Gillette's Sharp New Ad

Shaving is a trope used for ages as a standard father/son activity. Once a boy reaches a certain age, a dad takes his son, sets him on top of a stool, leans towards the mirror and instructs him how to get a close shave. Shaving is a sort of coming-of-age symbol, an entrance into adult hygienic responsibilities. What Gillette plays at in its new ad is that fathers should also show their sons how to be the best man they can be as they begin to enter the world on their own. 

In the harsh light thrust on toxic masculinity in the past year and a half through the #MeToo movement, Gillette decided to add their two cents, and while it may cost them some cash from offended viewers, it may also gain them even more dedicated consumers. 

Those who embrace the commercial and its message are sharing this post rapidly; in just four days, it has been viewed over 17.6 million times. But for every like on the video, there are two dislikes. Many men felt attacked by this ad, saying it was "gender shaming" men by depicting them as harassing, bull-headed, aggressive creatures. With 888,000 dislikes currently, a call for a boycott is erupting across social media platforms. 

A Fox newscaster responded with, “Does Gillette want men to start shaving their legs, too?”

Yikes. I could write an entire feature just on that response. 

Another sort of unexpected response is from those who are calling the company out for simply acting on a "hot topic" and using it to make a profit. The same thing could be said for Nike’s commercial in blatant support of Colin Kaepernick. Expecting any sort of high morals from massive corporations is no safe bet; their purpose is not to represent, but rather to survive in the market. By creating a heated conversation among viewers, Gillette is getting exactly what they hoped for—publicity. 

Overall, the the commercial actually promotes a good standard of behavior that everyone, not just men, should uphold. Stopping bullies, treating others with respect, empowering others—things every person should know to do, but sometimes doesn’t. The reason this commercial is directed towards men is because it's focused towards the rising generation in reference to the #MeToo movement and allowing women to live their lives without having to be fearful of the men around them, which is an unfortunate reality for many. 

Regardless of who agrees with the ad or believes the intentions behind it, this can be said for all who watch it: it made us think. It made us form an opinion, or consider another opinion, which is what it was made to do. By using the platform that advertises primarily to men, they use the razor as a symbol of the responsibility one takes on when they hit adolescence and associates that responsibility with the social responsibilities we should all take on as we walk through our everyday lives. Gillette wants their customers to “get closer to our best,” and that’s a message I can get behind. Perhaps someday the company will adhere to these standards and address the pink tax added onto their women-focused products.  

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