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A Delayed Reaction to Toxic Masculinity and Overpriced Razors

A common reaction to a modern feminist dialogue from men who may disagree is “being a man is hard too.” A few years ago, we saw the hashtag #notallmen. Not all men are bad. “Real” men stand up for others and treat everyone equally.


Many people were saying this years ago. Where is this same sentiment now that Gillette has released an ad condemning toxic masculinity and encouraging men to step up and be better?


Yes, being a man is hard. There’s a societal box you’re put in which is in many ways more rigid than the alternative for females. Masculinity is rough and tumble. Masculinity doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s muscles, facial and body hair, taking command directly. The only definition of “feminine” is “not masculine.” Do you realize how many alternatives to these women can work with? Being a woman is super hard, but I would admittedly not last a day as a dude. (Which is to say I cannot last a day without crying in public.)


Toxic masculinity is not masculinity.


Toxic masculinity is not masculinity.


Men can be great. Just like anyone can be great. And men can be awful, just like anyone can be awful. Men can be kind and just and resourceful and solve problems and help everyone around them grow, and on top of all that still have a beard and drink beer and fix cars. My dad does it. Lots of other men I know do it, too.


The problem isn’t being a man. The problem is the pressure to be a dick, just because you’re a man.


If any men reading this have never felt pressure to be sexually inappropriate toward a woman, or reject your feelings and rely only on logic and/or violence, or automatically assume yourself in charge of the women around you, that’s amazing. You’re doing great. But lots of men have. It’s the idea that being a man can’t be multifaceted that is toxic. Being a man isn’t toxic.


I adore that Gillette commercial because it celebrates what manhood can and should look like. (Keep in mind, this is coming from the perspective of someone whose best male friend is her dog.) It’s being bold without being a jerk. To “man up” is to do what’s right even if it’s hard.


And yeah, I fully acknowledge the fact that this message is being exploited to sell a couple blades. But I like that they’re using their platform to start a conversation.


Maybe next we’ll address the fact that a razor company invented the beauty standard of women having shaved legs and underarms. But in the meantime, I’ll savor this small victory.

Kait Wilbur is an aggressively optimistic individual obsessed with sitcoms, indie music, and pop culture in general. She hails from Manito, a rural wasteland in Illinois so small and devoid of life that she took up writing to amuse herself. Kait goes to Butler University to prepare for a career in advertising, but all she really wants to do is talk about TV for a living. You can find her at any given moment with her earbuds in pretending to do homework but actually looking at surrealist memes.
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