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17 Jan

Gillette ad gets backlash over calling out toxic masculinity

Gillette

A Gillette advertisement which addresses bullying and toxic masculinity amidst the global #MeToo movement has ended up getting backlash for challenging pre-conceived gender stereotypes.

The razor brand – which has always promoted a biased and chauvinistic male ethos – has finally stepped up and changed the company’s 30-year-old tagline for the better. The short film has been watched over 10 million times on YouTube. While currently 215K people have given a ‘thumbs up’ to the video, more than double have disliked it (574K) which is alarming considering a sane person can’t possibly find anything wrong with the ad.

Featuring a clip from Gillette’s previous ad, the ad has raised a question: “Bullying, the #MeToo movement, toxic masculinity… Is this the best a man can get?”

 

Gillette

A scene from Gillette’s ad ‘We Believe’

 

Further it shows examples of positive behavior such as stepping in to prevent these misdemeanors. The campaign, which is titled ‘We Believe’, sends out a message of refraining from making excuses like ‘boys will be boys’ and asks men to be better.

“We believe in the best in men,” the voice-over says, “to say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are; in ways big and small.”

The ad then shows some real-life clips of men calling out their friends’ bad behavior and intervening in fights among young males. On the other hand, it also shows office environments where women are either victims of gaslighting or their efforts are trivialised by male counterparts. “But some is not enough,” the ad continues. “Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”

A largely patriarchal mindset and narrowly defined notions of femininity and masculinity have harmed all genders – not just women – for decades. This has been a prime reason for why boys suppress their feelings and become passive-aggressive. Thankfully, now people and brands have started a conversation about it and are taking active measures to bring about a change.

However, men are unreasonable offended by the campaign and are calling it unnecessary male bashing. Some are even going to the extent of boycotting the product:

 

 

 

The backlash faced by the Gillette’s ad goes on to show exactly why we need to start a discussion about gender norms to make society more tolerant and acceptable.

Watch the advertisement and let us know what you think:

 

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Syeda Zehra

The author is Assistant Editor at Something Haute. A journalist by profession, the writer has a penchant for films, fashion and music.