Gillette, the best a man can get, or is it? By now you’ve either seen or heard about the new Gillette commercial which addresses toxic masculinity. Some are praising it as a move in the right direction in the age of the #Metoo movement. Others see the commercial as a direct assault on men and see the commercial as a tool of the progressive left vilifying men and destroying what it means to be a man. If you believe the latter, let’s be clear, it isn’t what you think.
I’ve watched the commercial multiples times now and I get the same feeling each time, “it’s ridiculous there’s a need for this commercial to exist, but the reality is this commercial needs to exist”. There are too many examples of bullying, sexual harassment, and abuse day in and day out to ignore and see a message like this isn’t needed. Let’s look at what it actually is, and why we’re here. Its a friendly reminder to not be a dick, to keep it simple. It’s a reminder that not bullying another kid, guy, or person doesn’t make me/you less of a man. Keeping my hands to myself doesn’t make me less of a man. Keeping my dick in my pants in 99% of life’s situations doesn’t make me less of man. I’ve been around men all my life and plenty of us clearly need reminded of these facts from time to time. Are we under attack because we’re masculine men, no, are there fringe feminist or “progressives” that are blinded by ideology and rage, absolutely, but that pendulum swings both ways to the opposite end as well, and the loudest voices are rarely the actual voices we should be listening to.
People who know me, know I’m no beta male, I take shit from no one, I like the stereotypical masculine things like cars, guns, explosions, boobs and ass, but I will go out of my way to be respectful to everyone I meet no matter who they are (thanks Dad). So for me, this “attack on men” is espoused by men who want to be victims too. Men who want to jump in on the shouting because it’s about time someone hear their voices (even though we’ve had the only voice since the beginning of time up until about 2 decades ago). I totally get it, but in reality you’re not a victim. I’m not ignoring the rare but real scandalous situations where women lie to hurt men for various reasons, can’t be naive and I understand that women can be shitty human beings as well, plenty of examples. There is something else at play here with men playing the victim card and we’ve seen it before. I’m no psychologist or social scientist but in my amateur opinion this is about loss of power or the perception and fear of losing power, losing the top spot. We saw a backlash during the civil rights movement, we saw the same thing with the black lives matter movement and now here we are with the #metoo movement. In each instance we see the group that holds the power and is the oppressor claim to be as much of a victim as the group that is rising from the oppression. The push back against the civil rights movement is well documents, with #BLM the conservative right pushed out #bluelivesmatter and the war on police while sprinkling in #alllivesmatter. And now we have the #metoo movement so we must now have a war on men. The Civil Rights movement wasn’t about exacting revenge and taking away what was yours, it was about equality. Black Lives Matter was a group of people asking that when they are dealing with the police they’re treated fairly and if their civil rights are violated, the law is followed. The #Metoo movement is asking that women be allowed to live their lives without the fear or concern of being sexually harassed, abused, or mistreated just because they’ve got boobs. That ask by women, takes nothing away from men, and isn’t an attack on anything or anyone other those those who cause it to be necessary by their abusive behavior.
We’re seeing women and minorities pushing back on things in a way that has so much momentum even those doing the pushing don’t know where it’s taking them. Many of the culprits they are pushing against look like us (I should note I’m a black male so this is a complex space for me) and maybe remind of us of our younger more immature selves. Or maybe you feel that you shouldn’t be lumped in with blanket statements about men and bad behavior and a flirty pat on the back isn’t the same as Harvey Weinstein going terminator on young actresses. The #metoo movement is a check on how we interact with each other especially women. It’s asking us to respect the fact that women don’t want to be touched “accidentally on purpose”, its a check that just because she rejects you doesn’t mean she’s a bitch and you need to curse her out and exact your revenge. It’s a check on the idea that a group of bigger boys have some right of passage that involves chasing down and beating up smaller boys. It’s a check on the idea that boys will boys, there’s no issue with boys being boys as long as it doesn’t involve physically or emotionally hurting other boys.
To summarize, while none of us are perfect, most of us are decent boys and men. Everyone needs a reminder from time to time or a slight nudge in the right direction, so here are a few reminders to help:
- Help those who can’t help themselves, with a caveat that you don’t need to be a hero to every woman you see or meet. Don’t assume she needs or wants your help, and don’t get offended if she passes on your offer. If you’re consistently offering help and being rejected, are you being genuine or are these offers about boosting your ego?
- Raise your kids not be assholes that goes for boys and girls. It’s pretty self explanatory, but go to any mall on a Saturday and you’ll understand why this is here. If we raise better kids, they’ll make the world a better place.
- Last but not least by a long shot, remember to keep your dick in your pants in 99% of all life situations. If you’re not in a bathroom, in a bedroom, or specifically being asked to whip it out, probably a good idea to not whip it out.