The cynical abuse of people’s attempts to be “woke” continues unabated with the latest Gillette ad: mark my words, the company and the executives behind it don’t care and are probably some of the types of men the ad is aimed at. They’re just using what is the current popular culture direction to seem down with the cause as corporations are wont to do. That most people don’t see the cynicism inherent in this ploy is sort of sad, but ah well. Ironically, many of these people are also of the same vein that think corporations are bad. (Corporations can be good or bad, obviously, depending on who is running them.)
The biggest problem with this cynical ad is that it highlights some pretty bad behavior and asks, “Is this the best a man can get?” That’s unadulterated propaganda. Highlighting bad behavior by a small number of a group and extrapolating it out as the best behavior of the group is lazy, discriminatory, and a good way to infuriate the members of your audience with a couple of brain cells to rub together. They also attempt to conflate some regular male behavior (kids wrestling in a harmless fashion) with sexual harassment and worse. This is intellectually vapid and extremely dishonest.
Imagine an ad that conflated girls playing with dolls and the stereotypical nagging hag-wife of a sitcom, or with false rape accusations, or paternity fraud. Put the same spin on behaviors of other groups — be they ethnic groups, religious groups, or sexual orientations — and immediately the same folks praising this ad would call foul.
But aside from that this is also a company that, from what I hear, charges more for the same product but in pink and marketed to women. The sheer hypocrisy in this should not be lost on anyone: they’re in it for the dollars and cents, and if that means a pink razor costs ten cents more per blade, or that they run a divisive ad lambasting all men for the behavior of some, then that is what they will do.
Another aspect that should not be lost on viewers: for thirty years this company has traded in building up masculinity and masculine behavior, and used implied sex to sell their razors. Why the sudden change? Because money, like everything else they do. But the problem they’re finding now is that a lot of us refuse to be shamed for the bad behavior of others. I’m also not buying into this idea that male behavior is in any way “toxic” on any large scale: if it was things would be a lot worse. The reality is, like most crimes, these things are inflicted on others by a small, yet busy, minority of people.
Of course, the Gillette commercial also totally avoids actually tackling real issues: the correlation between children growing up without fathers or father figures, and general societal ills. We’re at the end of nearly a half century of institutionalizing the attitude that kids don’t need male influences, and now somehow masculinity is to blame for all the ills of the world? Give me a break.
As a parting thought, perhaps everyone who has been spending the last… well, as far back as I can remember… blaming men for things and attempting to group us all together as sinners should wonder if maybe that is part of the reason the male suicide rate is so high? I mean, last I heard just white men in the United States represented 70% of all suicides. Not attempts: suicides. Some men may be bad, but end to end, men tend to die at work more and commit suicide more than any other group. Maybe stop demonizing boys play-fighting so much and ask if maybe, just maybe, that society failing men and boys might be a part of the problem?