If the new Gillette #TheBestMenCanBe campaign offends you, you’re the problem
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Just in case you’ve not yet come across Gillette’s new #TheBestMenCanBe campaign, here is the one minute and 49 second short film:
The commercial is designed to encourage men to set better examples in society and step up to support others in doing the same.
To stop making the same old excuses for bullying, violence, and poor treatment of women.
To hold each other accountable and speak up when something inappropriate is said or done.
So, why then, are SO MANY men retaliating so negatively? For example, at the time of this writing, there are 68k thumbs up on the YouTube video, but 313k thumbs down. A staggeringly negative ratio, and let’s not even get into the comments…
The truth is that this is the first generation that isn’t glorifying the traditional “man’s man” view of masculinity. The grunting, chest bumping, beer chugging, cave-dwelling, non-emotional view of what men “should be.”
This is a deeply ingrained societal image of men that our fathers and grandfathers grew up around. Men want to fight. They want to fuck. They want to lead and conquer. That is the condition of the male human animal.
So, many men see an ad like this and automatically feel insulted and displaced by it. “LET MEN BE MEN!” they say. Sounding much like the “boys will be boys” narration in the video itself. Effectively, proving the point.
As if their place in society or very existence is being threatened. As if they are being “turned into women,” as I’ve seen said many times before. As if they are unnecessary, and unneeded.
Here’s the reality: For YEARS I have been publicly saying that women DO NOT want men to be watered down versions of themselves. They LIKE masculine men. They LIKE men who lead and are decisive – but they ALSO like men who are able to communicate and be authentic. Men who they can picture raising children with. Men who they can count on. Men who they know will listen and be supportive.
You do not have to choose one – and that’s the problem with a simplified view of this message. It looks too black and white.
And, men are feeling universally victimized by this commercial. Saying it paints “ALL MEN” in a bad light – while, if they’d pay attention, the ad clearly showcases and says via voiceover, that many men are already stepping up and doing what’s right. It’s not vilifying you, it’s honoring you.
As long as you’re one of the good ones.
Nobody is trying to take away your Bud Light (even though they should), your football Sundays, or your pickup truck.
This commercial and message CLEARLY focuses on bullying, senseless violence, being creepy towards women, and not holding each other to higher standards.
None of this is offensive and none of this (should be) controversial. If any/all of these things are a cornerstone of your ability to feel masculine, then you are the exact reason why this video was made and you should take a look in the mirror.
You can be masculine and kind.
You can be masculine and show emotion.
You can be masculine and empathetic.
You can be masculine and communicate.
You can be masculine and bond with others.
Real masculinity includes these qualities and many more, it does not exclude them. And those who realize that will lead happier and more fulfilling lives, without being offended by a Gillette commercial.
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