Your Personality Guide

Gillette Advert and the Backlash: Is Masculinity Really This Fragile?

16 Jan , 2019  

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0

Gillette recently made a short film, ‘Believe’ with a feminist propaganda behind it. Gillette challenged its slogan ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ by asking men to hold each other accountable for their regressive actions and sexist behaviour. The advert showed the bullying of men for being emotionally expressive, men preying on women, the misogyny women face at the workplace, how the violent behaviour of men is encouraged and how everything morally wrong done by men is ignored by saying “boys will be boys”. 

You would guess that this step taken by the company highlighting the ‘toxic masculinity’ would be encouraged but exactly the opposite happened. The company received a major backlash on Twitter leading to the hashtag #BoycottGillette and #SoyBoy trending. People have been asking for an apology video by the company for questioning the masculine ideals of men. Piers Morgan appears to be the face of those insecure men. He tweeted, “Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men” and, “Let’s be clear: @gillette now wants every man to take one of their razors and cut off his testicles.” These men are the ones who consider #MeToo to be a feminist construct and think Feminism is all about women being superior to men. These resistors have been calling out the company’s move to be a publicity stunt to get noticed in the media.

Inspite of all the backlash the company faced, the company held their ground and stayed stern on their decision to not post an apology video. The company said that it expected a debate amongst the people and some negative feedback but it did not expect to cause a social media rage. The company’s president Gary Coombe said, “We knew that joining the dialogue on ‘Modern Manhood’ would mean changing how we think about and portray men at every turn,” he said. “By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come. “For us, the decision to publicly assert our beliefs while celebrating men who are doing things right was an easy choice that makes a difference.” Pankaj Bhalla, the North America brand director at Gillette, told NBC News “I think the primary driver of why we wanted to have the conversation was because when we were searching for the best definition–the 2019 definition–of the best a man can get, it became critically clear that many men are incredibly good but they can do so much to be better.” Bhalla said Gillette “was not trying to be part of fad” but has “the responsibility of talking to our consumers about what we can be doing better, and that’s what this campaign is about.” “The evolving role of the men in society is a topic that is complex and layered.” “We knew there would be a discussion.”

Let’s break down the video ourselves and analyse what exactly the video showed and what might have caused the Anti-Gillette social media frenzy. The video begins with a voice asking, “Is this the best a man can get?” The video progresses and shows a troubled young boy in his mother’s arms with text bubbles around them saying, “Sissy!”, “You’re such a loser.” and “Everyone hates you.” A group of boys is showed running indicating towards the bullying that the poor lad must be facing.

The video then shows the objectification of women, the display of half-naked women in music videos and men casually pinching women’s butts like it is no big deal. 

Then comes the discrimination that women face at their workplace in the hands of their male boss.

This is followed by two young boys fighting and their fathers shrugging it off saying, “Boys will be Boys.”

The video also sheds light on the #MeToo movement that took social media by the storm very recently. 

The next clip shows Terry Crews saying, “Men need to hold other men accountable.”

The video then shows the positive change in the society where men stop other men from teasing and assaulting women, men making peace with each other avoiding the violence, fathers teaching their young daughters that they are strong and in no way less than men, a man stopping bullies from bullying a young boy and fathers telling their sons not to fight. 

The video ends with a man saying, “Because the boys watching today will be the Men of tomorrow.”

Is it wrong for men to treat people equally, be emotionally expressive like humans are supposed to be and not falling a victim of the so called ‘toxic masculinity’? We will let you decide. 

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