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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Stop Holding a Razor to Gillette’s Throat

Stop+Holding+a+Razor+to+Gillettes+Throat
Stop Holding a Razor to Gillette’s Throat

In mid-January, Gillette dropped an ad that sparked outrage from men and women (but mostly men), calling the ad absurd, condescending, anti-men, etc., with some going so far as to call it sexist. When the ‘victims’ of sexism are men, you know whatever it is, it is bovine excrement. It’s not the ad itself that caught my attention, but rather the outrage that people expressed. Social media and news outlets were ablaze with mostly negative reactions, and for the life of me, I just don’t understand why. Now, I don’t have any particular love for Gillette; I couldn’t care less what brand I use, but for full disclosure, I do use Gillette razor blades to keep my shaved head smoother than a polished aluminum foil ball. But I feel that the level of attack on Gillette was unwarranted. News outlets such as Fox & Friends spent more than 10 minutes discussing the ad, calling it as an attack on masculinity. Celebrities such as Joe Rogan and Piers Morgan commented on it, decrying the ad. Rogan said that it’s “anti-masculine,” and “makes every man look like a misogynist piece of sh*t.” He further said that “nobody wants to be lectured to,” and that Gillette is a company that is just “selling razors.” Morgan tweeted that the ad is fueling the current “global assault on masculinity,” and ended his tweet with “Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men.” The Twitterverse was rippling with #BoycottGillette, with many, many men and a few women saying that Gillette was attacking masculinity.
To all this, I just say “Wow!” Did the whole message just go over the heads of these people? For those that say that the ad is attacking masculinity, didn’t they see that the people who were putting a stop to the bullying and the harassing were other MEN?! It’s not like they showed all men to be—to borrow Rogan’s phrase—misogynist pieces of sh*t. The whole point of the ad was to remind us that we shouldn’t stand idly by when something that we know is inherently wrong is occurring in front of us. They didn’t attack men; they were empowering men to step up and do the right thing, even when others around you don’t think that anything is wrong. Most of us, men and women, find it difficult to stand up against our group of friends or peers on issues that the majority of them believe in; we just usually go with the flow to avoid any confrontation or ridicule.
As to Morgan’s statement of “Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men,” I wonder if he then believes it’s OK to let boys bully other boys? Let boys beat up weaker boys? Let boys solve all their problems using their fists? Let men sexually harass women? Let men treat all women as objects, with those men thinking that they are desirable to all women? Let men do whatever the hell they want just because their reproductive organs are on the outside? Every single person who believes that these things aren’t wrong doesn’t know their devastating impacts, unless they happen to one of their loved ones. These people live a disillusioned and dissociated life, where something that doesn’t happen to them either doesn’t exist or isn’t wrong. These people need a dose of empathy—and a large dose at that.
Furthermore, the ad showed the most important reason as to why inaction is not the response to these situations: our children. Children learn by observing their parents and the people around them. What we do in situations and how we treat others are observed by our children, and they grow up thinking that that’s what to do in similar situations, as they think what we do is the right thing. They won’t know what’s right and wrong until they grow up and become mature, and by then it may be too late to change their behavior without a sufficient enough motivation to do so. And so, if they don’t change by the time they have children of their own, the vicious cycle continues. History and the present are fraught with examples of children growing up to believe and follow in their parents’ ideals, beliefs, and actions: white supremacy, slavery, and serial-killer families, to name a few. We need to be examples and role models to, not just our children, but all children around us.
Just because Gillette is a company that is just “selling razors”—although they do a lot more than just sell razors; they do have a nice collection of body-care products—doesn’t mean that they cannot comment on current social situations. It is the responsibility of companies and people who have a powerful global voice to help advocate for causes and global issues such as gender equality, human rights, and climate change. That’s all that Gillette did: make us realize that, by doing the right thing, we are helping not just the people of the present, but those of the future as well. And if they make some money while doing so, it doesn’t take anything away from the message, does it?