On January 13, 2019 Gillette launched a controversial campaign, attempting to give legitimacy to the term “toxic masculinity”. This was kicked off with a commercial titled We Believe. The ad was created by Kim Gehrig-another woman assuming the role of gatekeeper for manhood. It implied that men were responsible for sexism, bullying, and sexual misconduct. Gillette then pledged to donate to organizations that help men achieve their “personal best”.
To no surprise, this ad was met with immediate backlash. Men all over social media addressed concerns of the framing. It was also questionable that a woman was supposed to be deciding which form of masculinity is healthy and which is toxic. Furthermore, the term “toxic masculinity” was a problem in and of itself. Ultimately, this video was met with terms such as “misandry” and “virtue signalling”.
Martin Sykes wrote an article called The Best A Razor Company Can Get, analyzing the problems with the ad and accurately predicted its failure. Originally, this criticism was brushed to the side by Gillette and media outlets that promoted the message. This was supposed to be one of the many occasions where feminists promote a negative message and ultimately succeed. Feminists dominate college campuses, have legal and political influence, and have mainstream media attention. They could flat out lie about a topic, and expect no consequences. There was no need to worry about MRAs or their backlash-well, at least not yet.
However, as time went on, the backlash got louder and stronger. The commercial became the 20th most disliked video on YouTube in April 2019. Men’s rights activists, YouTubers, political speakers, and journalists aggressively criticized the campaign. There were calls for boycotts. Seven months later, Gillette had lost approximately 12 billion dollars. Gillette found themselves completely backtracking from their original campaign. They decided to focus on male heroes, instead. Their new ad Ben The Aussie Firefighter was a complete confirmation of this shift.
What We Learned From This
The successful backlash that Gillette received, confirmed several things:
- The men’s rights movement is a lot more influential than people think. Supporters and detractors of our movement generally think of us as a small movement with little financial and social backing. This has been disproven on several occasions. The rise of the father’s rights movement and intactivists, all over the world, proved that MRAs are way larger than most people assumed. Another great example would be the National Coalition For Men, as they became the legal backing for men and managed to fight laws in court. The Gillette backlash is just more proof that MRAs are able to make changes. A lot of men actually have similar beliefs. It’s our job to get those men on our side and fight for justice.
- Toxic masculinity is not a popular term. Feminists have been trying to push the term toxic masculinity on the average man for several years. Journalists, professors, media puppets, and politicians have been trying their hardest to promote it. They falsely assumed that men learned to “stay in line” and allow themselves to be attacked with the word 24/7. Clearly, their predictions were wrong. Men still reject the entire concept. This financial backlash exemplified men putting their foot down and saying “enough is enough”.
- Men do have the ability to fight back. Feminists have a history of saying and doing outrageous things and getting away with it. Men are just expected to sit there and take it-and we generally do. However, there are many occasions where men reach a breaking point. This breaking point allows us to successfully boycott the parties that have negatively affected us, and demand action be taken to fix it. Gillette is one of the many occasions where men were not putting up with any nonsense. We need to see more of this. Men need to continue to aggressively fight back against any establishment that attempts to force a narrative on us against our will. It’s time society start listening to the opinions of the average man when the topic is about men’s issues
Gillette, a company that should be focused on selling products to customers, managed to create a historical failure. This all could have been avoided. There was no need for their company to make a campaign antagonizing men. If it was a CEO or a manager of the company making a statement-so be it. But, an entire corporation using their finances to engage in gender politics for the sake of mainstream approval? That’s asking for trouble.
Despite my disappointment with Gillette, I’m happy that they did it. Because, this event is a living reminder. This is a victory for men. Evidence to anyone who thinks men can’t change the conversations we’re having.
The Best A Razor Company Can Get
Gillette’s Backflip after “toxic masculinity” backlash