Gillette’s well-known slogan,“The Best A Man Can Get,” has been around since it was launched in an ad in the Super Bowl of 1989. Since then, it’s been used to show men that the Gillette razor is the best razor men could possibly buy, and it would help them look their best. Recently the razor company flipped their slogan and posed it as a question in a new commercial asking: “Is this the best a man can get?” You’ve probably heard about the commercial titled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,” which depicts scenes of boys bullying other boys, and men harassing women in various situations. In the commercial everyone laughs or shrugs the instances off, saying the age-old phrase “boys will be boys.” The commercial then asks the question: “Is this the best men can be?” However, the mood of the commercial changes as a father breaks up two boys fighting at a cookout, and a man stops another man from catcalling a woman on the street. There was a great deal of controversy and backlash from many different people. Many men posted on Twitter they would no longer be using Gillette and even started the hashtag “#boycottgillette.”
Many thought Gillette should not have published such a political ad, and that the campaign was a very poor marketing ploy. Gillette is a huge name brand with millions of men and boys using their products, so a commercial asking men to step up and be the best they can be is perfect for such a well-known men’s razor company. The controversy comes from how the commercial made the men watching feel attacked with the condescending tone it appeared to display as it “tore men down.” Yet, the commercial is not about tearing men down, it’s about tearing down society’s mentality that actions such as bullying and harassment are just “boys being boys.” Gillette didn’t try to state that every man is toxic like the ones in the commercial; Gillette was stating that society brushes these characteristics off. We need to start holding boys accountable so they don’t continue these destructive behaviors and the belief that such behaviors are okay in future generations. We need to teach boys that they don’t need to tear each other down and that it’s not right to treat women the way they’ve been treated for years. Men are perceived as needing to be tough and strong all the time, and Gillette is trying to change that.
The company stated that their intention was to “challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man.” Many believe the commercial was saying that the actions displayed are traits all men have, but that’s not it at all. Those who did not receive the commercial well are the exact people Gillette wanted to see it. Those who felt attacked and are now trying to boycott Gillette seem to believe being held accountable for bullying and sexual harassment or assault is a bad thing. If you believe you are not one of the men in the commercial and that you are better than the toxic actions in the commercial, then prove it. Stand up for one another and hold each other accountable. Tell your friends, brothers, and anyone who needs to hear it. Challenge society’s backwards mantra: “boys will be boys.” Show everyone what it really means to be a man.
By Faith Jones – Contributor