MIT: Michael’s Individual Thought
By Michael Montalvo
Gillette, a safety razor manufacturer and brand, released a commercial ad in January that spoke out against toxic masculinity, bullying and sexual harassment. The advertisement sparked controversy among, mostly men, accusing the shaving company for attacking men, in general.
The ad showed men stopping boys from bullying other boys as well as telling men not to catcall women. It goes on to show many clips, including one of Terry Crews, actor and sexual assault survivor, as he testified in front of Congress expressing that men need to hold other men accountable for their inappropriate behavior.
The ad is in no way “attacking” men as a whole, but it’s simply reminding men to stand up against bullying and sexual harassment. Some people believe the opposite—that the ad is telling men to be less masculine.
Ben Shapiro, a conservative political commentator, said, “Young guys need to learn from men who treat women well and act as protectors rather than victimizers,” but that is exactly the message Gillette is trying to convey. Men who see other men stand up against harassment and abuse are more likely to do the same in similar circumstances.
While the ad did rely heavily on common stereotypes we may have of men, like when a chorus of men chanted, “Boys will be boys,” Gillette is simply suggesting that men should lead by example and protect women from getting harassed and boys from getting bullied. Believe it or not, a man will not become any less of a man if they are nice or caring to others.
Toward the end of the ad, it shows men as better role models to young boys and being praised for it. If someone sees Gillette’s ad and gets upset by it, it must be because they feel attacked and relate to the actions being condemned.
Gillette’s message was well executed. I think men should look at it with an open mind and try to understand the perspective Gillette is offering as it may differ from their own.