Gillette's "The Best Men Can Be" Shouldn't Be Controversial

Gillette’s new ad that aired on January 13 sparked major controversy.  The video seeks to address bullying and sexual harassment that is pervasive among men in our society. On YouTube, the video currently has over one million dislikes. Most of the youtube commenters speak ill of Gillette and their stance on “The Best Men Can Be.”

You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0

The voice over reads, “Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can’t hide from it, it’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses. But something finally changed, and there will be no going back. Because we -- we believe in the best in men. To say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”

It’s upsetting, though not a total surprise, to see so many men condemn the message in this ad and feel attacked by Gillette stating that things that need to change. Some have said that the video is accusing all men of hate and malice, but it clearly says, “to act the right way. Some already are. . .”  Gillette is not saying that all men are bad, but that there are those who are and that men need to start holding each other accountable for the wrongdoings that others might commit.

Too often men will let things slide. See something they know isn’t right but laugh it off because of friendship or brotherhood, but acts like these cause pain without boundary. Gillette is not attempting to attack masculinity, but rather toxic masculinity -- the kind of behaviour characterized by aggression, status, violence, and sex.

Thanks to the survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo Movement men who have done wrong are finally being called out. This ad is meant to illuminate the issues of today’s society and asks us if we can see the truth of it.

In a world where the president of the united states says things like, “grab ‘em by the pussy,” it seems that many men are showing their true colors. It shouldn’t have to be controversial that a company posts an ad that is only asking men to be decent human beings. This should be taught by fathers and mothers and school teachers and friends. This shouldn’t be a crazy idea.

Sexual harassment and bullying is never acceptable. We can’t keep letting “boys be boys.” We can’t change the past, but we all can help make a better future for everyone, regardless of their gender.