of mom who's like, 'OK, give it to me, I'm here to listen, I get it and I'm sorry.' That's who we want to be. Especially with our son. We want him to grow up and know he can be a boy and then a man who's allowed to feel and be emotional."
Meanwhile, Justin shares that he's trying not to get caught up in complimenting his daughter only on her physical appearance. "Something I'm actively working on as a father is reinforcing the idea and belief that my daughter is much more than the way she looks," he says. "You know, I have to catch myself, because my daughter's beautiful. I have to catch myself from complimenting her on just her appearance, because I want to eat her she's so pretty and cute. That's one of the things I know we're talking about. How can we remind ourselves to tell her that she's kind and smart and intelligent and she's human versus she's pretty and all of these things that reinforce the feminine? And that's a challenge."
We’re doing everything we can to teach our daughter that she is so much more than her appearance. I try to remind myself to compliment her on her kindness, her intelligence, her patience, humor, vocabulary and everything else! We are constantly (lovingly) reminding people how smart she is when the first thing said when seeing her is how pretty she is. But It’s hard! As a culture we’ve been so conditioned to compliment children on their appearance instead of their intelligence. However - this morning my 2 1/2 year old daughter woke up and somehow became a teenager. 1st of all WTF!? 2n’d- My God she is beautiful!!! Truth is truth right? What’s also true is that she clearly got it from her mama. And since I tell her mama she’s beautiful every day… I’m gonna allow myself to say it to her too. As long as she knows that it’s her HEART that makes her appearance beautiful. Moderation is everything. ❤️ #dearmaiya #parenting
Emily added that there's another behavior they've both been trying to check when it comes to their toddler. "With our daughter, something we've noticed, I think something that's very common when you have a girl -- if they climb on stuff and they do some wild things, you're tend to be [like], 'Oh my god, be careful, don't do that,' and you tend to be watching them more than you do with boys. You kinda let boys do their thing. We're really trying to watch ourselves there, because our daughter is very adventurous, she's kind of wild, she likes to climb and run and do things. So, [it's about] letting her do those things and standing by to make sure she's safe, but not constantly going, 'Be careful, don't hurt yourself.'"
Joking that their little girl got that adventurous spirit from her daddy, Justin explained, "We said ['be careful'] so much so that she actually would say it back to us! She'd do something, and then be like, 'Be careful!'" to which Emily agreed and noted, "We have to let her explore that side of herself and do something she's never tried before without thinking, 'I must be careful, I must downsize myself.'"
- Want the latest parenting news? Sign up for our Parents Daily newsletter
Though these are amazing conversations that go on in the Baldoni household, the challenges of being a parent and grappling with gender stereotypes will also be covered on Man Enough. "We're going to be doing a fatherhood episode of Man Enough in 2018 and bring dads together," Justin shared. "It's a really interesting conversation. It's not a conversation men generally talk about. And dads are really important, and there's a lot of really good dads that exist, and there are a lot of young boys who are going to grow up without fathers who have a chance to become good dads and not repeat what's happened to them. So, we hope to help."
*Part 2 Ahhhh!! It’s finally here! After three years of believing it was possible- we finally did it. Ladies and gentleman- I present to you: #ManEnough. A @wayfarerla Original Series brought to you by my good friends at @harrys. Episode 1 premiers TOMORROW only at wearemanenough.com (link in bio) #redefinemasculinity #harrys @mattmcgorry @javiermofficial @derekhough @bassemyoussef @prince_ea @spiderandersonsilva @alionsfear
You can catch the first two episodes of Man Enough starting today, Thursday, December 14 at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET at WeAreManEnough.com.