The “Men, too” Movement
“Is this the best a man can get? Is it?” a voiceover says in what some consider a controversial ad from Gillette, the company that manufactures shaving cream.
The commercial continues. “We can’t hide from it. It’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses. But something finally changed. And there will be no going back. Because we…We believe in the best in men. 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.”
Clips include Terry Crews, a sexual assault survivor. Crews is shown testifying in front of Congress urging men to hold other men accountable. The commercial shows men doing just that: holding off a pack of bullies, and stopping another guy from harassing a woman.
The commercial sparked a wave of response among some conservatives and men’s rights activists. On Youtube, the commercial has been downvoted almost 330,000 times, versus a relatively meager 74,000 upvotes.
One YouTube comment, which reads, “”Wow literally we are attacked for being men,” attracted more than 100 thumbs-up likes of agreement.
What surprises me about this commercial is I don’t see anything controversial in it. If teaching boys to show care and respect is femininizing, heaven help us.
Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette’s North America brand director, expected debate. The backlash, however, surprised him. Bhalla says, “The ad is about men taking more action every day to set the best example for the next generation.”
Let’s talk about this best example. And it comes from Proverbs 22:6 (NIV). “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
How should children go?
Ryan Knight (at Ryan Knight@proud resister) responds to my question. “Masculinity is not under attack. Masculinity is being redefined to not include harassing women or bullying people who are different than you. Masculinity is being expanded to be a more loving space…”
The ad was developed by Gillette’s advertising agency, and the company is putting its money where its mouth is. Gillette pledged $1 million a year to nonprofit groups designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best,’ changing the conversation of modern manhood for generations to come.
I think of the phrase ‘modern manhood’ and find I mourn the loss of the now archaic word ‘gentleman.’ To me, a true gentleman had a moral compass, which, I believe, is what Gillette is trying to inspire in us all today.
It does take a village to raise a child. Let’s remember Proverbs 22:6 and start children off the way they should go with a teacher named Jesus who advocates love, care, concern and respect.
This blog first appeared in The Susquehanna Independent on January, 30, 2019.