Gillette calls out toxic masculinity, controversy follows

Alyssa Bunde
Staff Writer

Gillette, the popular men’s razor company, has put out a new controversial ad that plays on the current #MeToo movement. Through a variety of scenes, the ad showcases different forms of toxic masculinity and calls for men to reconsider if this is the best a man can be. While some applauded the ad, others would have applauded its removal from airing.  

A line of men grilling and robotically repeating, “Boys will be boys”, a business man mansplaining a female colleague’s sentence and multiple newscasters describing the #MeToo movement can all be found in the ad. In the background, a voiceover commented on the need for change and warning men to be aware that, “The boys of tomorrow are watching.” 

Disregarding the “boys of tomorrow,“ the people of today were unimpressed to say the least. Piers Morgan took to Twitter to call the ad a “pathetic global assault on masculinity.” 

Karol Markowicz of Fox News stated, “What we need is to stop insulting men. We can’t elevate women by knocking men down.” 

Many individuals have even called for a boycott of Gillette razors due to their dissatisfaction with the ad.  

However, Minnesota State University, Mankato student, Patrick Kunerth, saw the ad in a different light. Kunerth, after watching the ad, stated, “I can’t believe anyone would feel attacked by that. I think that’s kinda ridiculous. I mean the message is a good message. Men need to respect women, period.” He continued, “If you feel attacked by that then you have a serious problem as a man.” 

When asked why he thought the ad resulted in negative backlash, student Mason Tosager said, “People don’t like change, people are not comfortable with it.” 

Comfortable with the ad or not, it is worth noting that it has sparked a great discussion. What should masculinity look like? Should it be that real men don’t cry, women are less and that “boys will be boys” is a legitimate excuse? Should we allow men to do whatever they want for the sake of being men? Perhaps, like Gillette suggests, we should take a step back and realize, is this really the best we can do? 

This is not to say that all men are misogynistic jerks. However, those who are offended by the ad are probably the individuals who need to hear it the most. I truly believe the greater population of people are good and the other portion just need a gentle nudge in the right direction. However, a hearty push may be better suited for those who actually believe the toxic behavior displayed is fine. 

Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette’s North America brand director, spoke to CNN Business about the controversy. He said, “Actually a discussion is necessary. If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen.” 

Feature photo courtesy of Flickr.

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