“We can’t hide from it. It’s been going on for far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses, ‘boys will be boys’.” – Gillette
The first time I was ever catcalled was in seventh grade. I was a 13-year-old girl being harassed by a grown man. To say I was terrified is an understatement. Seeing a man at least 20 years older than me trying to hit on me was a shock to my system. From then on I have been catcalled more times than I can count and even followed home by men before. The problem is that this behavior is so normalized that I started to not even think twice when someone would whistle or yell at me.
As I got into college, I have met multiple women who have confided in me their stories of sexual assault. For people to say that women don’t have to deal with these issues is ignorant because as tragic as it is, it is more common than we think.
When women are sexually harassed or assaulted, the tables are often turned on them. They get asked questions like, what was she wearing? How much did she drink? It is so common for people to believe the man. Women have always been critiqued and attacked. This is the case in the slew of advertisements that tell women to look or act a certain way. We are held to a high standard of how we should present ourselves. When a woman doesn’t follow the mold that we are expected to follow, she is ostracized and seen as unladylike.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need campaigns that call men out on their inappropriate behavior, but these are still issues that need to be addressed.
That is what Gillette does in it’s latest commercial. The commercial calling for men to behave better has caused an absolute frenzy. The ad tackles issues like bullying and sexual harassment, urging for men to change because they, “believe in the best in men. To say the right thing to act the right way.” Gillette poses the question: is this the best a man can get?
A major shaving product for men raising this critical and progressive question demonstrates that we have come a long way when it comes to equality. We are progressing when it comes to treating women with respect and holding men accountable for their actions. We see this in the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements. Both of these movements fought against sexual assault and the abuse of power. But the reactions to this commercial proves that we still have a long way to go.
Men and some women cried that this commercial was offensive and sexist. They were shocked that a commercial could call men out and felt as if being masculine was posed as a crime. On YouTube, the video currently has 759,000 likes and 1.4 million dislikes.
“Men are bad, women are victims?” commented YouTube user Michael Bonney. “Gillette just going with the mainstream narrative of PC culture. Congrats Gillette, you sold out.”
On Twitter, hashtag “#gilletteboycott” is used by men to express their anger.
“If only people realized that the liberals attempt to kill masculinity is only a disguise to their attempt to kill the Conservative party and values that the USA was built on!” User @ljp1017 wrote.
Seeing the outrage this commercial caused is baffling and disheartening. As a woman, it feels like men believe the issues we constantly go through aren’t important enough to be addressed.
The thing is, no one is trying to eliminate masculinity. The point of the ad was to show what women and men go through at the hands of toxic masculinity. Keyword: toxic. In the video, “Fathers & Sons React to Controversial Gillette Ad”, the men who had a problem with the ad claimed it was generalizing men and that not all women have to deal with these issues.
The reaction to this commercial, which is combating and discouraging bullying and sexual assault, only further proves the point of this ad that yes, toxic masculinity is alive and well in our society.
There is no reason to be offended by this commercial. This commercial is showing that men can be better people. The end of the ad shows men interfering in inappropriate situations and holding other men accountable. There are great men out there, but even the greatest of all men should not be able to turn a blind eye to the way toxic masculinity is damaging. If you don’t see yourself as the toxic men in the video, then you should not feel attacked.
For the people who feel like this video is offensive and unnecessary, you are part of the problem.