Why the Gillette Ad Has Been Misjudged and Deserves a Second Look

"[T]he work of defining what makes a man a man has been going on for centuries." - Intellectual Takeout

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mmartin's picture

I just watched the ad twice and overall I liked it.  When I've been reading the past several days the ad was against "toxic masculinity" I must admit I was somewhat skeptical.  But after watching the ad a couple times, Yes, overall I liked it.

The general message is to be a man.  That is to engage and take a stand for what is right, to lift others up, to respect all, to encourage gentleness and not to excuse inappropriate behavior for whatever reason.

Bert Perry's picture

I think the killer sentence is a few paragraphs into the article where it admits that the scenes were "cheesily" staged.  Now let's process that in light of what the real difference is between roughhousing and bullying, an invitation declined to a date and sexual harassment, etc..

It's called "nuance".  It's called "responding to the subtle signals someone is sending."  And if you portray the fight against sexual abuse, sexual harassment, bullying, and the like with a heavy hand--Gillette certainly does this--you've actually harmed the cause.  

OK, maybe time to bring out the old safety razor and learn some of these things anew.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

mmartin's picture

Maybe the "nuance" is exactly what this ad is asking us to be mindful of, to be better aware of the difference between roughhousing & bullying and to engage that sooner than later.

Maybe the wrong side of this nuance is to feel it is heavy-handed.

How is it heavy handed to ask that we say the right thing, to act the right way?  Isn't that what we ask of our children?

Maybe the nuance is to disregard the overall message because of whatever level of cheesiness the ad may contain.

pvawter's picture

To me this ad is next in a whole series of strange ads from Gillette that I've seen recently. They have a man (who looks like he doesn't even need to shave!) looking at himself in a mirror and saying something like, "I decide what it means to be a man." Then the ad shifts to a clip of him dancing or beat boxing or something else that doesn't fit the "traditional" image of masculinity. Then they put out this ad, and it seems like they're invested in reaching a new demographic of metrosexuals (is that still a term?). 

It doesn't offend me, but it does seem to be pandering to a certain version of modern male. For the record, I haven't purchased a Gillette product in years, so their advertising isn't directed at people like me.

DLCreed's picture

....the following was posted on a thread on one of my social media posts.  (He's a former student.)  I think he captures my concerns quite well.

"Toxic masculinity has never existed outside of intersectionalist academia until it was brought out by those advancing cultural Marxism, conflict theory and intersectionalism. Linking a pejorative to an immutable characteristic of an individual is blatantly meant to attack the immutable characteristic and is a tool designed to drive prejudice. If I were to use the term toxic femininity, toxic Zionist, toxic Islamist then you’d get the point quickly.

If I used the language to malign another group of people would that be acceptable to you? If it was racial, or at another gender would that be a problem for you? These things matter, intersectionalism aims to destroy masculinity as a whole and debase the power of the majority (not numeric majority but majority in terms of political or societal power as defined by Marx). In other words the whole movement behind the phrase is meant to cow men, and that should concern everyone.

If that wasn’t the point then they could have just ran an ad that said some of us need to do a lot better but all of us need to strive to be better.

It’s also ludicrous to suggest that most men watch children pummel each other, sexually harass women etc. the insult was purposeful, they were trying to value signal and we picked up on it accurately.Yes language and it’s intent matters in messaging. It’s risible to suggest otherwise while making your argument about values with words."
 

JBL's picture

"Toxic masculinity has never existed outside of intersectionalist academia until it was brought out by those advancing cultural Marxism, conflict theory and intersectionalism. Linking a pejorative to an immutable characteristic of an individual is blatantly meant to attack the immutable characteristic and is a tool designed to drive prejudice. If I were to use the term toxic femininity, toxic Zionist, toxic Islamist then you’d get the point quickly.

I can clearly understand that there is a difference between saying that all masculinity is toxic vs. some males behave with unbecoming masculinity.  I don't believe the Gillette ad is communicating the former.

John B. Lee

dmyers's picture

No, the Intellectual Takeout author missed the point of the ad, as did those of you who are fine with it.  It's disgusting, heavy-handed, and damns an entire gender on the basis of the acts of a few.  Note two things:  (1) the claim that any impetus to change men's bad behavior only began with the #metoo movement, and (2) when the acknowledgment (finally) comes that not all men are like that, the statement is that "some" men are different -- not most, or the majority, or the overwheming majority -- but "some"; i.e., the minority.  It's exactly the ad radical feminists would have written and produced -- oh, wait, it WAS written (and directed) by radical feminists (if you'll do any research at all).  Here are two response "ads" that I think demonstrate both how the Gillette ad is to be understood if you're not bending over backward to justify it and how unfair the ad is, to put it mildly:

https://youtu.be/x_HL0wiK4Zc

https://youtu.be/ECfhY-qKj-8

 

TylerR's picture

Editor

This makes me glad I don't watch television, or even have cable. I'm blissfully unaware of the latest shows, or the latest commercials. I only became aware of this because a social media firestorm. I ignored all of it!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

pvawter's picture

I realized that my earlier comment was in error. The ads I described were made by Schick, a competitor of Gillette, so they're not directly related. I didn't pay attention to the brand since I don't use any of their products. That's one advantage to wearing a manly beard. Smile