When the #MeToo movement first came into prominence about a year and a half ago, no one could've predicted the impact it would have.
Not only did it create a shift in Hollywood's power dynamics, it inspired pivotal change in the way men and women all over the word approach the discourse about gender equality and sexual harassment.
Now, even brands like Gillette are overhauling their messages and taking part in the conversation surrounding toxic masculinity.
Gillette just released a new ad that questions the behavior of men in the #MeToo era, turning their 30-year-old tagline into a question that asks "Is this the best a man can get?"
Titled "We Believe," the nearly two-minute ad addresses bullying and other behaviors that are commonly associated with the mistreatment of females at work, at home, on the street. It also challenges men to hold each other accountable and to put an end to the "boys will be boys" excuse that's often given for unacceptable behavior.
"Gillette believes in the best in men,” said Gary Coombe, president of Procter & Gamble Co.‘s global grooming division. "By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come."
You can watch the advertisement in the video below:
Gillette has received lots of praise for the ad's progressive message and for highlighting harmful behavior that we've come to accept as the norm. On the other hand, there are many social media users who are outraged and plan on boycotting the company because it is promoting "feminist propaganda."
I've used @Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 14, 2019
Let boys be damn boys.
Let men be damn men. https://t.co/Hm66OD5lA4
I won't be buying Gillette and other P&G products again. A company that has built its empire thanks to men buying its products for decades now dares to spit on masculinity in the new commercial. I'm done! #BoycottGillette— A. Mathura (@ptmathura) January 15, 2019
We don’t need politics with our shave gel. pic.twitter.com/erZowlhdz8— ART TAVANA (@arttavana) January 14, 2019
Sorry Gillette, but men are not bullies. Bullies are bullies. Men are men. Enough blaming all men for the actions of some. #BoycottGillette— Dave Sena (@DaveSena39) January 14, 2019
Gillette North America's brand director Pankaj Bhalla explained to CNN that they were expecting this kind of response.
“We expected debate,” Bhalla said. “Actually a discussion is necessary. If we don’t discuss and don’t talk about it, I don’t think real change will happen.”
Other social media users pointed out that this type of lashing out is exactly why this type of ad is needed.
Fantastic ad and more of this is needed.— Cat Staggs 🏳️🌈 (@CatStaggs) January 14, 2019
Also...seeing "men" boycott Gillette are proving the point of the ad. Way to NOT be the best man you can be, guys. https://t.co/Q4XPqt2NLw
Agreed. It would seem that most of the people getting triggered by this are either bullies or too dumb to see the message of the ad. Personally, I don't have to pick on the weak or make a cat call at a woman to be masculine.— Kumo (@Kumo_1776) January 15, 2019
The #Gillette ad clearly calls out sexual harassment and bullying, and says "Some men are already doing fine."— Ethan Matisa (@ematisa) January 14, 2019
Yet tons of men are still going to take it as an attack on "normal male behaviour," and will interpret it as "painting ALL men with a wide brush." Priceless.
The "We Believe" ad is part of Gillette's campaign to use its profit to donate $1 million annually to nonprofit organizations over the next three years. The Boys and Girls Club of America will be the first group to benefit from this initiative.