Gillette Releases Controversial Ad Against 'Toxic Masculinity'

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Posted: Jan 15, 2019 10:30 AM
Gillette Releases Controversial Ad Against 'Toxic Masculinity'

Source: Diane Bondareff/AP Images for Gillette

Gillette released an ad on Monday that chastises men for sexual harassment and bullying, and calls on them to change their behavior.

The controversial minute-and-a-half commercial, titled “We Believe”, refers to the #MeToo movement and calls on the men of America to change the culture of “toxic masculinity.”

Gary Coombe, president of Gillette parent Procter & Gamble's global grooming business, said in a statement about the ad that "Gillette believes in the best in men; that by holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal 'best,' we can deliver positive change that will matter for years to come."

The ad begins with the audio of news anchors discussing a simulated #MeToo movement, and visual representations of men behaving badly. Soon the narrator asks, "Is this the best a man can get? Is it?"

The narrator continues, “We can't hide from it. It has been going on far too long. We can't laugh it off. Making the same old excuses. But something finally changed. And there will be no going back. Because we ... We believe in the best in men. To say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”

The ad was created by AOR Grey, the advertising agency for Gillette, and was directed by Kim Gehrig. Gillette has also pledged $1 million a year to nonprofit groups "designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal 'best,' changing the conversation of modern manhood for generations to come."

But not everyone is pleased with the message Gillette is trying to send with the ad. Some feel the ad is unfairly critical of men

According to Business Insider, “Hundreds of comments and replies on the Twitter post and Youtube video debuting the ad expressed negative sentiment. Many criticized the tone of the ad, comparing it to a lecture.”

“‘Propagada [sic], pure and simple," one comment reads.

Others had a problem with the way it painted men, which they saw as uncharitable.

"This commercial is awful," reads another. "It is dripping with contempt for men and upholds ridiculous sterotypes [sic]."

"Wow literally we are attacked for being men," reads one YouTube comment with over 100 thumbs-up likes of agreement.

Some promised to boycott Gillette or expressed that they were glad they had already stopped buying Gillette razors.

"I've been buying Gillette products for 55 years ... no more. I glean from this that most men are dogs, that is simply not true," one person said.

Gillette’s ad comes just days after the American Psychological Association labeled “traditional masculinity” as “harmful.”

“From today on,” a statement on Gillette’s website reads, “we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette."