By now, most of us have seen Gillette’s new commercial. Toxic masculinity has always been a subject that we’ve tiptoed around. You understand, right? We’re two dudes and our general perspective on shit comes from a straight male pov. But when we saw the commercial and subsequent ‘backlash’, we wanted to address this shit head on….so let’s get into it.
Idris Gray: Sooooo I guess I’ll start by saying that as a black man whose suffered razor bumps like many black men… We can’t even use these Gillette razors. Those double triple and quadruple blade shit don’t work for us. Stay away, men. Use Bevel if you must. Although beards are in IF you can grow one.
F. Dougie: Yeah, I’m right there with you, fam. Shoutouts to Tristan Walker at Bevel. We all know Gillette. We’ve been bombarded with the cheesy “Best a Man Can Get” commercials since we were old enough to start watching the NFL. It’s no coincidence that the league is Gillette’s biggest client and is currently embroiled in several scandals of its own, but that’s a conversation for another time (Super Bowl Sunday).
If you haven’t seen the commercial yet, there are scenes where bullies pick on smaller kids. Images of cyberbullying, and niggas with no game trying to holla at women doing nothing other than trying to walk down the street. Sure, parts of the commercial were a little cheesy. Sure, a gang of actual bullies chasing the nerdy kid down the street for a beatdown was a little over the top, but again, We’re thinking that Gillette is trying to take a little responsibility in an era where the current message to young men is “You’ve gotta grab ‘em by the pussy” (Y’alls president. Not my President).
Kids hear and see more than we think. They emulate their parents and their role models. Unless I’m completely mistaken and totally missed the point of this commercial, the message was to show the next generation that men have a responsibility to correct some of the issues that we are causing in our society today.
Company history aside, the message of the commercial was pretty straight forward. “Men, we can do better”. Not particularly controversial. Right? Apparently, it was. Currently, the ad has been down-voted twice as many times as its been up-voted on YouTube (another safe-haven for trolls, racists, and misinformation. See also; Facebook and Twitter). The comments are toxic (don’t ever read the comments).
Idris Gray: I too thought that parts of the commercial were extremely cheesy, but it was all to make a clear statement. One that bothered a lot of people. What was the statement? To me, it was simply that we need to OBJECTIVELY look at what we consider normal male behavior and question if it’s acceptable. The next question we have to ask ourselves is why were people so outraged by something as innocuous as a T.V. ad? I think it’s because to them it wasn’t so harmless. People really felt attacked by the T.V. telling them they should be better people.
Let us not be fooled by the “I don’t like shaving blade companies to be political” talk. These people were hella butthurt. They got super defensive protecting their freedom to be assholes. There were some who were offended because they believe the ad in some way paints all men in a negative light. Well, the ad clearly showed examples of men being dicks, and others doing the right thing. But of course, people will feel attacked and threatened by the characters they closely identify with.
F. Dougie: You are right. The same fuckbois saying they don’t want shaving companies being political are probably the same ones saying that athletes being political. Ask Muhammed Ali, Jim Brown, Jackie Robinson, and Lebron James what they think of “shut up and play”. )Not Jordan tho. Because “Republicans buy sneakers too”.)
OF COURSE, muthafuckers took it personally:
“I’m never using Gillette products again!“ (Yeah you will)
“It’s ok to be a white heterosexual man” (You’re off topic dude…Also, it’s so hard for Y’all out there right now, huh?)
“Not all men are monsters!” (See: Entire White House staff)
“Make America Great Again!” (Didn’t see that one coming….)
If this commercial really triggered you, aren’t you part of the problem? If you have a problem with being told to “be a little better”, aren’t you a symptom of the actual disease that we’re trying to eradicate from our society? I’m sayin, I don’t pretend to be a perfect man or even a perfect ally. Lord knows that’s not even for me to decide. But when did asking to improve attitudes on things like catcalling women on the streets, stepping in to stop bullying, mansplaining, and sexual harassment become too much to ask? Does it matter what company is doing the asking?
There is a reason that people are asking to destroy the patriarchy in its entirety. Maybe the reason is that there are cowards are in the comments sections lamenting about being “castrated by a men’s razor company”. Turns out, if Gillette’s sales are hurt in the short-term, it won’t be by much because you actually need testicles to be castrated. In some cases, it looks like no razor is needed.
Idris Gray: Preach fam. Listen, at this moment in time where masculinity is being challenged, (in my opinion) many men have become increasingly afraid of losing a perceived notion of what makes men, men. You need to be a brute. You need to be insensitive, you need to be outspoken and unwilling to compromise. You need to be crude and brash and even rude. In other words, you need to be like Donald Trump.
F. Dougie: Ouch…I don’t see the lie tho.
Idris Gray: I know what you are going to say, “Here we go, OB is going at the Donald again!”. Look, there are lots of men in all our lives who fit this bill. Trump is just the most notorious at the moment. He’s characterized a whole crop of men and people in general who feel empowered to do what whatever they want. To be racist, misogynistic and homophobic. Well in case you haven’t heard, no matter how naturally this behavior comes to you, it isn’t acceptable. Real men understand this. And Gillette, no matter their real intentions here (which I believe to be solely economic in nature) are letting us know that we need to evaluate ourselves.