Gillette: It’s Time To Shave Off Toxic Masculinity

On January 13, Gillette caused a storm on the internet when they dropped their latest commercial titled ‘We Believe: The Best Men Can Be’. A brand that marketed their slogan as ‘The Best a Man Can Get’ for 30 years, it was a bold move for the company to modify their slogan and release a commercial dealing with controversial issues such as toxic masculinity. As of now, the commercial has over 1.3 million dislikes. Multiple men have even tweeted saying that they would boycott the brand but is the commercial even worth the outrage?

The nearly two-minute commercial starts off by showcasing diverse men while issues related to bullying, the #metoo movement and toxic masculinity are played in the background. The voiceover then asks if this is really ‘the best a man can get?’ and proceeds to show why it is not. By having men in the commercial address one another’s toxic behavior, intervene when other men proceed to catcall women and protect children from bullies, Gillette shows how toxic masculinity can be eliminated.

Some men interpreted the commercial as one that was calling out all men for their toxic behavior but it is important to note that there is a difference between masculinity and toxic masculinity. Masculinity is simply qualities regarded as characteristics of men. These qualities include strength and courage. However, toxic masculinity is when traits associated with masculinity are overemphasized. One such example is when men feel like they cannot express their emotions as they are expected to be emotionally strong. With a commercial that is calling out men to be better, one should view it as a call to action rather than a personal attack.

The most common comment from men who’ve decided to boycott Gillette after watching the commercial is “not all men act like this.” That is true. However, it does not mean that all men do not need to engage in important conversations about sexism, racism and misogyny. Not being the problem does not give you a free pass to avoid engaging in healthy discussions. Talking about important issues such as toxic masculinity is the first step to ensure that society does not continue to perpetuate toxic behaviors.

As complex as masculinity is, I believe that with enough effort, our society will be able to openly have healthy conversations regarding controversial issues and resolve these problems. With a two-minute commercial for a razor brand causing so much controversy, it is clear that our society has a lot of work to do to eliminate toxic masculinity.