There are few things as inherently manly as shaving your face. The ritual of a father teaching their son how to shave is a rite of passage. It's when boys become men! Well, not really but it's still kind of a big deal for us guys. Accordingly, men's razor companies have always projected an aura of "manliness" to sell their product. Buff looking men with chiseled jaws shaving manly stubble to the delight of sexy women is a mainstay of the industry.
So you can imagine the horror of legions of dudebros, MRAs, and all walks of knuckledragging douchebags when Gillette, with its iconic slogan "The best a man can get," rolled out this ad absolutely crushing toxic masculinity:
My favorite part was the line of dads at the grills mindless parroting "Boys will be boys." I have something of a pet peeve about that line. Men have been regurgitating that crap for generations because that's what they've been told from childhood. It strips them of their responsibility for their actions and it's insulting. There is no such thing as "boys will be boys." Boys act the way we raise them to act, nothing more, nothing less. If they grow up violent, it's because we told them that boys are supposed to be violent. If they grow up to be bullies, it's because we told them that's who they're supposed to be. If they rape a woman, it's because we didn't teach them not to rape. Garbage in, garbage out. It made my day to see "Boys will be boys" so perfectly destroyed in such a simple, but powerful, way.
Naturally, the garbage men of the internet lost their minds over this dastardly assault on the very essence of manliness.
The comments on the Hill's article about the ad are just as filled with jackasses pounding their chest in rage over Gillette insulting "all men." Grunt, grunt, I'll never buy Gillette again! I'm deeply offended!
Of course, it's difficult to see how an ad that pushes back against bullying and the crassest type of sexism is an attack on "all men." That is what we're talking about here, after all. Gillette was not being subtle in any way whatsoever and took aim at the most overt kind of assholery that boys and men display on a regular basis. Beating up the smaller kid. Catcalling. "Comedy" that demeans women. Mansplaining. Cyberbullying (although boys are far from alone in that one). We're not talking nebulous microaggressions here or the gray area when hitting on a woman crosses over from assertive to threatening.
And yet...the knuckledraggers couldn't stop themselves from declaring themselves the victims of an attack. From the whining in the comments, one would think that Gillette made an ad calling for all men to be castrated.
But in a way, that's exactly what they did as far as toxic masculinity is concerned. In much the same way white supremacists see anti-racism as an "attack" on white people, so too do men drowning in toxic masculinity see any challenge to their toxicity as a threat to their manhood. They have to. Any attempt to get them to stop being assholes denies them the very thing they think makes them a "man" and that is intolerable. That's why they insist criticism of toxic masculinity is a criticism of all men. To them, anyone not acting like a Neanderthal is not really a man.
Sniveling babies, the lot of 'em.
Personally, I use Dollar Shave Club because razors in the store are freaking expense and since I'm a hairy bastard that has to shave constantly, I can't afford it. But I'm still giving a serious hat tip to Gillette and while I don't buy their razors, I sure as hell am going to buy their shaving cream. Any company that's willing to invite that kind of backlash over a topic that most people won't touch with a ten foot pole is one worth rewarding with my dollars.
Since you are here, please consider supporting The Daily Banter. We are completely independent and reader funded and your contribution helps us cover politics at a critical moment in history. A membership gets you access to our digital magazine 'Banter M' and our extensive archive of long form journalism. It is a small amount but makes a huge difference to us. Thank you!