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.