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Image / Editorial

‘The Best Men Can Be’: Gillette’s new ad calls out toxic masculinity


by Erin Lindsay
15th Jan 2019

“Boys will be boys…”

“I think what she’s trying to say is…”

“Smile, sweetie.”

When was the last time you noticed some subtle sexism weeding its way into a conversation? Toxic masculinity, in language, culture, politics, society, anywhere, is a massive problem, and one that has only started to be addressed by massive movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp recently.

But while these movements are largely centred around women, the problem of how toxic masculinity affects (and can be prevented by) men is an issue that is still unresolved.

The Best Men Can Be

Gillette has taken a step to address that. The men’s shaving brand, well-known for its tagline “The Best a Man Can Get”, has made waves online with the release of its new advertisement, in which it deals with bullying, sexual harassment and gender roles. It also implores men to take responsibility for their, and other men’s, actions.

With a whole new tagline, reading “The Best Men Can Be”, the ad shows a variety of different situations in which toxic masculinity rears its head; whether it’s a father’s response of “boys will be boys” when his son is in a fight; or a chorus of laughter at a sexist joke on a TV show.

Related: Stop talking about the definition of toxic masculinity
and start tackling the problem 

The ad then goes on to show how men can, in the words of Terry Crews, “hold other men accountable” — calling out sexism when they see it, correcting friends’ problematic behaviour and stepping in to defend others against injustice.

In such a time of change, where men and women are unsure of how to handle difficult situations like these, Gillette makes the important point that setting a good example is not just important for now; it’s important for future generations too.

Not everyone is pleased

The men’s brand is one of the first to make a stand in their advertising against sexism and toxic masculinity, but it hasn’t been well received by everyone. Many social media users made crude jokes in response to the ad, and many Twitter users accused the brand of ‘pandering’ to the media, and of ‘virtue signalling’.

However, many others were huge fans of Gillette’s work and praised them for their brave stance.

Watch the ad here:

Photo: Gillette

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