There is absolutely nothing wrong with loving and hugging your dad! The relationship between a father and son is unique and should be cherished. And there are plenty of men in the world who would give anything to embrace their dads one last time.

However, the internet can be a nasty place. And trolls will try to ruin beautiful things like hugs from dads. This is exactly what happened when Eric Owens posted a collage of intimate photos where he hugs his son some time ago. Trolls came out of the woodwork and started slandering the images.

There were some positives, though. Others stepped in to defend Owens and his viral post. And one of the responses online was incredibly spot-on, highlighted the importance of talking about toxic masculinity, and explained that some men are irrationally afraid of showing affection.

Eric Owens shared a collage of wholesome, affectionate photos of himself and his son

Image credits: Eric Owens

Image credits: Eric Owens

Image credits: Eric Owens

Image credits: Eric Owens

Image credits: Eric Owens

However, some folks on the internet thought that the pictures were strange and unmanly…

Image credits: ithelpstodream

Image credits: ithelpstodream

Image credits: ithelpstodream

Meanwhile, a Tumblr user thought that they were perfect examples of toxic masculinity

Image credits: ithelpstodream

Bored Panda has already talked about how some people on the internet respond to dad hugs in our earlier post about a photo where the President-Elect of the United States, Joe Biden, is hugging his son, Hunter. Owens’ collage drew out a nearly identical reaction from some internet users.

Owens’ wholesome and honest post for his son’s then-18th birthday got more than 34k likes, was shared over 3k times, and (unsurprisingly) got 3k comments, too.

While toxic masculinity is a very broad term that can mean a lot of different things, in this context, it refers to one thing and one thing only—how some men believe that being emotionally vulnerable and open (stereotypically seen as feminine traits) is a negative thing. That paves the way for repressed emotions and can lead to all sorts of emotional and psychological problems.

According to The Good Men Project, culturally, strength is seen as manly while being emotional is perceived as weakness. However, masculinity is a very deep rabbit hole with lots of different perspectives, viewpoints, and ideas.

And there are always two sides to every story: some see gender roles as social constructs while others believe they’re a natural part of being human. However, whatever your views about masculinity and being a man, I think that most of us can agree that getting a hug from your dad is awesome.

What do you think of Owens’ photos, dear Pandas? Do you have an opinion about toxic masculinity? When’s the last time you hugged your dad? Share your thoughts and feelings with all of the other readers in the comment section right below.

Here’s what some other people had to say about the topic (spoiler alert: hugs are amazing)