If you’ve seen the Gillette commercial addressing toxic masculinity [below], chances are you have an opinion about it. The ad takes a new spin on the decades-old Gillette slogan, asking “Is this the best a man can get?” while showing news clips and dramatizations of bullying, sexual harassment, and violence and referencing the #MeToo movement.
Some are outraged, claiming we shouldn’t highlight bad behavior, or “beat men up” over transgressions, but rather move on and focus on the good that men do. That is a valid point but there is another point to be made amongst the controversy. What if we acknowledge how toxic male behavior can be? (Female behavior can be toxic too, but that’s not what we are talking about for now.)
What if we step back and look at this particular ad for what it is – honest. Toxic behavior has an impact on all of those subjected to it. Toxic behavior only changes when we acknowledge it. The men in this ad come from a place of reality, and strive to make a change for the next generation of men. What I saw in this ad was men encouraging other men to do better, to be better, to rise up and be the best version of what a man can be. I saw men showing boys how and what being a good man, a best man looks like. Leading by example is the best way to generate change for the good, for the better, for the best in all of us, not just men.
This Gillette campaign is igniting conversations that we might not have had without it. It’s only when we talk about a problem and shine a light on it that we can stem the tide. We can be better men and better women by being better human beings. Kudos Gillette, and thank you!
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!