Gillette put out an ad this week, maybe you’ve heard of it.
Let me come out and say this straight up, the ultimate aim of the ad was to provoke discussion and get people thinking about their brand. In that instance, they’ve greatly succeeded.
I for one hadn’t thought about the razor brand for years considering I don’t typically go clean-shaven, but here we are. We’re all talking about it.
If you’ve seen the ad, its core message is to subvert the old tagline, ‘The best a man can get’ and turning it into a message for change. Change for the way men and boys are allowed to behave in the world because, like the ad points out ‘boys will be boys’ is a weak and tired excuse trotted out by other men – and women – to excuse the damaging behaviour often perpetrated by boys and men throughout their life.
From expectations of what a ‘man should be’ to the culture of violence and machismo that has become so ingrained into the male psyche; it’s far more damaging than it already seems on the surface.
Men are less likely to speak up about mental health, less likely to seek medical treatment and less likely to openly express their feelings and emotions.
All because doing so apparently makes you appear ‘weak’ to other men. The same men that would try and put you down for being vulnerable instead of supporting you in a time of need.
It’s both saddening and unsurprising that for all the positive discussion about toxic masculinity, there’s the usual very vocal minority of men out there that are so afraid of facing uncomfortable truths about themselves that they push back with the only emotion they’ve been encouraged to show in their lives, anger.
If anyone is ‘weak’ it’s the men so afraid of self-reflection that they fight back and argue against a message that is aiming to make the world a better place for men and women.
Being the best man you can be or ‘The best a man can get’ doesn’t mean being perfect, change doesn’t happen overnight.
What’s important is standing up for others, not excusing or laughing off violent and degrading behaviour from other men. It’s not saying ‘boys will be boys’ ever again to excuse toxic behaviour as if boys are destined to be just as damaged as the other men in their world.
Empowering the women in your life and keeping other men accountable when they’re being less than the best version of themselves, it’s support. It’s love.
That is a real man.