As you might know, GIllette have just dropped a new ad this week. It’s a play on their age old tagline “The best a man can get” and it stitches together a collection of imagery that represents toxic masculinity, including commentary on sexist behaviour, bullying and the #metoo movement.
First up. It’s bold AF. This is a space that influential males or male directed brands have stayed very quiet in. There have been opportunities for men to talk and be open, and supportive, but it hasn’t happened in a strong way. BUt there are a few questions going on for me.
Is it genuine?
I’d love to think it is. Advertising doesn’t have a reputation for bettering humanity, but in recent years, there have been some (semi) genuine attempts at culture shift, and addressing important issues. Yes, they want to sell products, but they’re also initiating conversation and making a brave play to shift their brand reputation. They have also pledged millions of dollars in support of non profits.
Gillette said it would be changing tack in its advertising campaigns and social media content as part of its campaign, which would see it donate $US3 million over three years to non-profit organisations in the United States that were trying to educate boys and men on the issues behind toxic masculinity. - ABC News
Yes yes, they’re owed by Proctor and Gamble, and there are probably ten holes in the story to discredit them as a company. So, even if it it’s not 100% genuine - guess what nothing is! I say, all power to the companies who recognise that they have influence, and are attempting a positive change through influential channels.
But why is it causing controversy?
I haven’t really fully ‘read the comments’. I’m in the height of my own cycle related emotional turmoil, and I do’nt think that is a safe place to go right now. So I listen to what people say people are saying. Some men are coming out in defence, attacking Gillette for their ‘vindictive man hating’, and calling for boys to ‘just be allowed to be boys’.
My take on the ‘controversy’ is that it’s probably just reflected something that some men didn’t want to see about themselves. It’s hit a nerve. And I like it. Change doesn’t happen without stirring some shit up, and this seems to have well and truly shaken the pot. Anyone who’s a bit woke (ha.) and isn’t behaving the way that’s portrayed in the video is likely cool with it. Understanding who they are and that they’re not part of the problem. The irony is, it’s the men who are part of the problem who are defensive. And their whining tweets just highlight it.
Will it actually change anything?
This is what I’m most interested in. How do you measure this? What have they nominated as a success? It’s easy - sales! But what about this sideline culture changing part. How can we tell if these conversations are changing the people who really need to be changed?
I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to go to my job now. I would genuinely love to hear from the men in my life about it - and women too of course. I think we can all agree that promoting common decency towards other humans has to be a good thing.