Gillette: Oh well, I guess we just kind of screwed up

Every week, something fairly insignificant happens and people on the internet get super upset about it. This past week, people have chosen to get riled up about a Gillette commercial which, as many put it, “tackles toxic masculinity.” Most people have taken their standard positions on this commercial , because they gave up on thinking years ago, citing it to simply be too difficult. Jennie Martin from Tempe, Arizona highlights her 2016 departure from cranial activity, stating that “thinking doesn’t make me a good person. Being a progressive does.” Rodrigo Fernandez from Middlebury, Vermont also shared his experience with us: “I realized several years ago that thinking was a waste of time. Now, I just decide how I feel about something before it even happens. My Republican friends on Facebook tell me how awesome I am and how much they agree with me, and that makes me feel good and right. I like to feel good and right.”

Many Americans, free from the constraints of brain, are certain that a razor company designed an advertisement not to sell a product, but to make the world a better place. As one of these left-leaning viewers puts it, “finally, somebody has told the world that sexual harassment is wrong. I don’t think anyone knew this before, but after this Gillette commercial, I think people will finally understand that you shouldn’t sexually harass someone. Thank you Gillette.”

Marcus L., not willing to give his location, had a different take on the commercial: “As a man, I feel attacked by this ad. Nobody can tell me what to do. I like guns, and I like being a man.”

Most Americans claim to be against the ad, which has bewildered Progressives across the country. Sandra R writes on her Facebook feed, “I can’t understand for the life of me how anyone could be against this ad.” Somebody tried to explain their reasoning to Sandra, but she deleted their comment and removed them as a friend. Frank G went to Twitter to angrily express how horrible everyone else is, writing “If you’re against the Gillette commercial, it’s probably because you’re a giant scumbag piece of shit.” Frank G received one hundred thousand likes. The most popular comment on his post was by Carl Davidson, who writes  “Yeah, everyone who doesn’t agree with us is Hitler!”

We asked Batman Robinstock, Chief Advertising Officer of Gillette, what he thought about the “toxic masculinity” ad and why so many people are expressing their displeasure for it.

“Well, the truth is we’ve been losing ground as a company over the last few years, especially since the introduction of Dollar Shave Club. But, since their razors are dirt cheap and should I mention, absolutely terrible, we decided to focus on recruiting a younger generation of shavers who are willing to spend fifty bucks for a pack of razors. So, who better to target than Progressives? Often wealthy and quick to support anything perceived as Progressive, we knew this would be an easy pull. We decided to jump on the momentum of the #metoo movement and make the ad about sexual harassment. We did this for a couple of reasons. First, it’s the hot Progressive issue right now, so we knew they would eat it up like a cookie on Christmas Eve. Secondly, we understood that if we made an ad that was against sexual harassment, anyone who dare oppose it would be seen as defending sexual harassment, so they likely wouldn’t dare. This way, we could gain a strong new customer base of Progressives and not lose many current customers besides a few alt-right extremists.

But we messed up. First, we thought more people were Progressives. It turns out that they’re actually a minority and a lot of people just agree with what they say so they don’t get called racist or sexist. Second, the ad became about “toxic masculinity,” not just sexual harassment. If it were just us saying “hey, sexual harassment is bad, you shouldn’t sexually harass people,” I think we would have gotten away with it. Unfortunately, we made the error of tying sexual harassment to other things like wrestling and bullying, and only addressing men. This gave the audience the impression that masculinity is the culprit for inappropriate sexual behavior, not idiots who don’t know what boundaries are. Oh well, I guess we just kind of screwed up.”


Jason Scott Brendel is a poet and writer from Northern California. You can follow him on instagram @jasonbrendel or support him on his Patreon site.

15 thoughts on “Gillette: Oh well, I guess we just kind of screwed up

  1. Gillette… advised by Lockheed Corporation and Wall Street? While everyone scrambles to launder their political stance, the symbiotic twins of debt and war work in the background, wearing a fixed grin as more Arabs are blown to pieces and Americans lose their homes. The merger between being progressive and undergoing a lobotomy, soon to be announced on the NYSE.

  2. This! Everything! We grow so much when we are offended, we can analyze our response to the offense, weigh it against our own thoughts and maybe grow as a human! If I stopped at everything that offended, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with your poetry! 😂

    1. Yes so true! It’s super useful to ask why we are offended instead of simply reacting or lashing out. The most useful things are those which are offensive or challenging, because they’re making us uncomfortable, and that’s how we grow.

  3. Jason, I am glad you liked my post on toxic misandry. I liked your post on the Gillette advert too, and the admission by Gillette that they had seriously screwed up is very interesting. Far too often I think there is an assumption that those who regard themselves as “progressive” are in the majority. In my experience they very often aren’t, as Gillette appears to have realised far too late. Did you get the Gillette response directly from them or was it reported somewhere? The damage all this stuff is doing to heterosexual relationships out there is very disturbing. Older teenage males I was teaching until 2013 were very, very cautious about how they related to females, and the females were often very apprehensive too in their relationships to males. The upsurge of this radicalism in the last five years has been enormously damaging for males and females and tragically it is fuelling the anger of the radical misogynists and making them even worse, as we see more and more on social media.

    1. I think you’re spot on with a lot of things here. Progressives aren’t as numerous as we tend to believe. The reaction to progressivism is pervasive, though, and it does have damaging effects on both men and women. I think progressives have actually helped normalize things like misogyny, sexism, and racism, which is hurting their supposed cause. By classifying things that aren’t misogynistic, sexist, or racist as such, (or saying that things which might be questionably so are blatantly obvious) progressives have made it seem like these things are more pervasive than they are, which has caused people to pay less attention to them. Racism, misogyny, and sexism are not the norm and we’ve actually made a ton of progress on those fronts over the last century, so it’s imperative we continue that progress, but in order to do so we must admit these things are the exception rather than the norm. It’s the boy who cried wolf scenario and like you said, only fuels the anger and voice of radical misogynists.
      As for my article, it’s satire, so I didn’t get the quote from Gillette or anyone else. I made it up in an effort to poke fun of people’s reactions to the commercial and make a point.

      1. I did wonder whether it was a clever send-up of Gillette, given the Batman name you gave to your supposed interviewee. Actually though, I would be very surprised if there aren’t some very sensible people working at Gillette, or P&G who do realise that the companies have seriously miscalculated. Too often those who call themselves “progressives” seem to be more committed to public posturing and self-righteous finger-pointing than they are to reasoned debate. I don’t know whether you had a look at the About section on my website – I set it up seven months ago because I was sickened by the posturing and abuse which public discourse is increasingly riddled with. I watched this rot steadily unfolding for 37 years working in the education system in England, the one institution in society where we might have expected reason and evidence to prevail over extremism, absurdity and irrationality. The Gillette advertisement is an inevitable, if utterly lamentable, product of that rejection of reason and evidence. Hence the title of my website: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, after Goya’s famous etching.

      2. I’m sure those people will realize it soon. I think it was the CEO of Gillette who came out and said that sales have been to his liking since the ad came out, which is to be expected in the short term. They’ll have some Progressive people who have become new consumers of Gillette after seeing the ad who rushed to the store to buy the razors, but the effect of the people who will no longer purchase the razors won’t be seen immediately, but over time since people don’t have to buy a new pack of razors every day.
        I checked out your about page and yes, this is a much too common story. I was an English major at a school on the west coast of the United States and I was taught by Marxists and radical feminist progressives whose goal was to indoctrinate students. I had to go to class every day extremely prepared to fight against this, because I was the only one doing so. It was frustrating because I signed up to learn English and creative writing, not how to organize a protest and blame rich people, men, and capitalism for everything wrong with society. Reason wasn’t the least bit important to these people. My theory professor would light up talking about phallogocentrism (the idea that reason itself is oppressive) and tried to tell the class that humans are just as closely related to wales as we are to chimpanzees when I made a point about where competition arose in humans. The class itself became a satire at that point.
        And I like the title of your site, I think it was in Crime and Punishment where one of the characters says “when reason fails, the devil helps!”

      3. Thanks for that Jason. I first became aware of the appalling Marxist and radical feminist infiltration of the education system in the UK when I started teaching in 1975. I retired early, in 2013, at the age of just 60, far earlier than I had intended because I simply could not stand any more of the irrationality, absurdity, name-calling etc which I identified on my About page. I have read a great deal about the USA education system and, as always, you seem to be even further down this road of madness than we are. I loved teaching older teenagers (Psychology) and I still miss being with them, but I could never go back to it. As somebody who was taught how to think, and how to use reason and evidence half a century ago, I would be a total irrelevance in the education system now, astonishing though that probably sounds. It would be nice to keep in touch with you. If you would like to do so, we can exchange email addresses, or just continue to use wordpress. Like the USA, we seem to be in more and more of a social and political crisis in the UK which was another reason why I set up my website. Let me know if you would like to keep in touch. Ian

  4. In the wind turbine industry we used to say “erection of the turbine/tower”.
    Then feminists started working for the industry and felt offended by it.
    Emails in ever wind company send that from now it will be called “installation of the wind turbine”.

    I refuse. 😉

Leave a Reply