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Why Gillette is helping define a new masculinity

Written by Alexis De Leaver

Gillette has caused a big old fuss with their latest advert. We explore why it’s for the good of “being a man”.

Gillette teases a new thought of what masculinity means in a new advert. And while they promote the message of what it takes to be a better man, many are not ready to hear this advice. We wish they would.

The advert

“Is this the best a man can get?” A group of boys bullying the smallest one, a man who catcalls at a woman as she passes by, a woman who is not taken seriously or even listened to in a boardroom full of men. The acts of sexism, bullying, and sexual harassment are highlighted in the Gillette advert. They even portray the age-old statement, “Boys will be boys,” as two boys wrestle in the middle of a cookout as the fathers ignore them.

Then we see, Gillette push through with their new tagline, “The best men can be” that replaces the 30-year old, “The best a man can get.” They put these words in action by showing how men could act in the situations that were presented in the commercial. The man who thought it appropriate to yell for a woman’s attention is stopped by a mate standing next to him. The father who is standing over his barbeque grill stops the two young boys from fighting, we even see male celebrities using their platform to urge men to hold each other more accountable.

The reaction

All of this seems harmless enough, right? However, Gillette has seen a surge of angry tweets, reviews, and even a call to action to boycott Gillette all together. Some men are angry with the way that they are being portrayed. Some have stated that the ad is anti-male. Others are claiming that Gillette is only feeding into the #MeToo movement.  

In the #MeToo movement, woman all backgrounds, cultures and social classes are taking a stand against sexual harassment and abuse. Women are demanding that men be held accountable for their actions and that society changes its way of thinking when it comes to the treatment and value of women.

A message promoting equality, sounds good. Fair even. So, what are people upset about? The problem is that society is no longer turning a blind eye to this type of behaviour. They are forcing men either to take a stand and embrace the changes that our world is encouraging or admit they believe the ways of misogyny are correct.

Gillette is not pushing blame on one sex over the other. They are not saying that men are wild and corrupt, as some have interrupted this ad. They are merely promoting the idea that men should be doing the best they can in regard to how they treat not just women, but each other. Gillette is pushing men to think of the younger generations of males that will look towards them as an example of how to act and treat others.

This ad is changing what masculinity means, and it’s about time that this happened.

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