Gillette is under fire for a new ad which ostensibly addresses “toxic masculinity.” According to the ad, men traditionally engage in or excuse sexual harassment, sexual assault, bullying, and more. The goal of the ad is to stop these behaviors.
Speaking as a Catholic who was bullied and teased a lot as a child – two classmates apologized once we were adults, and another student’s mother apologized to my father – I appreciated this ad. As someone who has always striven to treat women with respect and chastity, I found the ad valuable. And as a man who only as an adult realized that men must be aware of and respect their emotions, I was glad that that Gillette was encouraging men to embrace the totality of who we are.
Alas, if only the ad’s creators lived up to its aspirations. As it turns out, Gillette’s real goal with the ad was to create a one-sided political screed that dodged liberal toxicity and stereotyped the rest.
Ignoring Woke Toxicity
To reiterate: sexual assault, workplace harassment, bullying, and other issues which Gillette and the #MeToo movement have confronted are real. They are awful. They must be stopped.
But they are not political issues. They are individual and cultural problems of morality and good behavior. So why is Gillette being so politically one-sided in how it addresses these issues? For example, Planned Parenthood regularly covers for rapists yet, as I noted at The Federalist last week, “has sued to stop state and federal defunding efforts. It argues that eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood puts its rights and those of its clients at risk.”
Gillette is silent about Planned Parenthood’s enabling of “toxic masculinity.” As a taxpayer-funded organization, they should be at the top of the list for opponents of sexual assault.
Instead, Gillette is using Planned Parenthood’s lexicon and is acting as an activist for liberal virtue signaling.
The same is true when it comes to gender issues. Gillette’s parent company Procter & Gamble has received a 100 percent corporate score from Human Rights Campaign (HRC). This means that Gillette’s parent company has impressed one of the most authoritarian left-wing groups in the nation.
Unlike authentically masculine men, Human Rights Campaign wants to force female rape victims to change clothes in front of men in locker rooms. HRC wants to eliminate women’s sports by pitting males against women on the wrestling mat and on the track field. And it’s HRC that wants parents to mutilate their children – including girls – because gender identity culture is more important than treating girls’ bodies with respect.
Procter & Gamble’s liberal backers are probably quite pleased that Gillette is ignoring HRC’s support for toxic masculinity. But as the comments on YouTube show, a significant portion of Gillette’s target market is unhappy that Gillette put liberal ideology ahead of taking a real stand against sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Plus, The Ad Is Sexist
As a conservative friend noted on Facebook, Gillette’s facsimile of “men” is not how authentically masculine men have traditionally acted. It is “authentic masculinity” which “is about defending the vulnerable and rejecting evil,” my friend argued.
Additionally, what about toxic femininity? The Gillette ad shows nothing of women sniping at each other. It shows nothing of the stereotype of the neighborhood gossip or the nagging wife. If men can be lumped into “acting on or supporting harassment, assault, and bullying,” why can’t all women be lumped into a single disparaging category?
Of course, aside from being sexist, that kind of consistency would also be politically risky. Gillette clearly thinks it can get away with using the Left’s caricature of men instead of what real men are like. The question is whether they’re right – will conservatives hold Gillette accountable, or just shrug and move on?