Gillette delivers Razor-Sharp Advertisement

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.

One thought on “Gillette delivers Razor-Sharp Advertisement

  • February 27, 2019 at 9:20 am
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    1. It’s questionable whether some of the behaviour in the commercial is actually toxic at all, it depends on other circumstances which are not shown. Plus, is behaviour like this confined to men? Think about it.

    2. How often do men purposefully allow their sons to bully each other without stepping in? How often, in recent years, have you witnessed a man behaving in such an obviously sexist and patronising way in a business meeting? How often have you seen a modern TV show where such blatant sexual harassment is shown in a non ironic way? In all my years on this planet after having watched way too much TV and having attended numerous business meetings and social gatherings swarming with kids, these scenarios are very rare, especially in the last 5 or 10 years. So to suggest they are common and may even be the default behaviour for men is insulting and disingenuous.

    3. Why is it ok to lecture men on how they should behave when this never happens to women? The message is that men are broken and need fixing and women are not.

    4. It’s an ad for razors, why does it have to get political? It’s simply annoying and patronising.

    5. There is a clear racial bias in the commercial, white men in the commercial are portrayed negatively at a far higher rate than black men. It could be construed quite easily as deliberately racist.

    6. When men are posting online that they don’t like the ad, they are being bullied and belittled and often told to “stop being cry babies”. This is hypocritical and actually contrary to the ‘men should be more open’ message these online bullies pretend to espouse.

    7. This is a rare commercial that relies on negative stereotyping rather than positive reinforcement, no other demographic group has been targeted in this way, for obvious reasons.

    8. Where are the strong females in the commercial? We all know plenty of them who would stand up to negative behaviour like this without any help from other males. This is not reality.

    9. What is Gillette’s motivation for this? Is it a genuine, sincere wish to improve society and “fix” men? Remember this is a money oriented, huge money making machine we’re talking about. Is it possible that they are simply jumping on what they think is the current zeitgeist bandwagon in order to stay relevant and increase sales with the younger generation who they assume will identify with this message?

    10. This is part of a wider negative campaign against men, and for some it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. Enough is enough, and this time there’s something we can actually do …switch away from Gillette.

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