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Viral father and son picture sparks debate on ‘toxic masculinity’


Eric Owens didn’t realize he was going to spark a debate about masculinity when he posted a series of pictures with himself and his son.

The images of Owens with his young son under his arm are undeniably adorable, but where several people are upset is the image where his grown-up son is still tucked in under his arm. It seems many people don’t like the idea of the two men being that physically close to each other.

Several social media users reacted to the original post on Facebook saying that it was the “weirdest sh** ever” and that it was unacceptable for fathers and sons to be that physically close, though one user said that it was completely fine for mothers and daughters or aunts and nieces to cuddle.

Apparently, the ban on cuddling only applies to men, and comments like these have sparked a debate on the “toxic masculinity” culture that frowns on men who express emotion or physical affection. The culture is steeped not only in gender roles but also in a fear of being seen as homosexual.

“The social taboo against cuddling has been because for two men to get close was traditionally seen as ‘gay.’ Men wanted to avoid being the target of homophobic abuse, so they would be macho to distance themselves from any perception of homosexuality,” sociologist Mark McCormack told the Huffington Post in February.

“But there is a generational effect here: Older men who grew up in the 1980s may still feel the need to present a very straight version of themselves, but more positive attitudes toward homosexuality in contemporary culture mean that younger men are simply less concerned about how other people view their behaviors.”

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Comment by Clay on September 12, 2016 at 3:07pm
What I see when I view the pics? A father that had his son then, and now. I just lost my Dad and best friend to Cancer in May, I wish I did still have mine. If people would think about, they'd realize that one day the son will receprocate and have to take care of the father like the father did for him...
Comment by Jerome Rattigan on September 12, 2016 at 2:49pm
Ppl shut the f*** up and take your head out your ass. I'm 45 and sometimes wish my dad was around to share some hugs.
Comment by Cee Gee on September 12, 2016 at 2:34pm

OMG!  This is pure stupidity.  I like the photo....there is nothing wrong with a father and son taking a photo like that.  My goodness....everything is about being gay.....please, enough already.

Comment by Stephanie on September 12, 2016 at 1:55pm
What is wrong with people?! SMH!!!
Can people for once STOP LOOKING AT THINGS THE WRONG WAY?! I think it's a wonderful repic of him and his son. It shows that there is STILL a father and son bond, that we just don't see today with fathers and son. My husband and my son share hugs and kisses. And I love to see them and I pray that it will never ends. OurAfrican Americans men need to stop thinking that showing love and affection is a bad thing.

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