‘Men of tomorrow’

Gillette garners acclaim and outrage after launching ad that attacks ‘toxic masculinity’

(YouTube/Gillette)

Popular men’s razor company Gillette has drawn praise from feminists — and fierce anger and opposition from men’s rights activists — after launching a new advertisement.

The ad shows men sexually harassing women and boys being bullied for being feminine, before asking: “Is this the best a man can get?” Gillette, which has run ads with the tagline “The Best A Man Can Get” for the past three decades, said that the ad was part of a larger campaign meant to promote “positive, attainable, inclusive and healthy versions of what it means to be a man.”

But men’s rights activists have expressed outrage at the new video, which has already garnered nearly 4 million views on YouTube alone, accusing the company of attacking men and masculinity.

The ad, which runs nearly two minutes, starts by showing scenes of “toxic masculinity” — a man touching his female colleague on the shoulder before talking over her at work; boys watching television with scenes of men casually harassing and objectifying women as a laugh track plays, and images of violence where boys beat each other up to get their way. “Boys will be boys,” echo a line of men as they grill meat and corn.

Then, the ad cuts to broadcasters reporting on the #MeToo movement, followed by scenes of men calling each other out on harassment, breaking up fights between boys and teenagers, and of fathers encouraging their daughters to be “strong.” It ends with images of young boys staring into the camera. “We believe in the best of men,” says a voiceover. “To say the right thing, to act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But some is not enough, because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”

The video has drawn a fierce reaction online — particularly from men’s rights activists who pledged to boycott Gillette, and even it’s larger parent company, Proctor and Gamble, for joining the “global assault on masculinity.” Others, such as Canadian political pundit Ezra Levant, even attacked the ad for featuring a woman as a director.

But others, such as Bernice King, the daughter of late civil rights icon Martin Luther King, pointed out that ad was not “anti-male” but “pro-humanity,” and was meant to show how “character can step up to change conditions.”

In a statement on the company’s website, Gillette promised to donate $1 million each year to non-profit organizations that work “to inspire, educate and help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’ and become role models for the next generation.”

“From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette,” the company wrote. “In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.”

Watch the full advertisement below.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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