Gillette ad challenges men to be their best
The new ad, addressing toxic masculinity and the role men play in the #MeToo movement, has created some praise, but also caused some backlash on social media.
Bringing up the topics of “bullying,” “the #MeToo movement,” “sexual harassment”, and “toxic masculinity” is bringing up a reality that many people—both men and women—have long endured.
It’s been going on for so long that the new Gillette ad expresses “we can’t hide from it” and “we can’t laugh it off.”
As part of the company's The Best Men Can Be campaign, Gillette released the new ad on Monday. Ultimately, the question—drawing upon the company’s 30-year-old tagline—was posed: Is this the best a man can get?
When the phrase “Boys will be boys” is used, it often functions as an explanation as to why some males may engage in bad behavior. However, Gillette encourages men to find ways to figure out how they can make a difference.
“By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come,” Gary Coombe, president of P&G Global Grooming, said in a statement.
Naturally, the ad upset quite a few men. Many took to social media to express their angst, some even threatening to boycott the company. Here are just a few:
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) January 14, 2019
I won't be buying Gillette and other P&G products again. A company that has built its empire thanks to men buying its products for decades now dares to spit on masculinity in the new commercial. I'm done! #BoycottGillette
— A. Mathura (@ptmathura) January 15, 2019
I will no longer support your company. I will NEVER apologize for being a male because you want to appease the “political correctness movement”. Sad day when the best a man could get is a company calling out males for being men. #gilletteboycott
— Sam Radd (@TeamSamRadd) January 15, 2019
However, the outrage is misplaced here. There shouldn’t be outrage towards Gillette for addressing the realities of our society, as the ad wasn’t an attack on all men. The outrage should be aimed towards the men who equate masculinity to being bullies and harassers—of which, there are many.
There is an interpretation that the ad is expressing a need for men to apologize for being men. However, it's more about addressing the components of what being a man or being masculine entails. The main message is to take action against toxic masculinity and the role it plays at home, in the workplace, and everyday life.
There is nothing wrong with asking for men to be a good person. There is nothing wrong with asking men to become better versions of themselves. There is nothing wrong with asking men to hold other men accountable when they see them doing something inappropriate.
There is especially nothing wrong with asking men to set an example for the next generation of young men. Saying and doing the right things, and acting the right way can go a long way towards making a real difference in the world.
The ad ends with the voice stating, “The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”
Young boys seeing men act with respect for others can encourage them to do the same as they enter adulthood. All men can play a role in that and changing the standards of what being a man means.
The ad wasn’t meant as an attack to call all men bad people, it was made to encourage men to become even better people.