Culture&Arts

New Gillette Ad Targets ‘Toxic Masculinity’

New Gillette Ad Targets ‘Toxic Masculinity’

A new ad from Gillette has racked up seven million views and counting and sparked calls for a boycott of the razor company's products. As it goes on, it suggests more constructive behaviors, showing men breaking up fights, dissuading their friends from calling out at women on the street, and encouraging their daughters.

Gillette said it wanted men to hold each other "accountable" and before production their team consulted men across the United States, conducted their own research, and spoke to experts on masculinity.

The ad has been watched more than 2 million times on YouTube in 48 hours. But some is not enough.

In another part of the video, a row of fathers declaring "boys will be boys" at two boys fighting are shown to be the bad guys, before one father intervenes and says, "That's not how we treat each other, okay?"

And the fact that the message has provoked a boycott instead of reflection underlines both how hard -and how necessary - the task of challenging gender norms is.

CBN News contributor Chuck Holton has written a book about the issue called Making Men, which teaches boys how to grow into manhood and shows the lack of good masculinity in society today.

Others (mostly men) feel condescended to and attacked by the video's message.

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Gillette questioned its former tagline and the meaning of being "the best" in its new ad tackling toxic masculinity.

The commercial also features a clip of actor Terry Crews, a victim of sexual assault, saying: "Men need to hold other men accountable". "Because it's only by challenging ourselves to do more that we get closer to our best".

Catharine Lumby, a media studies professor at Macquarie University, said it made sense for Gillette to take a corporate stance on a social issue.

Despite this, the video has attracted a lot of negative reactions, mainly from men who didn't like being told how to act. "Since then, it has been an aspirational statement, reflecting standards that many men strive to achieve", Gillette explains on its website.

Gillette are being criticised on Twitter for their latest advertising campaign. "Militant feminism on the march, a bunch of angry women blaming men for their overall unhappiness now taking it out on men at large for their own unhappiness".

Along with the message, Gillette announced it will be donating $1 million a year for the next three years to various nonprofit organizations created to help men of all ages achieve their personal best.

Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette's brand director for North America, has pushed back against the criticism. There's a stereotype that feminists hate men, but the opposite seems to be true: Anti-feminists who claim to be defending men are the ones who actually seem to have a fairly low opinion of them.