Gillette faces backlash over 'anti-male' advert calling out toxic masculinity
Gillette is being criticised on Twitter for an advert tackling toxic masculinity.
The short film, circulated on YouTube yesterday, asks: “Is this the best a man can get?” – a play on the brand’s 30-year-old tagline, “The best a man can be”.
It features male characters in a variety of scenarios including harassing women – at work and in the street – fighting and playground bullying.
Since its release, it has racked up 243,000 ‘dislikes’ on the video-sharing platform, but only 33,000 ‘likes’.
Over on Twitter, users are calling out the brand for the way it portrays men and its #MeToo rebrand.
So you think men are all emotionally and emphatically challenged arseholes unable to change or…? pic.twitter.com/2DuXmJjdyJ
— BT 🇪🇺 (@MotorbikeBloke) January 15, 2019
Eternally grateful for companies like #Gillette, who cured me of the need to savagely beat my wife and kid after stepping out of a nice, hot shower. Now, I can be a MUCH better person, whilst reporting for work at the Sexual Harassment Factory. Thank you for helping me be better!
— Commander Pebbles (@PebblesCousin) January 15, 2019
The men who acted in Gillette’s disgusting anti-male propaganda commercial should be ashamed of themselves!
— Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) January 15, 2019
Some – including broadcaster Piers Morgan and comedian Ricky Gervais – suggested it was inappropriate for a shaving company to be making a politically-charged message.
If @Gillette made an ad depicting women in this way, you’d have written the exact opposite column – attacking it for spewing dangerously sexist, misogynist, claptrap. https://t.co/JE8woKpx1Q
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 15, 2019
Nah! I don’t need Gillette to tell me sexism, sexual abuse, bullying, and violence is a bad thing. Most men already know that. Lumping us all in together like some disease is way off the mark and I don’t need some shaving company to preach how to be a real man to me
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) January 15, 2019
I used to love beating up kids at barbecues. Now I realise that is wrong. Also, my balls have never been smoother. Thanks, Gillette.
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 15, 2019
this is NOT HOW YOU USE YOUR BRAND. pic.twitter.com/LXFpZCLmf9
— Mick Kile (@officialimicca) January 15, 2019
There is even a call to boycott Gillette doing the rounds.
Sexism at its best. #boycott P&G.
— Rationaali (@youngpyssy) January 14, 2019
Adding Gillette to my growing boycott list!
— larry shark sellers (@sellers_larry) January 14, 2019
Let the boycott begin. NO SHAVE NOVEMBER needs to be instituted EVERY MONTH. I am sick and tired of the manufactured PC BULLSHIT.
— Robert (@summerwind57) January 14, 2019
Others argued the advert had an overall positive message, and suggested men should be more open to self-criticism rather than reacting strongly.
Dear men (many of whom I really hold dear) you need to have a word with some of those who claim to be your advocates. They are not helping when they kneejerk reject anything that suggests men can be gentle, nurturing & self critical. #Gillette
— Jane Caro (@JaneCaro) January 15, 2019
Okay, this #Gillette ad is a little bit schmaltzy and overwrought, but the replies from men who are clearly angry, fragile, and terrified of being criticised or losing their right to live in the past, are proof of how much we need campaigns like this. https://t.co/fSXJkjSgB1
— Hazel Hayes (@TheHazelHayes) January 15, 2019
Here’s my Twitter-style summation of the new Gillette ad “controversy”.
Gillette: “Maybe as men, we could all think about treating women better.”
Men: “YOU’VE JUST CUT OFF MY NUTS!!”
— Rohan Connolly (@rohan_connolly) January 15, 2019
The message of the #Gillette ad is don’t be a dick, look out for other people and teach your kids the right way to treat others. How could someone be against that?
— Mark (@tallica182) January 15, 2019
While the reaction to the Gillette advert is clearly mixed, Gary Coombe – the president of Proctor & Gamble, the company that owns Gillette – has defended the campaign.
He told the BBC: “”By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behaviour, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come.
“”We knew that joining the dialogue on ‘Modern Manhood’ would mean changing how we think about and portray men at every turn.
“Effective immediately, Gillette will review all public-facing content against a set of defined standards meant to ensure we fully reflect the ideals of Respect, Accountability and Role Modelling in the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and more.
“For us, the decision to publicly assert our beliefs while celebrating men who are doing things right was an easy choice that makes a difference.”
The company is yet to respond to Yahoo UK‘s request for comment.
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