Is Gillette really ‘the best a man can get’? | The Tylt
Is Gillette really ‘the best a man can get’?
CNN's Heather Kelly spoke with Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette's North America brand director, regarding the new ad, which has a new take on the traditional Gillette tagline, "the best a man can be." Instead, the ad asks: "Is this the best a man can get?" According to Kelly:
'The ad is not about toxic masculinity. It is about men taking more action every day to set the best example for the next generation,' said Bhalla. 'This was intended to simply say that the enemy for all of us is inaction.'
The ad demonstrates many behaviors society has conceded to for generations, such as bullying and objectifying women. Instead of continuing to make excuses for such behavior, the men in the ad interfere when witnessing these types of actions. Although Gillette's Bhalla says the ad is not about toxic masculinity, there's no question that Gillette is calling consumers to action, asking them to speak up when they see the very behaviors that have contributed to creating a culture of toxic masculinity for decades. CNN's Noah Berlatsky reports:
According to the APA, 'Traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful.' They are right; forcing men to behave in accordance with the worst stereotypes of manliness harms them–and it harms others.
Ideas about traditional masculinity especially harm people from marginalized groups who don't conform to ideal or stereotype. These men may be bullied or attacked by other men and boys.
A call like this is long overdue, and Gillette stepped up where few others have.
But many people–men and women alike–feel that rather than set a new precedent, the ad vilifies masculinity in general. Many feel that the ad itself stereotypes men, lumping them into a group of wrestling, bullying, objectifying beings, who have no control over their own behaviors (that is, until another male gets involved).
The ad has 109,000 likes and 387,000 dislikes on YouTube, at the time of writing. Gillette's heart might have been in the right place, but many people believe the company executed its idea poorly, hurting men in the process. As Forbes's Charles Taylor puts it:
The shame of all of this is that Gillette surely could have devised a campaign focusing on positive encouragement of good behaviors without making sweeping generalizations about men and what it is to be masculine.
According to Gillette's website, the company's goal in creating the ad was to live up to their own tagline, "the best a man can be."
It's time we acknowledge that brands, like ours, play a role in influencing culture. And as a company that encourages men to be their best, we have a responsibility to make sure we are promoting positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man.
Many people find this to be not only commendable, but necessary. New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson supported Gillette during an appearance on Fox & Friends, saying:
'When we as men, when we as a culture, realize some of the things that we say, some of the things that we do and some of the things that we allow to happen around us can be changed if we're willing to step up and in essence be real men.'