To shave men, save men, or shame men?

“We believe in the best in men.” That is the claim of Gillette’s controversial new commercial titled “Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” The nearly two-minute-long video was released Jan. 14 and seeks to address toxic masculinity and the #Metoo movement while asking “is this the best a man can get?”

The ad, or self-titled short film, is dividing consumers and media outlets alike with its controversial message of what it means to be appropriately masculine.

At the time of this writing, the video has racked up over 24,000,000 views on YouTube with 627,000 likes and 1,200,000 dislikes.

This makes the ad the 28th most disliked video on YouTube ever.

In addition to dividing the Internet community, many news outlets have published written perspectives on the video. The commercial was labeled “idiotic” by a Fox News opinion piece and was said to have framed men as “universal aggressors and rapists.”

On the other hand, an opinion piece by Huffpost argues that “the commercial instead celebrates men and affirms long-standing notions of masculinity as honorable and virtuous.”

The question of Gillette’s motivation is also a point of contingency. Is this video an example of a corporation addressing a problem to effect positive change, or is this a corporation taking advantage of a problem for the sake of advertisement?

“I think the goal is to teach,” said Maryville College Junior Aaron Solomon. “To see a group of people who care enough to make this public and take a chance to make a commercial that they probably knew would receive backlash is a powerful thing. It’s addressing an issue in our society.” Yet, others were not so optimistic regarding the video’s perceived message.

“I get what it is trying to say, but they did it in a wrong way,” said Maryville College sophomore Mitchell Fowler. “I feel like it targeted men as a gender and blamed what a few men had done on the whole male gender.”

While the heart and motive behind the video will forever remain unclear, political ads are becoming a trend in pop culture. From Nike pasting Collin Kaepernick’s face on a poster, to Pepsi invoking Kendall Jenner in a faux protest, these similar marketing techniques are becoming more prevalent as companies join the bandwagon of politically charged content.

“I thought the message was tasteful, and it’s started a conversation,” said Maryville College Senior Liz Lane. “But I think we should take into consideration when companies step forward and say these things whether or not they are trying to sell us something as a byproduct.”

Whatever the intention or motive behind it, this commercial is undeniably on everyone’s mind and maybe that is the point. For better or worse, is th

One thought on “To shave men, save men, or shame men?

  • February 3, 2019 at 10:41 am
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    Great read on a great ad (in my opinion). Any man who’s offended by this is probably part of the issue- we can all do better in how we treat each other (especially those of the opposite sex). Having been in the military I can vouch that toxic masculinity is real and it truly affects the way we interact as men.

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