Recently Gillette, a company for razors and personal care items, posted a short ad that challenged viewers to dig deeper and ask themselves "Is this the best a man can get?" Some of the main themes included toxic masculinity and sexual harassment.
Gillette's 'We believe: the best men can be' commercial www.youtube.com
Within just 24 hours the video went viral on Twitter and YouTube, but a lot of the publicity the ad has gotten has been anything but positive.
Am I honestly shocked at how much backlash the commercial has gotten?
Yes and no.
There are always going to be trolls accompanied by a viral post no matter what the topic is, but the fact that the amount of negative commentary has been so abundant surprises me. I took the commercial as a message that men as a whole aren't inherently douche bags—so when there are a group of guys who give men a bad name, it's up to other men to hold them accountable.
Other people took it differently:
To some degree, I get it. Toxic masculinity is a misunderstood topic that may seem insulting on the surface. Also, everyone's definition of what it means to be masculine is different. I've always believed that it's the epitome of strength. In general, I think of masculinity the same way I think of large stones. Masculinity is a fortress. However, it can't reach its fullest potential if there are cracks in the foundation.
When people talk about toxic masculinity, it's not a statement that bashes all men. Toxic masculinity is rooted in the fact that men are far more likely than women to die by suicide anywhere in the world due to the pressures of being a "real man." Toxic masculinity is shorthand for the brainwashing messages that men receive about their persona being encompassed by violence, sex, and aggression.
The overall message is not to insinuate that masculinity is bad. There is nothing wrong with an alpha male who goes to the gym to get swoll, takes the lead at his job, and provides for his family. But an alpha man also understands that no means no. He also doesn't feel the need to tear down others just to boost his ego. He doesn't rationalize shitty behavior just to fit in with the crowd.
Gillette's ad is just a visual way to show people that men shouldn't fall any shorter of a high-minded standard and if you're personally offended by that then I want you to take a minute to do some soul searching and ask yourself why.