This new ad highlighting ‘toxic masculinity’ has triggered men online

Bulgaria Gillette Ad Sparks Online Controversy

On Sunday, popular razor brand Gillette made a bold statement when it released a two-minute video urging men to be "the best men can be", tapping directly into cultural conversations about masculinity but not - detractors have been quick to point out - ever touching on actual shaving.

Expecting them to not do things that we all generally agree are bad shouldn't be too controversial.

"Our ultimate aim is to groom the next generation of men, and if any of this helps even in a little way we'll consider that a success", he said. Through a series of scenes, the viewer is confronted with how deeply entrenched gender inequalities really are, and how crucial #MeToo and subsequent movements have been in forcing us to change.

The ad, titled 'We Believe, ' begins with shots of different men looking in the mirror as audio of news about the #MeToo movement plays in the background.

The commercial shows men and boys in action as bullies, cat-callers, perverts, and sexual harassers. "But some is not enough because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow". But society wants us to believe that masculinity breeds such behavior - that inside the heart of every man is a bully and a boor. Gillette's attempt to update its image by perpetuating stereotypes of "toxic masculinity", thereby joining the liberal-controlled media bandwagon, has isolated many of its customers. Then a man scolding another man who was making cat calls.

Anti-feminist blogger Matt Walsh also didn't like the ad, and he tweeted a joke about how ridiculous the ad is since bullying is never sanctioned by adults, and boys never cheer on their friends when they bully someone, which would come as a surprise to a lot of bullies out there.

Even if you don't remember ever seeing a Gillette razor commercial, you've nearly certainly heard or seen their iconic catchphrase, "The best a man can get".

However, despite backlash, it sounds like the company has no plans to pull the spot. And how dare some company say that perhaps men should also act better.

"Instead of asking them to fit into a preconceived notion of what being a man is, we asked them how they define masculine", said Saroufim.

That declaration is exactly right, and, frankly, impossible to refute. The brand, which has mistakenly mailed free razors intended for 18-year-old men to middle-age women, has tried to stay fresh by experimenting with personalised 3D-printed razor handles and designing blades for sensitive skin. We are complicit simply by being the beneficiaries of a culture that devalues women, and that realization is beginning to take root.

Gillette's decision to take a stance was always going to be risky, according to branding experts.



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