After Gillette released its latest commercial, opinions were divided on its content that sparked a debate about toxic masculinity. The commercial did not ask anything outrageous of men, but in general, it asked them to be good people and citizens and to stand up for others.
Within the ad were comments like, “Is this the best a man can get?” and “The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” Some men were rubbed the wrong way. Some found it offensive, saying that they feel men were lumped into the “bad guys” in the commercial. However, if you know you’re a good guy, you shouldn’t be offended. The core of the ad is discussing how men as a whole can be better, not that men are inherently bad.
One of the main issues the general population had with the advertisement was that many people felt it pointed out the negative stereotypes of men in an accusatory way. However, the commercial was trying to get across the point that men are inherently good and just need to act on it.
Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette’s North America brand director, talked to CNN Business about how he wanted the commercial to inspire men to be role models. Bhalla said, “If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen.” The commercial was made to portray the message that men are able to help change the way we perceive masculinity. We just need to be able to open up the debate about it.
A common theme in many men’s issues with the advertisement is that they feel like the company is trying to make men ashamed of being men.
Graham Allen, who hosts conservative- aimed BlazeTV’s program Rant Nation, posted a photo of him and his family holding firearms with the caption, “Practicing our ‘toxic masculinity.’ Hey Gillette does this offend you?! I’ll raise my kids the way I believe they should be....thanks for your advice.” The host who seems to be “triggered” seems to equate Gillette with thinking guns are part of toxic masculinity, when in all honesty, a gun is a tool that can be used by anybody and shouldn’t be used as a form of overly masculine representation or compensation for masculinity.
Even sexual assault survivor Terry Crews, a well-known man’s man whose #MeToo speech is included in the commercial, is defending it from random insulted strangers on Twitter.
If you see an ad trying to push men to be better role models for the younger generation, and then immediately go and attack a grown man on Twitter because you don’t believe in its message – the ad was made for you. Good men know they are good; a razor advertisement won’t make them question it.