'Toxic masculinity' is a much-discussed subject in 2019. In the wake of the #MeToo, #ImWithHer, and #TimesUp movements, there has been a very palpable shift in society regarding the treatment and attitudes toward women.
The past 18 months have seen more and more people take stock of what is going on and ask, "Is that really okay?". Very often the answer is "No". As a result, many men (and women) have been called out for their inappropriate actions toward females, and punished in a variety of ways - some were fired, others ghosted from celebrity status, and in many high-profile cases, legal action was taken.
We're living in a time that is referred to as "the fourth wave of feminism", and although many people think "feminism" is a negative word, it literally just stands for gender equality - something I'm sure we can all agree with.
But despite the fact more and more women are speaking out against mistreatment, there has been what many believe to be a "war on men" ignite as a result of these movements. Many men feel targeted and shamed simply for being a man and for having a "masculine" personality, and, most recently, it is a commercial that has driven many men to feel attacked simply for being male.
Yes, shaving and personal care brand Gillette have come under fire for releasing a commercial that Piers Morgan deemed "anti-masculine", and stated that a similar campaign never would have been made about women.
The ad itself explores "toxic masculinity" found in day-to-day life, and even includes clips of news reports from the #MeToo movement.
Check out the video below, and see whether or not you think this was a necessary ad from Gillette:
The advert ends with a play on the brand’s iconic 30-year tagline, “The best a man can get” by using the phrase, “The best men can be”.
As of this writing, the advert has been incredibly unpopular on the video-sharing site, receiving just 512K upvotes, compared to 957K downvotes - leading to one commenter to dub it the "YouTube Rewind 2018 of adverts".
A representative from the shaving brand said the advert was created to "start a positive debate on what it means to be a man.” Elena Valbonesi, Gillette and Venus’ shave care director for Europe, went on to tell The Drum:
“This release in the US is just another step, it’s a bolder step because we want to make a statement. When we look at the younger generations they ask more of brands than just selling them a product… they appreciate Gillette meaning something to them. That’s exactly what we wanted to do and keep doing in the future.”
However, this has led to many people on Twitter - FOR MANY REASONS - letting their opinions about the controversial ad be heard.
Firstly, there were those calling out the brand for being hypocritical, due to the fact Gillette was criticized for just a few years ago for sexism during the "pink tax" debate:
And yes, you can certainly see their point. How can Gillette inform anybody of the correct way to treat anybody else when they are targetting the same product at women and charging them more money.
Piers Morgan wants us all to Boycott Gillette:
Secondly, there were those who agreed with Piers Morgan that the advert was an "attack on men", and have vowed to boycott the brand from now on:
Seriously, people were throwing away their Gillette products out of rage for this commercial:
That's right, people are literally throwing away Gillette products they've already bought (I'm not sure how that sticks it to Gillette) because they were so offended by the ad - many arguing that it encourages "toxic feminism" and "emasculates men".
William Galloway on Twitter raised the point that the suicide rate in males is so high at the moment, and that campaigns like Gillette's only add fuel to that fire, with many other commenters agreeing that Gillette is painting all men with the same brush.
But is this advertisement really an attack on men? Or is it just such a change from the regular, "Men are great! Shave with FIVE POWER BLADES because you're awesome!!" commercial that men are used to?
The following tweets argue that if you're against the message that men need to encourage the next generation of males to be "the best a man can be", then they are part of the problem. Many people also agreed that many of those against the advert are being over-sensitive:
As a man (with a Gillette Fusion 5 Proglide razor, no doubt), I don't really mind the message of the advert - it shows bullies and sexual harassment in a negative light, and what's wrong with that?
But what confuses me the most with this advert is the fact it does nothing in the way to advertise razors to me. I don't watch it and feel the need to go out and buy their products, I watch it and, as a male, think to myself, "Jeez, are men really that bad that we need an advert to remind us to teach our children not to sexually harass women?".
But once again the funniest thing about all of this is the sheer number of commenters attacking "SJW", "soyboys", and "snowflakes", when they are the ones SO annoyed at a commercial, to the point where they are literally throwing their already-paid-for products in the trash and calling for a boycott. The irony is incredible.