The best men can be
This is the tagline that Gillette introduced through its latest commercial on toxic masculinity. It includes some clips of sexism in a boardroom, news excerpts about the #MeToo movement and violence between boys, asking the question, is this the best a man can get?
The obvious answer is, of course, no. It would definitely be better if boys were taught that active play is okay, but violent play is not. And it would be wonderful if all pussy-grabbing and cat-calling would come to an end. It seems like it’s not so much to ask, right?
Wrong. The mere suggestion of this commercial is apparently wildly offensive to masses of people and has resulted in the collective flushing of razors (#EcoDisaster) and overall banning of Gillette. Apparently, suggesting that men should sometimes try to be nicer and hold each other accountable is not only “emasculating”, but “properganda” and part of “the current pathetic global assault on masculinity”.
I’ve tried putting down in words the sheer ridiculousness of this all, but honestly, it feels like having to explain that water is wet. Yet the majority of the viewers on YouTube have disliked this video, saying that it is shoving all men into the same box of rapist bullies (a far stretch from the actual words of the commercial), and that this is why you don’t let women direct a commercial for a men’s product. A reaction which, if anything, only proves the point of the advert.
I don’t know what to tell these people. I don’t know how you can not only disagree, but even be strongly offended by the suggestion that we should all try to be better people. I just can’t relate. If you truly could not identify with the behaviour portrayed in this commercial, would you really be this offended? Do you really think that you are already the best men can be? Because honestly, all this Twitter-rage and YouTube-hate is not showing it. This really is not the best men can be. So please, even if you’re not a rapist or a bully, just do better. Be better. Not because Gillette says so, but because it’s the right thing to do.