We’ve previously spoken about the changing ideas around masculinity and how the extent to which men willingly show vulnerability is rapidly increasing. In a moving Instagram post yesterday, Jonah Hill asked us to reframe the narratives we have about ourselves and others. He begins with a story of his own:
“I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive. It’s only in the last four years, writing and directing my movie Mid90s, that I’ve started to understand how much that hurt and got into my head.”
With profound openness and sensitivity, Hill expresses what it feels like to be the subject of scrutiny, how easy it is to internalise negative perceptions, and how long-standing the effect of that internalisation can be. It’s a familiar tale: we all know that growing up is a process peppered with those difficult experiences that range from the awkward to the messy to the traumatic. But rather than box off these experiences in the past, Hill highlights the value of revisiting them, interrogating them, and ultimately refreshing them with more positive narratives of self-love.
The Instagram post refers to his zine, Inner Children, where Hill interviews twelve people he respects about their own self-perceptions. It provides these individuals with the space to open up about these narrow ‘snapshot of themselves from a time when they were young they’re ashamed of’, in a bid to dismantle them. And while we’ve seen this self-love narrative before, what is particularly striking here is that this sensitive meditation is articulated by a man.
Manifesting real vulnerability, Hill stands as a role-model for men who admit to the struggle of fitting in, who might feel ugly in the world and who feel oppressed by the complex social structures we all exist within.