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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Let me say, ¨very poorly said! I wonder what kind of father and friends you have if you can continue with the stereotype of men as brutish apes. Feminists would come unhinged at far less of a social slap. If you want to understand why you are so far off base on this, I suggest you read Ben Shapiros´s truly intelligent analysis of why ¨your[sic.] the problem¨ isn’t so.
Great demonstration on how one can say ¨I wrestled in high school. I taught martial arts. I lift weights. I drive a fast car. I played sports. I smoke cigars and drink scotch.” and still be a misandrist. You think your generation is the first to eschew the traditional “man’s man” view of masculinity? What a feminist puppet you are! My grandfathers and father never represented themselves in the manner you suggest. Of course the Gillette´s campaign is offensive, to my memory of the great men that proceeded me. And by the way, these men fought German bullying twice, lifted iron onto skyscrapers, didn´t smoke phallic cigars, drove family cars and were too busy making a home to play sports past college.
I was trying to make a point about how you can do things that are traditionally viewed as “masculine” but still be empathetic and compassionate. I am defending masculinity in this post and showing it’s not inherently bad.
Same team. Take a breath.
Sorry, but that’s not what your title and words said.
Lol the fake names you use to avoid personal accountability are creative, I’ll give you that.
Also I appreciate the apology. Thanks!
My, your are a real idiot James. You think people want to give their emails to you for spam? Like you think giving a name creates ¨accountability¨? And yes, so sorry that some fool ISP has turned you loose on the Internet with your childish ideas and grammar.
And yes, I spotted the ¨your¨ error. Too bad your chosen platform forces one to respond in a way that is conducive to proofreading or making corrections.
… is not conducive…
Aggghhh, what a painful environment, little boxes, small type.
The Gillette advertisement of my bad for all their past mistakes says ¨some men¨ are good. You dear idiot James think you are on the cusp of some avant garde movement of enlightenment on how men are and should be. Shame on you and Gillette! Your commentary denigrates my wonderful husband, father and brothers!
James, I honestly feel like these negative comments are coming from people who need to work on their listening skills, because I don’t think they were listening to the commercial at all. I don’t think the commercial needs to be this polarizing, it doesn’t have to be a love or hate reaction. It doesn’t have to be taken as a personal assault. Like a movie, or a song, or artwork, or literature… it’s just intended to bring thoughtful attention to a societal issue. I don’t see what’s wrong with encouraging all people to be kinder and accountable, male or female. The negativity surfacing on this just reinforces that the encouragement may be needed. Just sayin’. Keep being awesome. Haters gonna hate.
I listened quite well to the commercial. The message was very clear that Gillette thinks most men are brutes because only some are men that display the ¨desired¨ traits. I think the comment about how feminists get crazy over far less is spot-on.
This was a great read, James – thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!
I think what you wrote here was well said. The Gillette video also shows movement in being more emotionally aware of our actions. For anyone who is upset by this post/video I believe are a little to concerned with themselves to think of the world as a whole. Their fathers, grandfathers, etc could’ve definitely been great men, but there is a wider population of men who express bigotry and misogyny. The outcry for attention these negative commentators bring are just close minded to what really exists in the world we live in. No matter the person, anyone can improve themselves to be a better person, because no body is perfect. Thanks for your posts. Enjoyed what I read today.
[…] more recent months with the controversial Gillette advertisement, there really is a mainstream focus on what it means to be a “real man” in […]