There are certain qualities men look for in a razor. Key selling points likely include the closeness of the shave and the lack of drag on longer stubble. What our bearded brothers are not looking for, however, is an unhealthy dose of social justice nannying that proclaims all men serial rapists and violent thugs. Of course, that didn’t stop Gillette Razors from taking precisely that approach in their latest ad campaign.
Opening with a plethora of catchy male-baiting words such as “toxic masculinity,” “the MeToo movement,” and “bullying,” we are invited on a journey of self-discovery to learn that men are just plain wrong. The actors have sad eyes and expressions, as if they know how terrible it is for them to even exist as a male of the species in this era. Yet happiness and freedom from your toxic self can still be bought via Proctor and Gamble’s best-selling men’s grooming product.
Feel the (razor) Burn
This monument to social justice has so far received almost 600K down votes on YouTube. Enjoy:
Perhaps considering how the advert came into existence helps explain precisely why it is seen as so thoroughly misandrist.
The ad’s director, Kim Gehrig, won this lucrative opportunity through an initiative of Free the Bid, which aims to give female directors more chances in a supposedly male-dominated field. Is it any surprise that a program that discriminates against men would produce a product casting males in a poor light?
It is not just regular folk who feel that portraying men as either predators or complicit actors is a poor choice of advertising. Many celebrities have also waded into the debate with their own scathing comments.
Jordan B. Peterson added his two-cents worth: “Maybe men should just start getting better by refusing to purchase anything from Procter & Gamble.” Legendary actor and out-and-proud conservative James Woods said:
“So nice to see @Gillette jumping on the ‘men are horrible’ campaign permeating mainstream media and Hollywood entertainment. I for one will never use your product again.”
Yet there are many “White Knights” in the media asking what is so wrong with an ad that encourages men to be better than they are. And here lies the root of the problem.
A Low Starting Point
While we can all agree that each individual has a duty to themselves to be the best possible version of said self, the Gillette ad gives males as a whole an incredibly low starting value. It propagates the idea that most men are part of the #MeToo problem and that it is ingrained in men to either encourage or stand by when violence (sexual or otherwise) takes place. This is not true.
There are many sexual predators out there – male and female – but they are the minority. Who would associate with someone they know to be an aggressive sexual attacker?
The ad assumes that toxic masculinity is pervasive in society and that it is something males need to keep under control, despite their baser instincts. It ignores the fact that masculinity among men is a good thing, with serious and essential evolutionary roots. To deny that males require it is to deny a very real and vivid element of one’s actual being. And this way lies disaster.
Gillette has jumped on the bandwagon of male-bashing, and that has serious real-world consequences. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the U.K.; constant “reminders” that men are a worthless species does not improve the situation.
How do they expect men to achieve “The Best a Man Can Be” by making implications of evil, violence, and a lack of control? You do not make a person “better” by breaking them further.