The company known for making razors and other shaving products recently put out a new ad. This ad has stirred up much controversy because it is absurd, offensive, and condescending. The ad begins with images and sound bites suggesting that men engage in all kinds of misogynistic activities, are prone to bullying, and condone sexual harassment. It then tells us that this started changing with the #MeToo movement. But does anyone really think that, after watching others condemn Harvey Weinstein for his egregious crimes, men suddenly realized, “Oh, maybe sexual harassment is a bad thing”? No, of course not. It has long been the consensus among everybody that rape and sexual assault are horrible evils. Not one person suddenly changed their minds about that just because of the #MeToo movement, or because of this ad. It is deeply insulting for Gillette to assume that we have to be taught that rape is unacceptable.
Then, the ad centers around the phrase “boys will be boys,” suggesting that people are using that to justify terrible behavior. But never have I witnessed a kid pummeling someone else while the adults nod on saying, “boys will be boys.” And despite that “boys will be boys” does not function as an excuse, it holds meaning to it. Boys should be allowed to be boys and not have their masculinity be suppressed. Wrestling is a way to express their energy, and as long as no one is getting hurt, it is better for them to do that than to do worse things.
Some have mentioned that Gillette’s new ad is [a] message to be better, to achieve greater ends. However, while it is true that we must all strive to be our best selves, that is no reason to suppress masculinity, to vilify it, or to degrade it. Men and masculinity has [sic] brought much good to this world, just as femininity has. Can anybody imagine if the ad had said, “(Women need to help other women) act the right way, some already are?” Many people would be, rightly so, enraged. There is an awful double standard being forwarded by this ad. Or imagine that instead of saying boys should be more like girls, we tried forcing girls to become more like boys. That would be insane.
Our world does not suffer from an abundance of masculinity, it suffers from a lack of it. The lack of fatherly, male figures from many households all over the Earth has greatly damaged societies. Masculinity can be channeled to do different things, to destroy and to create. When there are men in the household to keep the boys in check, these boys generally grow up to be reliable, hardworking, and honorable people. But single motherhood has been on the rise, and with it many other societal problems. This new ad is not only unhelpful, it is insulting and widens the partisan divide in our country. If we continue to force masculinity out of society, “the boys watching today will still be boys tomorrow.”
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