Kind of insane that a razor company captured most of our attention by deciding to make an ad to collect some political grift points, but, alas, this is today and everything must be political. So, because it is today and everything must be political, let’s talk about it.
Before we get into what Gillette should’ve said, it’s important that we look at what was said or implied. There was some good and some bad, and it wasn’t as black and white as you would’ve assumed by the reaction.
The beginning of the ad is good. It speaks out against bullying, sexual harassment, the objectification of women, and the belittling of women in business. All of which are good to oppose.
The ad then goes to Terry Crews saying, “Men need to hold other men accountable” in front of Congress. This is also good and 100% correct. At the 1:10 mark, it shows a young man introducing a friend– who doesn’t seem to fit in too well– to his friends, who then accept him. Awesome scene. It shows a father lifting his daughter. Again, awesome.
Furthermore, it shows a dad running over to save a small kid from the bullies– perfect for Gillette’s message of courage and protection. This is exactly what a man should do.
Finally, it shows the sons looking up to their fathers. This should be the highlight of the ad because all fathers should know their sons are looking up to them for guidance. Their sons are going to grow up to be what they see.
The overarching issue with the ad is that it conflates traditional masculinity with toxic masculinity. It assumes that most men need to change because, at best, they are enablers to other bad men, and, at worst, they’re bullies, rapists, misogynists, etc. This is a false and irresponsible assertion. Being a real man is the literal antithesis of toxic masculinity.
For example, closer to the beginning of the ad, it shows two kids wrestling in the yard with all the dads looking on and saying, “Boys will be boys.” Well, they will, and there’s nothing wrong with kids wrestling in the yard while their dads watch on. It’s 100% normal and natural. The scene implies that, because of this playful wrestling, the kid on top is going to grow up to be a bully and an abuser. That’s a careless assertion.
Then, towards the middle, it shows a guy about to approach a young woman who he finds attractive and his friend stops him and says, “Not cool.” What exactly is not cool? How are you supposed to meet new people if you can’t approach them?
The scene assumes that this typical man, for all we know, had immoral intentions because he found a girl attractive and wanted to talk to her.
What They Should’ve Said
The ad certainly could have carried a better message. They could’ve prompted fathers to raise their sons in a way more related to traditional masculinity instead of insinuating that, if they do, their sons will grow up to be jerks and pigs. They could’ve sent the message that fathers should raise their sons to be decent, strong men who protect women and those who are vulnerable. What they needed to do is show exactly what a traditionally masculine man would do in those situations.
Here’s how they could’ve done that:
In the board meeting, where the male (not a real man) is being a straight jerk to the woman, they could’ve had a man speak up. A man could’ve spoke up and said, “Oh, no, I understand what she was saying. She was saying…” It would’ve shown the challenger that maybe it was just him who didn’t understand and that someone else was actually paying attention to her.
They should’ve expanded on the Terry Crews scene by adding more to that narrative. He’s absolutely right; men should hold other men accountable. In no circumstance does a real man enable a sexual abuser. Men should protect women. This is one of the core tenets of traditional masculinity. However, it takes a strong man, mentally and physically, like Terry Crews, to do this.
Additionally, more scenes showing the fathers doing these acts in front of their children would be good. Showing that kids are looking up to their fathers for guidance would be a great message. The bully scene was really good for this. It should’ve been the main story of the ad.
If they would’ve just done all this, kept the good, and cut the bad, they would’ve really shown “the best a man can get.” It would’ve shown how traditional masculinity is good for society and how it will benefit us in the future when our sons take our place.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.