A razor company that claims to be “the best a man can get” now wants its users to be “the best men can be.”
Gillette, through a new ad that uses strong visual images such as boys bullying another boy, men catcalling a woman and a boss talking over a female employee, has put out the message that men can be better.
This call to action has men all over the country outraged, claiming the company is objectifying them with a stereotypical “boys will be boys” attitude. However, these boys and men have missed the mark. The advertisement is saying that men can be better and teach their children better. It isn’t saying all men are bullies or disrespectful to women. It’s saying that it happens and it can be better if men raise their boys to be respectful.
Advertisements are powerful tools in sending messages. And although the ad is receiving backlash from many, guess what everyone is talking about besides Gillette? Toxic masculinity, a topic that hasn’t yet been addressed on a large scale. Families are now at their dinner tables having conversations about this serious issue.
Why such an outrage? There shouldn’t be anything wrong with agreeing that men shouldn’t be cruel human beings who bully others and disrespect women. The ad sends a positive message to all young boys and men across this country.
Some will argue that companies shouldn’t be taking social or political stances for corporate profit; however, if the message they’re sending is a positive one, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Conservatives tend to attack liberals by saying they are too sensitive when it comes to racial tension or mislabeling people by their gender, but with this new Gillette ad, their own sensitivity hit an all-time high. The commercial just encourages the older generation of men to stand up and tell young boys to behave better.
Facebook user Graham Allen posted his response to the ad with a picture of himself and his three kids all holding guns, except his daughter. The caption read, “Practicing our ‘toxic masculinity’ Hey Gillette does this offend you?! I’ll raise my kids the way I believe they should be….thanks for the advice –Graham.”
The ad did not mention gun control at all, but to hold each other accountable for their actions, to say the right thing and act the right way, and to just be a better person.
A lot of men are saying, “Not all men are like this,” but that’s not what the message was. Gillette was not attacking anyone; they just proposed an idea to make the general population more tolerable and open-minded to issues.
On the flip side, women have been told to change over and over in commercials. There isn’t an outrage over those types of ads. A few examples would be hair dye advertisements to get rid of gray hair; ads about make-up to make women look better; ads for plastic surgeons for larger breasts, butts and lips; and even ads for weight loss for bikini season. Where is the outrage for these advertisements, which convey the message that women are not good enough as they are?
Men should follow the lead of women. Women don’t care about these advertisements because they don’t apply to all women.
Parents are doing their young boys a disservice by teaching them the only way to be man is to exude some type of hyper-testosterone personality. Being a man doesn’t require you to be violent, unemotional or sexually aggressive. Ultimately, an ad is not going solve toxic masculinity, but at least it has opened up a conversation.