I SEEM to be the only person on the Right who is not losing their mind over the new Gillette advertisement.
— Gillette (@Gillette) January 14, 2019
It opens with clips of the #MeToo scandal, sexual harassment and a group of fathers looking on at two scrapping lads chanting ‘boys will be boys.’
The ad goes on to say: ‘We believe in the best in men.’ It continues by showing one man stopping another man from leering at a woman in the street, a father encouraging his daughter to say: ‘I am strong’ and two fathers in two different scenarios stepping in to stop boys fighting, one saying: ‘That’s not how we treat each other.’ It ends with the statement: ‘The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.’
Overall, I like this advertisement. It is true, I could have done without the first part and I absolutely hate the term ‘toxic masculinity’, but I also dislike it when people take any excuse to get offended. The truth is, if you are offended by this clip then maybe you should get out more. There is a debate going on right now about what it takes to be a ‘good man’ and quite frankly I like what Gillette are suggesting. It’s not perfect but it’s not ‘insulting to all men’ and implying all men are rapists either, as many on the Right are suggesting.
Casting my positive eye over this clip, what I see first is the message that men are important to society and how men behave shapes society. This is arguably a radical message in the era of books and slogans such as ‘The end of Men’ and ‘The future is female’. (And yes I understand the commercial imperative here for Gillette, who need men to buy their products.)
Second, what I see in the clip is men taking the lead and protecting the weak. When was the last time you saw a commercial make this case? What I see is the importance of fathers in moulding both girls and boys. It is absolutely right to say that ‘the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow’ and we know children learn from what they live, see and hear and if all they see and hear are misogynistic rap videos (Gillette puts them in the toxic category which is absolutely correct) and women being objectified then there will be serious trouble ahead for society.
Believe you me, this could have gone the other way. This could have had all the men in the kitchen cooking with baby on hip while the women runs out the door with laptop in hand. That will probably come next. Is it perfect? Of course not. But it is a start because we do need men to take a lead. We do need men to protect the weak. Sadly, some men prefer to do what the left always done – stay in a perpetual state of offence taking. That, is certainly not what masculinity should be about.