Razors in toilets, razors in trash cans, razors smashed to bits. Twitter was overrun with enthusiastic support clashing with equally angry posts. Before watching the Gillette ad, I knew it had sparked incredible controversy, and gave rise to claims of sexism. I prepared myself for an accusatory video, but was surprised to be met with an inspiring, positive message that should not evoke such a violent reaction.
Some of the people reacting angrily towards Gillette claim that it is an attack on masculinity. This is only true if one considers masculinity to be sexual misbehavior and misogyny. Others responded by saying that the video made the claim that all men are bad. Yes, the video calls out unacceptable behavior from men that is far too common in our society, but it also portrays men as the heroes of the story. The ad puts men in the positions of both the victim and the hero, showing how harmful behavior, the result of long-standing social constructs, can be eradicated in future men.
Some people are responding negatively because they hate seeing their behavior recognized as wrong. I understand that it can be uncomfortable to see personal problems being addressed, but in order for positive change to happen, we must acknowledge our flaws.
The angry responses to Gillette do nothing but support the ad’s message. Instead of giving reasons to disagree with the video, the pictures of broken razors and furious posts only serve as evidence of the harmful behavior and culture the video addresses.
We are living in a time of change. We cannot defend harmful behavior and prohibit progress. We should support positive messages that are working to create a better future. The Gillette ad is not a threat or accusation. Rather, it is a call to action for our entire generation, urging us to raise our children to be better than those that came before. Instead of getting angry and opposing the ad, think about why the ad elicited such an emotional response. Perhaps the ad accomplished its mission.