New Gillette ad takes on 'toxic masculinity' in the #MeToo era, provoking a backlash
The #MeToo movement has inspired countless victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment to come forward and share their stories. As a result, we've seen a tectonic shift in culture, as rich, powerful figures finally face consequences for their bad behavior. Our eyes are open, and now that change has taken root, it's time to enter the next phase of the #MeToo era: companies capitalizing on the movement to sell their product!
Today Gillette released a new ad - I mean, 'short film' - that criticizes 'toxic masculinity' during this enlightened, sensitive time. The video depicts men at their worst, bullying, catcalling, fighting, mansplaining and sexually harassing women. A long line of dudes grilling meat outside appears to normalize this behavior, chanting "Boys will be boys!" Then, after sobering news reports about sexual assault and sexual harassment play, the razor company encourages men to be better and police each other actions. (And don't forget to buy some razors!)
In a statement, Gillette explained why they changed their slogan to "The Best Men Can Be:"
"Thirty years ago, we launched our The Best A Man Can Get tagline. Since then, it has been an aspirational statement, reflecting standards that many men strive to achieve. But turn on the news today and it’s easy to believe that men are not at their best. Many find themselves at a crossroads, caught between the past and a new era of masculinity...
It’s time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man... We’re inviting all men along this journey with us – to strive to be better, to make us better, and to help each other be better.
From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more. ... Because the boys of today are the men of tomorrow."
Gillette's 'woke' commercial provoked a furious backlash, getting 400,000 dislikes and 100,000 likes on YouTube. On Twitter, critics accused of the razor company of bending the knee to "radicalized Muslim." One person joked the company was held hostage by gender studies majors, while another anarked, "Gillette: The best a soyboy can get." Outraged by the "virtue-signaling PC guff," several lifelong Gillette users even threatened a boycott.
On the flipside, a lot of people praised Gillette for using their influence to make a positive impact on society. "This commercial isn’t anti-male. It’s pro-humanity," observed one Twitter user, while another added, "If an ad about treating women with respect makes you angry, you are definitely part of the problem." And Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress Melissa Fumero revealed that she was moved to tears: "This ad is amazing and made me cry. Bravo @Gillette for taking a stand. This is the kind of world I want my son to grow up in."
As the #MeToo movement continues, the debate rages on about 'toxic masculinity' and how we can improve our behavior.
Anybody else got a weird craving to buy a Gillette razor?