In this day and age, where movements like #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatters have taken hold, more and more minority groups have been given the chance to speak out against injustices. Gillette's most recent commercial, “We Believe,” focuses on a group who gets a lot of attention, but not a lot of movement − men.
The reaction to the ad has supporters praising the concept and advocating for this movement, while those who oppose have gone so far as to boycott the shaving company and its parent company Procter and Gamble.
Gillette told CNN it's satisfied with sales after the controversial ad. The ad challenges men to turn away from toxic masculinity, along with the idea that boys will be boys.
Alongside the commercial, on Jan. 14, 2019 Gillette tweeted, “’Boys will be Boys’? Isn’t it time we stopped excusing bad behavior? Re-think and take action by joining us at TheBestMenCanBe.org or #TheBestMenCanBe." The tweet as of right now has nearly 600,000 likes, 250,000 retweets and 30 million views.
The commercial itself is split into two parts, with the first part using the common idea of boys will be boys as an excuse for boys and men to do whatever they desire or to ignore conflict. As for the second part, it counters this concept and has men step in and stop bullying.
The excuse of “Boys will be Boys” has begun to wear itself down, and as a society we have grown to at least understand what is right and wrong without giving a weak excuse to not step in. Furthermore, we must consider that while we are no longer children, the children being raised, especially by this belief, will be the next generation of men and women. In addition, we have grown to tolerate fighting as a sign of both aggression towards others and masculinity as healthy behavior for boys and men. Though, the truth of the matter is that with this sort of behavior we are shutting off the idea of needing to feel or needing to show off emotions, which could result in further destructive behaviors.
As a man, I feel like the conditions of masculinity did affect my thinking, as often when we think of men we think athletes, actors, or other highly accomplished positions within society. These male figures often listen to themselves instead of reason or emotion. Throughout my life, I have been open to emotions and it has helped me become who I am. Though I’m not this best in any regards, I can say I am open.
This isn't the first company to make a social or political statement. One company that made a political statement last year was 84 Lumber, which used their ad to tackle the idea of Donald Trump’s Border Wall. The ad had a massive door to welcome immigrants into the U.S., contrasting the sentiment of the president. Additionally, Airbnb showed people of different cultures and backgrounds in one of their campaigns adding to this with the hashtag, WeAccept.
Overall to fully embrace this idea, we need to stop letting the idea of being the strongest or the fastest define boys or men as masculine, but rather being courteous to everyone regardless of gender, race, background, or culture. As former Defensive End and Linebacker for the NFL, actor and activist Terry Crews said, we need “men to hold other men accountable.”
Jordan Corder is a staff writer.