We are all familiar with the term ‘toxic masculinity’ by now. Many guys struggle to express themselves due to the limitations that society has placed on them as men; we are supposed to be passionate about a select few, suitably ‘masculine’ pursuits, sports and cars for example. Anything else and we are swiftly labeled as geeks and nerds, and, according to conservative ‘freedom fighter’ Ashley St. Clair, undateable.

It began after Star Wars fan Eric Butts, a Kentucky-based vlogger and filmmaker, shared his emotional reaction to the first trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. His passion for the movies is there for all to see, gleefully soaking up every moment and being moved to tears by the anticipation of things to come.

Predictably, the video swiftly garnered the derision of countless trolls, who wasted no time in putting Eric down for his excitement. Included was the aforementioned St.Clair, who wrote: “Star Wars and superhero movie obsession culture has revealed a whole new population of undateable men. Might be worse than men who wear cargo shorts.”

Well damn. Firstly, this woman appears to be similar to the Ann Coulters and Tomi Lahrens of this world, a performance artist that makes money from provocation and hyperbolic opinions designed to get a certain demographic frothing at the mouth. So best to simply ignore her and forget that she exists after reading this post. And secondly, what’s wrong with cargo shorts, anyway? For a ‘freedom fighter,’ this woman sure seems to have a narrow definition of freedom!

Image credits: stclairashley

Emily Chaney, a teacher-in-training from Michigan, came across St. Clair’s tweet on her feed. The dismissive, arrogant tone of the message hinted at something deeper and far more sinister for her, so she felt like she had to come to the defense of the millions of guys who choose to be passionate about anything they feel like.

“While scrolling through the hellscape that is Twitter, I stumbled upon this tweet,” she wrote. “Now normally I’d just scoff and move on, but this really rubbed me the wrong way.”

“While the tweet itself is pretty self-explanatory, the video is obviously not. To be honest this little clip isn’t really much. It’s just a dude watching the new Star Wars trailer, and being very excited. Maybe there is more to this video out there somewhere, but what I have seen wasn’t much.”

Image credits: emily_chaney9

“I was going to just leave it at that. I tried my hardest not to be upset, but the more I thought about it the angrier I got. Because there is nothing wrong with the way he reacted! Nothing! Yes maybe it would seem like a little much to someone that isn’t a die-hard fan of the franchise, but it is obvious this is something he cares about. So began my rant.”

Image credits: emily_chaney9

Image credits: emily_chaney9

Image credits: emily_chaney9

Image credits: emily_chaney9

Image credits: emily_chaney9

Image credits: emily_chaney9

“I wanted to share this here as well because I believe this is important. My step-father killed himself and didn’t even leave a note. No one saw it coming. He seemed happy. He had a loving marriage, children, a job he mostly enjoyed. We had our hard times, but we always pulled through, and he did it anyways. No one will ever know why, and that’s how it usually is. Men are expected to suffer in silence until it’s too late. I know that one rant on Twitter won’t change anything, but I hope the people that follow me, ESPECIALLY the men that follow me, will read this and find some sort of comfort. Which is why I wanted to share it here as well. I hope you see this and know that at least one person is on your side.

P.s. If you ever need a hype man, I got you ?”

Image credits: TheEricButts

Creators and actors, including Mark Hamill himself, also stood up to defend Eric

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Image credits: HamillHimself

Image credits: HamillHimself

While the attention-seeker doubled down on her position

Image credits: stclairashley

Image credits: stclairashley

“I’m sure this is just something she feeds off of,” Emily said, speaking to Bored Panda. “Close minded people generally have no interest in any opinions that aren’t their own.”

The self-described geek has been pleasantly surprised by the positive reaction to her response, which was prompted partly through personal experience. “I was raised playing video games and watching anime with my uncle. That whole culture has shaped who I am as a person, especially due to the fact that “gamer girls” are generally socially ostracized, or over-sexualized,” she told us. “I struggled a lot as a kid with loving the things that I love, though with age I definitely feel more comfortable in my own skin.”

Though personally when I hear the word “geek” I tend to couple it with being knowledgeable about technology, which I am not, in my honest opinion being a “geek” or a “nerd” is just another term for being passionate.”

Image credits: corybarlog

“I think passion, in general, is an amazing thing! For instance, my dad is passionate about fish. Every day he comes home from work and just sits and watches them swim around, and while that might sound incredibly dull, it is something that brings him peace.”

“In my personal opinion, I think it comes down to whether their interests are defined as “masculine” or not, but recently that has been double-sided. Men who show emotion, or “too much” interest are also shamed. Like men that cry on the sidelines of a lost sports game. Those men are negatively received as well, even though football is something that is socially acceptable.”

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“Women who share my sentiment may seem few and far between, but we aren’t. I am not special or unique, and neither is my opinion on the subject. My voice just happened to be the loudest.”

Image credits: RubberNinja

“You probably won’t find someone that will share your every interest, but I promise you can find someone that will care enough to listen and support you. Don’t be ashamed to love the things you love, because one day someone is going to love you for that very same reason.”

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What do you think? Scroll down below to read the rest of the reactions, and let us know your opinions in the comments!

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