Response to the Gillette Commercial

There’s a been quite a bit of on-line dialogue in the last 24 hours regarding the new Gillette commercial “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”  If you haven’t seen it, please take a look here.  It’s been viewed over 5 million times and the response has been all over the board.  Over 100,000 people have given it a thumbs up in appreciation, yet over 400,000 people have given it a thumbs down.  I’m intrigued by the quantity and severity of some of the negative responses/comments  about this commercial.  I find this  commercial to be inspiring because it illustrates that we men can collectively be better tomorrow than we are today.  Isn’t that the goal of all people?

Some on comments on the video:

“This is feminist propaganda” said one commenter.

“There have always been good men. Bad ones too, yes, but the same can be said about women.” said another.

Piers Morgan said, “This absurd virtue-signaling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity.”

Coincidentally on Saturday morning I had the privilege of opening an all-day program of 100 4th and 5th grade boys. I talked to these young men about the impact of being trapped in the “manbox”, and about equality for all races, genders, sexual orientation, etc.  I told them about how amazing it is to be a man, how lucky they are, and about how masculinity can and should be celebrated.  We can be tough, competitive and aggressive, but also nurturing, vulnerable, and creative. I invited these young men to evaluate every situation in their life and then have the wisdom to know if it’s time to be tough, or if it’s time to be supportive and caring. My goal for the program was to teach healthy masculinity, where a boy can embrace and accept all parts of himself – not just the parts that our society views as “traditional masculine”.

Here’s my question: Why have the comments about this video (primarily from men) been so negative?  Culture says we are supposed to be these resilient, tough people, yet we are offended to see a video that asks us to be our best selves. Why is this a problem? To the men who are offended by this advertisement – what message did you receive, and why was it offensive? I would love to have a conversation to broaden my perspective. I am asking this question to learn more and understand. I hope we can talk about this sensitive subject with the goal to learn from each other rather than offend, and to remember that we all have a unique perspective, and there is no absolute right or wrong.

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