Gillette, Toxic Masculinity and the F Word

The Gillette "Toxic Masculinity" commercial not-so-subtle lecturing men (their primary clientele) about being Kinder, Gentler Wussies the company says they should be is rapidly fading into the dust of Catholics and Indians, yesterday's news. But before the Forgettable is actually forgotten, here are a couple hardly-mentioned observations about why this TV spot got its embarrassing 15 minutes of fame.

First, the resentment over its Broad Brush. You want Inclusiveness? Like this? You got it. No man or boy was spared. Age? Irrelevant. Sex? Irrelevant. Setting? Irrelevant. If ya got a dick, you are a dick and this spot is for you. The message is: you're bad, a Neanderthal, a creep, a dork, a ham-handed sex maniac, a perv, misogynist, male chauvinist pig, a useless pile of muscle suitable for hard labor and sperm donations. Oh - and picking up the tab. Oh - and being a bullet magnet in some overseas sandbox to keep you and the kiddies safe. Yeah - those are OK. Not mentioned, but OK.

Also not mentioned: very few men are anywhere close to that. It shouldn't have to be said but since we're in the days of Capt. Obvious, it does. The commercial made me do it. The commercial didn't have to be made either.

Remember around 6th grade when some buttheads in the back of the class wouldn't stop screwing around and the teacher finally said "OK – You've spoiled it for everybody! No recess! We're all going stay inside and study." Alright – that was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. But you know the feeling: being judged and punished for something you didn't do.

That was the commercial's message to men from Gillette.

One other thing: the Gillette spot used the "F" word. The worst word in the English language! The one word that starts vicious fights, loses friends, loses jobs, breaks up all kinds of relationships for all the wrong reasons. No, not that "F word", this one: Fair. As in "the Gillette commercial was not Fair." How not?

Are all women 'sugar and spice and everything nice"? Are all women bitchy, demanding, manipulating and ungrateful? Do all women get in your face? Do all women use sex to get what they want? Promise but not Deliver? Make excuses aka lies? Try to play men? Play their men? Then say they didn't? Are all women basically bitches? Are they all sexist? Hysterical? Moody? Pushy? Drama Queens? Rude? Hurtful? Snide? Sarcastic?

Imagine another commercial by Pantene. Celine. Victoria's Secret. Better yet, Summer's Eve.

(Rolling Scenes: woman slapping man's face in a restaurant, slamming the bedroom door, screaming at man from passenger seat, smiling at men exaggerating cleavage at a business meeting)

Woman V/O:

Is this the best a woman can get? Is it? We can't hide here. It's been going on far too long. We can't laugh it off.

"It's girl thing; you can't understand!"…"I have 3 kids- a girl, a boy and my husband"…

There's no going back. Women need to hold other women accountable

Scene: (Woman staring and smiling at handsome man's crotch) Hey, Studly! Nice package you're totin'…

(Other woman grabs her arm) Hey, honey…that's not cool!

Some women already are – but some are not enough. Don't act like a spoiled slut. The girls watching today will be the women tomorrow.

Now go buy our douche.

Think that would go over well? Think the media would be reporting breathlessly that a new "national conversation" has begun among women everywhere saying "OH! That commercial is so true! That is so good! I'm so glad someone finally took on Female Toxicity! We've been bitches and hoe's too long! Men deserve better! Thank you, Summer's Eve!?

Yeah...Right. But not because it isn' t accurate. Some women are all these things but not all women. Maybe not even most women. Just as some men are those things. But not all men. Maybe not even most. Gillette's "message": not accurate and not fair.

Gillette also markets a line of women's shaving products. Think they might run with "Best A Woman Can Get" campaign?

Me neither.


  1. Well said. And, yes, I won't expect to see the Summer's Eve commercial.


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