During these times its nearly impossible to go on social media without seeing the polarizing commentary regarding political issues. The latest thing to divide the internet has been a controversial Gillette ad.
In short, the ad asks men to do better, stop making excuses and hold each other accountable for our actions. While the message is positive and progressive, a large portion of viewers in the videos comment section overlooked that message and instead found issue with how men were generalized in the video.
The first half of the video shows men displaying toxic behavior, asserting dominance over women in the workplace, and at one point shows them all nodding their heads agreeing that “boys will be boys.”
While this depiction of men was unsettling to some, Gillette got its message across. The video was made to make men upset and think of why they are being depicted that way.
After watching it a few times, I started to understand why that generalization was important and it has to do with what actor Terry Crews says around the one-minute mark; “Men need to hold other men ac- countable.” This ad is made for men, by men, by a company that promotes the idea of men being “The Best a Man Can Get.”
As a man and as a father, I understand my duty to respect women, ask for consent, and raise my son to do the same, which is why I couldn’t identify with the men in the video. The truth is: Yes, some men don’t identify with this portrayal, but some men are not all men.
Gillette is asking men to hold each other accountable for our actions. If we are upset that the world is “shaming” men and categorizing us with bullies and those who commit sexual assault, the logical thing to do would be to conquer that stigma and show we are not part of the problem.
Even if we think some men feel they aren’t the problem, but know a friend or colleague who does harass someone yet we don’t speak up, we aren’t doing our job as men. By not holding those men accountable we inadvertently endorse the behavior and become part of the problem.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement bringing forth countless accusations of sexual harassment against men, it’s time for men and for society to take a step back to examine their actions.