Storm in a jockstrap

by Grania

Gillette has unleashed its latest commercial. Instead of its usual claim that it’s the best a man can get, this time they have opted for some social education and encouraged men to call out other men they see behaving badly. It’s not the worst advice ever given, although I suspect that many in the world are weary of being lectured to, especially by multi-billion dollar corporations; and even more are sick of the call-out culture of social media that may have started in an honest attempt to draw the line against society’s most egregious offenders, but has given way to nasty dog-piling on anyone who may have inadvertently trodden on someone else’s toes.

Some responses are positive and generally unimpressed by the levels of offence taken:


Others are less impressed:

One should remember that this is a company. Ultimately they don’t care whether you like their advertisement or not. They are just delighted at all the free publicity this ad is creating, making it worth every penny they spent.

Will it have a beneficial effect on society?  That’s a definite maybe, maybe not.

I should point out that Gillette manufactures women’s razors too, and charges more for them. So the company ain’t quite as woke as they like to appear.

Click on image to read original article on The Street



  1. David W Andrews
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Camille Paglia PLEASE CHIME IN!

  2. Steve Gerrard
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Why does the photo compare a Gillette razor for women to a Bic razor for men? They are not from the same company.

  3. Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I always look to multi-national coprorations for my moral compass, and I assume that others do the same. Thanks Procter & Gamble!

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    About 10 years ago Bell Canada ran a commercial about Dieppe that made me tear up. Dieppe was a crucial WWII battle where a lot of Canadians were injured/killed. So, it was meant to evoke emotions among Canadians. I don’t recall anyone complaining “how dare they comment on societal things” with that commercial….

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see the problem with this ad either.

      Everyone complains if a company doesn’t take a responsible position towards human rights, global warming, environmental issues, women’s rights, LGBT rights etc., then when one proactively does an excellent ad addressing a problem in our society, they complain.

      And they can’t address everything in one ad either, so those talking about what they should have included can shut up too imo.

      It seems to me that too many are just looking for something to criticize. They need to look at some of the real problems out there that need some attention instead of having a go at this great attempt to do the right thing.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        This comment isn’t meant to be a criticism of Grania btw. She’s done a good job here.

      • Zaphod
        Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        This isn’t addressing a problem.It is essentially implying that men are uniquely responsible for the actions of other people. It is not within any man’s power to prevent the criminal and anti-social from doing what they will and the BS tropes about men excusing real criminality and violence with phrases like “boys will be boys” are feminist propaganda. Add to that the fact that some of what they are complaining about is actually innocent robust behaviour that harms nobody.

        I’m 100 percent certain that if you made an add telling women that they need to do better and make themselves responsible for violent or criminally malicious women there would be an outcry, and rightly so.

        In short, the add is accusing men of ignoring criminality and trying to make them responsible for other people’s actions. It doesn’t make sense to say that this is only aimed at the few men who do that because the very fact that the add was made implies that this is a significant behaviour amongst men.

        • Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:34 am | Permalink

          “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” — Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison


          • Zaphod
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:54 am | Permalink

            Just as well then that men who bully and abuse power are not all that popular. Most of us have an innate hostility toward perceived unfairness.

          • Merilee
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink


          • Diane G
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

            Nice quote!

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted January 18, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure why I’m bothering to respond to this comment, especially when you don’t even have the courage to use your real name, but here goes anyway. Imo, you appear to have misunderstood the ad completely and are reading all sorts of things into it in order to find something to complain about, It does not accuse all men at all, and WTF is “feminist propaganda”? I suspect you need to examine your own attitudes and perhaps take note of what this ad actually does say.

  5. Brujo Feo
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    “I should point out that Gillette manufactures women’s razors too, and charges more for them.”

    This may be, but as to the graphic which implies that: the comparison isn’t between two Gillette razors; it’s between Gillette women’s and a competitor’s men’s. So I googled: “Does Gillette own Bic?” and “Are Bic razors made by Gillette?” And the answer appears to be: “no.” So no evidence here that Gillette charges more for “women’s razors,” whatever that means.

    A personal anecdote: I have a heavy but neatly-trimmed beard, and shave my cheeks and neck maybe 2-3 times a week. For years, I just used whatever cheap razors I got at the 99-Cent store. I’d get 2, maybe 3 shaves out of a razor before they dulled to unusability. Then I got a Gillette throwaway from somewhere; yes, it’s probably a bit spendier than the no-names. But I’ve been using that ONE Gillette razor for about four months now. Maybe longer. I think that there’s sorcery involved here somewhere.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Sorry–someone else beat me to this observation.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Similarly I tried the non-disposable type some years ago after using disposables for years. Sorcery indeed. I buy a big multi-pack of 10 or 12 razor cartridges that costs $35 to $40 and it last me for at least two years. I typically shave every other day, so that works out to about 1.1 cents per shave. And the shaves are pain and blood free and take 90 to 120 seconds in the shower.

  6. phil brown
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    It upset Piers Morgan, so it’s probably doing something right.

    • Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:04 am | Permalink

      Its hard to agree with Piers Morgan, isnt it? I almost found myself wanting to agree with Alex Jones that one time…almost

  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I think this is not the first time that a corporation selling doo-dads has created a ‘moral compass’ kind of commercial, but it is still fairly novel and so we are seeing a strong reaction.
    But a few more of these from other companies and it will become the new normal. I don’t personally mind in the slightest having frequent messages of this sort out there since it is something that needs regular reinforcement. There are salient counter arguments, but on balance I think it more good rather than not good.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Greggs did it in the UK by placing a sausage roll in a manger in their nativity – they issued fullsome apologies and reaped the reward of massive media coverage that appears to have done them no harm at all.

      Their current vegan sausage roll seems to be along the same lines, though somewhat less contraversial (maybe they just missed with this one).

    • Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s only a year or so since they ran a campaign implying their products were made in the USA despite manufacturing most of them abroad.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I disagree. I don’t know about US TV, but here in NZ we have innumerable interminable ‘public service’ ads (many about road safety) that go on and on and on, several times a night. Or they do if I don’t hit the remote in time.

      Maybe I’m a reactionary, they have zero effect on my driving since I never think about them when driving, which is probably just as well since on the rare occasions one comes to mind it occasions an instant 5mph increase in my speed…

      But then I’m so cynical and so sick of ads trying to manipulate me that they almost always have the opposite effect, *even ads for causes that I generally agree with*.


  8. dd
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    The photo used by newspapers and online to illustrate the ad shows a long-line of overwhelmingly white men.

    It’s fascinating to me because the “whiteness”, and first world countried, has created the most open society to women and gays in history.

    It’s the non-white world where the big problems are.

  9. Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    The ‘woke’ all have beards like Vikings anyway.

  10. eric
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Meh. Transparently using and manipulating social issues to sell their product…I will buy exactly as many Gilette razors tomorrow as I did yesterday – not one more, not one less.

  11. Gabrielle
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Gillette is owned by Proctor & Gamble, who bought the razor company about 15 years ago. BIC is a completely different company.

    I just looked up on for the prices of the Gillette men’s disposable razor called the Sensor 2 (twin blade), and the price is $11.99 for a 12 pack, or 99.9 cents each. For the women’s Daisy twin blade disposable razor, they are also $11.99 for a 12 pack, but it comes with one free razor (13 total), so it ends up being 92.2 cents per razor. Not too different, and it’s difficult sometimes to make direct comparisons due to differences in packaging.

    Myself, I buy the men’s razors because I’ve often found them to be lower-priced in the stores, and I’m not going to pay a premium for pink plastic handles.

  12. W.T. Effingham
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE (/s)their use of the “change scenes every two seconds or less” technique !! It’s so original and sophisticated!! I hope to see many other advertisers borrow this great innovation!! /s To be honest &/or sincere,this is an example of why most folks I know support public television😺.

  13. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Not sure if the commercial does much good but it can’t hurt. On another note, the Brexit deal was just voted down.

    • Ann German
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Hey, we’re talking serious razor stuff here; not interested in this “Brexit” thing, whatever that is.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, sorry to screw up a shave or the manly men but things are not looking good in lots of place, especially Britain.

      • Posted January 15, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Cameron’s razor.


      • Filippo
        Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Obama and Romney need to visit Britain, again, to show them the errors of their ways.

      • Posted January 16, 2019 at 4:20 am | Permalink

        Brexit is like a razor – an old style cut throat razor and we are applying it in such a way as to… well, cut our collective metaphorical throat.

  14. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    That did not even irritate my skin.

    Ultimately they don’t care whether you like their advertisement or not. They are just delighted at all the free publicity this ad is creating, making it worth every penny they spent.

    Maybe in US. But companies here do care somewhat, by way of moral codes that makes their employers and stock owners happy and productive (but of course helps their margin too).

  15. Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    What I hate most about ‘toxic masculinity’ isn’t the implication that we are all violent but the attempted shaming of those of us who don’t don’t wish to constantly express our emotions. I get enough of that shit because of my Asperger’s. I have never cried in my adult life and I have no intention of starting now. I’m not ‘emotionally repressed’ and I’m not a fucking robot, but I get nothing out of expressing my emotions in public. ‘Toxic masculinity’ is a label invented by emotional parasites who feed on other people’s grief.

    • Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Typical male emotional responses have already been declared a pathology: “Normative Male Alexithymia” is the disease afflicting any men who don’t cry when watching BEACHES.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      I can relate to that, all of it.

      There’s nothing *wrong* with expressing ones emotions in public, just – many of us prefer not to, usually. I’ve cried a few times, but usually in private, not in front of a bunch of f***ing morons who don’t know me, don’t have a clue what I’m crying about, and who probably (other than a feeling of social guilt browbeaten into them) couldn’t give a stuff anyway. If society says I have to cry in public – OK, I can do that shit, just don’t expect it to be genuine.


  16. Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m a bit conferenced about the title of this OP. ‘Storm in a jockstrap?’ What are they shaving in this advert? May I suggest waxing instead?

    If you ever want a good laugh read the Amazon reviews for Veet for Men. It’s bring tears to you eyes.

  17. Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    I find it sort of insulting that one would need a razor maker to set one’s moral compass. It is also difficult to believe that such an ad would have an impact on those who need it. Finally, it seems more likely this ad is motivated by PR considerations than an honest effort to correct mens’ behavior. They undoubtedly pass the cost of the ads onto their customers. They should focus on making razors instead.

    • Filippo
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

      In today’s hard-copy NY Times there was a full-page ad in remembrance of a partner of some Wall Street (I think) financial institution. Does anyone know, does that somehow count as an ad and therefore deductible business expense?

      • Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        I’m not a corporate accountant but I’m pretty sure that such “ads” are considered a legitimate business expense and money spent on them would not be taxed.

      • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        It can be said to generate goodwill.

        Gillette wagered they were doing the same thing.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      “They undoubtedly pass the cost of the ads onto their customers.”

      Why I almost always buy supermarket ‘house brands’. They’re (a) cheaper, often much cheaper (b) they haven’t polluted my viewing with annoying lies, sorry, ads, and (c) my money *isn’t* going towards paying for those ads (the financial equivalent of deliberately shooting myself in the foot, repeatedly).


      • Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        I buy house brands too but I find they are often inferior to the name brand products they attempt to duplicate. One such that comes to mind are Tater-Tots. The original ones from Ore-Ida taste far superior to the copies, IMHO.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          I did say ‘almost always’. Occasionally a ‘name brand’ is superior. (Though there’s one ‘supermarket brand’ icecream I always buy, even though I usually shop at a different supermarket chain, just because it’s better tasting IMO than all the ‘name brands’).

          But 90% of the time there’s nothing in it.


          • Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

            We might disagree on the percentage but it obviously depends on the particular products. Since you mention ice cream, I find it is highly variable. Some of the expensive “gourmet” brands are terrible and the inexpensive brands much better. Tillamook and Alden are our two favorite brands and both are fairly inexpensive.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

              I agree about the variability of ice cream (I’m in NZ, brands are different but they do vary a lot).

              And I also agree it depends on the products. Household cleaning products are one category where the product is 90% advertising, 10% actual ingredients.

              All manner of soft drinks / ‘energy drinks’ etc is another. And breakfast cereals.


              • eric
                Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                It’s not just about the ingredients, there’s a QA/QC component too. Yeah sure, the recipe for bleach or aspirin or cat food may be similar regardless of what company makes it…but where are their factories located, and does that country require them to perform good quality control tests? After all, Menu Foods had the same ingredients in their 2007 pet foods as other companies…the melamine and cyanuric acid that killed thousands of pets was due to the ingredient stream that company used being contaminated.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted January 15, 2019 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

                eric – You think, because some brand is heavily advertised, that makes its sourcing any more trustworthy than a generic supermarket brand?

                Because I don’t.


              • eric
                Posted January 16, 2019 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

                I think branding has the effect of helping people remember the mistakes and thus for well known, historic brands with no ‘bad history’, we can tentatively say they’ve made no major (detectable) QA errors. With new brands and generics, it’s harder to track which past mistakes align with which manufacturers and thus make an informed decision as to the past safety history of the product.

                I remember Menu Foods, and won’t trust them. I remember the Tylenol recall, and do trust them despite it because of the way they changed their products. I also remember the recent romaine lettuce scare, but since it affected multiple generic packages in multiple stores, I have no way to tell in the future which romaine lettuce sources may be safer than others. See the difference? I’m not claiming all brands are safer than all generics, but I am saying (a) it’s easier for me, a consumer, to track when brands are bad vs. when generics are bad, and (b) because of (a), brand producers have a bit more of an incentive to stay ‘clean’ than generic producers.

              • Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

                That’s an excellent point. Store brands are made by some minor producer that competes with the name brands. I would assume it is quite common for a supermarket chain to switch suppliers any time they see fit (due to lower prices, supplier goes bankrupt, customers don’t like the product, etc.) so it is very hard for consumers to monitor such a product’s health, safety, taste, or anything else.

  18. Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    This comes right on the release of the APA’s guidelines for treating boys & men, which essentially pathologizes typical masculinity — which is, of course, entirely socially constructed.

  19. Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Seth Andrews is a hectoring, holder-than-thou male feminist. Of course he’d approve of Gillette’s tendentious man-shaming.

    • Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:06 am | Permalink

      Got to say, any woman who isn’t immediately suspicious of men who go on and on about how “woke” they are only has herself to blame when they show their true face.

      • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        And it’s hard to keep track of how many ‘male feminist allies’ have turned out to be PUA in sheep’s clothing.

  20. Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    They say all publicity is good publicity. That always seemed doubtful to me, but now, with Trump having gotten himself elected with exactly this strategy …

  21. pablo
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Next they should do a commercial featuring high school mean girls teasing a classmate until she develops an eating disorder, and women using passive aggressive cry bullying.

    • Posted January 15, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

      Why do you hate women?

  22. max blancke
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    The impact of the commercial is probably being amplified by the fact that it is being released at about the same time as the new APA report on
    There is quite a heavy attack on masculinity these days, by the usual intersectionality folks, who do not seem to have much of an idea what masculinity even is.
    The APA report contains a lot of clues to the ideology of it’s creators, with phrases such as “sex assigned at birth”, and “Sexism exists as a byproduct, reinforcer, and justification of male privilege.”

    Most of what seems to be “toxic” is the result of what happens when boys grow up without good masculine role models, to teach them how to harness all that energy and emotion for good.

    • Posted January 15, 2019 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      They cite Judith Butler. That’s one big clue.

      • Deodand
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 1:07 am | Permalink

        Who is Judith Butler?

        • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          Radfem disciple of the charlatan, Lacan, who wrote a turgid, prolix tome full of pomo word salad, Gender Trouble (cited in the guidelines), claiming that gender is both socially constructed and ‘performed’, with one’s performances materially affecting one’s physical sex.

          Nobody who cites Gender Trouble has actually read it through, as it makes the Book of Mormon seem like a McGuffey Reader.

  23. Jimbo
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I think this story is way worse than most realize. The ad certainly pissed me off for the reasons others have stated but then it occurred to me: what the hell does shaving have to do with the mistreatment of women by men? Answer: nothing! And then I wondered: is Gillette doing this because beards are popular in the millennial generation and they’re losing sales? Answer: yes!

    What Procter and Gamble is doing, having lost big money, is to exploit the popularity of #metoo and the Womens’ Movement to vilify men and make them fear mob justice during a moral panic to restore sales. The “evil” dirtbag men have beards and the noble warrier men (who must protect women from male harassiment) are ALL clean shaven…every one! In other words, they are co-opting womens’ anger toward asshole male behavior to make men fear becoming one of the accused (falsely?) to change their behavior by (wait for it)…shaving again. Bearded men: evil, Shaven men: guardians of female virtue and enemies of bearded men.

    This is cynical beyond belief! To hell with Gillette.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Come on, evil Spock had a beard in Mirror, Mirror.

      • Jimbo
        Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

        Which is why he was called “evil Spock”. After a shave with Gillette, the best a Vulcan can get, right back on the bridge helping Uhura monitor communications and keeping gropey Kirk away from her with the threat of that pinchey-trapezius move.

    • Hunt
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Naw, does not compute. Haven’t you ever noticed that the most obnoxious and righteous feminist men seem to have facial hair?

    • eric
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Bearded men: evil, Shaven men: guardians of female virtue and enemies of bearded men.

      Something sort of like that goes back over a hundred years. On around the turn of the century (19th-20th), tuberculosis was killing about 10% of the US population and biologists in Europe, the UK, and the US were finding it could be transmitted by dried sputum carried on clothes, bedding, and yes, facial hair. This contributed to all sorts of changes in fashion. Why did overstuffed chairs and complex victorian women’s dresses disappear in favor of simpler dresses as well as art deco chrome and plastic? Because, at least in part, tuberculosis. Want to know why its ‘proper’ to fold your bed’s top sheet over the comforter? Because tuberculosis. Want to know why the last President to sport a beard was Taft (1909-1913)? Because tuberculosis.

      For at least 3-4 decades in the west, beards were associated with ‘inconsiderate’ or somewhat risky health/hygene practices, and the trend continued long after it was meaningful.

      Which is a very long-winded way of saying, yes you are right to point out there’s a ‘beards bad, clean-shaven good’ bias out there. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the metoo movement millenials, as it predates them by over a hundred years. Unless you’re talking about 1900s millenials. 🙂

      • Gamall
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        That’s quite interesting. Thanks for being very long-winded way 🙂

  24. Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Real men don’t use “single-use plastic” disposable but hard-to-recycle razors.

    I use a nice Merkur long-handled razor now. Two of my colleagues independently made the same decision … and chose the same razor.


  25. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Well, I won’t stop buying Gillettes. Because I never started. There are other much cheaper brands around, why would I waste money on Gillettes, a large precentage of which goes on inflicting annoying TV ads on me?

    And as for preachy sanctimonious band-wagon-hopping ‘public service’ advertisements, every single marketroid who thinks he can inflict his trendy moral high ground on me can shove the product where the sun don’t shine, sideways.

    [/snark] [/rant]


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Specifically re Gilettes – I was given a pack of Gilettes for Xmas. I’ve tried them. I find my cheap disposable Bics are better (though I’m not admitting that around the family, of course).


  26. Blue
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I like it. After millennia and centuries and
    decades of the FLIP / REVERSE in anything and
    in everything, I like this construal.


  27. Diane G
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


  28. Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    My sister is a publicist, and she makes ads for Chevrolet. She made a commercial that has a gay kiss, and some other social commentary. IMO that even though these are big companies that just want to sell a product (and they know that many young people are target to this kind of message), also the publicists behind these ads can be young people with ideals and want to push them into their creations (like my sister) because they think it is good.

  29. Hunt
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    When did “boys will be boys” become code for misogyny and sexually aggressive abuse? The only times I ever heard it was, say when six yo boys are racing around with toys in the futile attempt to purge themselves of excess energy, or when they’ve covered themselves in mud and think it’s charming.

    IOW, it used to be a term of endearment. Now it’s been co-opted and pathologized.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      “When did “boys will be boys” become code for misogyny and sexually aggressive abuse?”

      When they’re Good Ol’ Boys ?



  30. Vaal
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    “One should remember that this is a company. Ultimately they don’t care whether you like their advertisement or not. They are just delighted at all the free publicity this ad is creating, making it worth every penny they spent.”

    Which is why I loathe, with all my heart, edgy, preachy, “social conscious raising” attempts at advertising.

    It’s not that I’m about to protest them, or throw out my razors or products from whatever company attempts this stuff. And it’s not that the messages are all bad.

    The problem is that even if the message is good, they just come from a sleazy place. Someone leveraging that message for another purpose: to sell you something. They all come off to me as utterly dishonest and cynical in that respect.

    I can’t help but see right through all of these commercials, including this one from Gillette, to the image behind them of advertising men slapping each other on the back with glee when they see the numbers their promo spot did.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:15 pm | Permalink


      Totally agreed.

      Specially when it’s heavy-handed and preachy like this Gillette effort.

      (I don’t in the least mind ads that just incidentally include gay / colored / female where it fits the context, so long as they don’t get all clumsy and overbearing with it.)


    • Diane G
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:59 pm | Permalink


  31. Barney
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Gad Saad is just parodying “men’s rights activists”, isn’t he? No-one can write this seriously:

    “I wonder how the “toxic men” who stormed the shores of Normandy to liberate the world from pure evil would feel about the moralizing of
    @Gillette / @ProcterGamble . The folks who do not understand why people are upset at the obnoxious virtue signalling are blind to the TOXIC
    anti-male zeitgeist reverberating through every corner of the halls of intelligentsia. No one contests the fact that we should hold accountable those who commit criminal, unethical, & immoral behaviors (irrespective of which of 873 genders they belong to). That’s not the point.”

    • chrism
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      My father was one of those men on Gold Beach. I never saw him cry, nor ever heard him say ‘I love you’ – but his love was real and encompassing. He just came from a time where it wasn’t done, but he was the best father a lad could wish for, and though he’s been gone twenty years I miss him every day. Gillette can insult me all they like – I use straight razors and homemade shaving soap – I have thick skin and the only effect it will have is to lower my opinion of the company. But since they feel they have the moral authority to criticise all men, they’re insulting the memory of my father and all the decent men like him. I won’t have it. I won’t be spoken to that way. No more P&G products at all from now on.

      • Barney
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:06 am | Permalink

        Gillette is not insulting you. They are not criticising all men. And it’s absurd to say that a message of “don’t allow bullying or sexism” is “insulting the memory of my father”. Your position makes no sense whatsoever.

        • chrism
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          So glad for that thick skin…

    • Shane
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Gad Saad is not a Poe. He’s not making fun of the the perpetually outraged, but a full on member of it. Anyone that doesn’t agree with him is a “naturally-lobotomized castrato” of the “Castrati Ostrich Brigade.” He is entertaining though, for a few minutes.'s_Law#A_Poe

      • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        And Atheism plussers who drop in with a link to the Regressive Leftist rationalwiki provide an equal extent of entertainment.

        • Shane
          Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          I had to look up Atheism Plusser. Found some stuff from 2012. You’re hilarious!

  32. Harrison
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Corporate virtue signalling works. Companies with the most egregious anti-worker practices can be forgiven in an instant by so-called progressives merely by uttering the correct woke incantations. Indeed, they’ll even pledge fealty to corporations that do so and immediately run out and spend large sums to join in virtue signalling themselves. It’s often literally the same mindset as the conservative who will go to any lengths to “own the libs.” And perception matters more than fact.

    • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      Good point! What if Gillette’s management contains a large number of serial sexual abusers and the ad is just their way of getting out ahead of the storm to come? My dislike of their ad stems from the medium, not the message. One can nitpick the message but it is overall a good one. I just don’t like the idea of a razor company delivering it.

  33. russellblackford
    Posted January 15, 2019 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    As someone who was physically bullied in primary school and high school (basically for being what we’d now call “a nerd”, though that term didn’t exist in Australia back then), I’m sympathetic to the ad’s message. The whole “be a man” thing also rankles with me from my adolescent experience.

    But the message was not conveyed in a way that seemed supportive of the many guys with experiences like mine. The sheer length of the thing, the annoyingly pompous and sanctimonious voiceover, the relentless sensational imagery, and the overt referencing of current political movements and slogans all ruined it. It adds up to looking like a propaganda campaign against men. Yes, it says, a few men are okay. But most men are violent, callous, misogynist brutes. Watching it felt like I was being attacked simply for being male, rather than supported.

    Imagine if a large business corporation aired an equivalent advertisement about the alleged failings of women as a group – with equivalent relentless imagery, similar pompous preaching from the actor doing the voiceover work, etc. – accusing the majority of women of being sexually manipulative or of undermining men (and each other) with malicious gossip or of being airheads who take astrology seriously; and imagine if it explicitly lectured the majority of women that they need to shape up and become better people. There’d be an outcry about gender stereotyping, and rightly so.

    This advertisement is a minor issue in the scheme of things, and, again, I’m sympathetic to the anti-bullying message and to the idea that masculinity need not require machismo and aggressive posturing with a threat of possible violence in the background (and in that sense masculinity need not be “toxic”). But there must be a better way to convey that idea to whichever men need to hear it.

    Bottom line: the underlying message is okay, even commendable, but the execution is dreadful. It is far too heavy-handed, self-righteous, and negative. It will win applause from some of the converted, and there will be much virtue signalling in the form of woke people publicly commending it. But it won’t convince anyone who actually needs to be convinced. More likely, it will produce an emotional backlash and harden them in their current view of the world. It’s a mess.

    Unless, that is, the intention was a very cynical one: i.e., to make this ad annoy as many men (and women who are actually fond of men) as possible, and so generate controversy and brand exposure.

    • Diane G
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      That’s exactly how I see it. Why not feature men who are examples of caring, helping, working, nurturing, creating, building, baby-sitting, working for change, helping the weakest among us…and say, this is masculinity.

      • Barney
        Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:01 am | Permalink

        That’s what it does. It has men breaking up fights, and a man being supportive of his little daughter. And it says that is “the best”.

        I understand the scepticism because it’s a huge multinational saying this, but I can’t understand people who have previously shown good sense saying “this is attacking men in general”. It’s as if they stopped watching it after 20 seconds.

        • Posted January 16, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

          I think the reason this ad upsets a lot of people is that it pulls some in opposite directions, and thus appeals to slightly conflicting urges–the need to be normal and the need to be approved of. The second half is going “This is what women approve of” (to which the younger males are entitled to reply “show, don’t tell, ladies”). The first half appeals to the need to be normal, and it implies (to some) that this is how men normally are (to which folk are reacting with the “not all men” response).
          Of course, theres also a lingering sense that this is scolding and shaming while also conflating things that might not reasonably be conflated. Rough and tumble play isnt the same as bullying, and neither are the smae as powerful men suing their power to force themselves on women.

        • Merilee
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink


        • Diane G
          Posted January 16, 2019 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

          I was making assumptions without watching it at all, just based on the comments here and other online reaction. Thanks, Barney, for correcting me.

          Just happened to hear it today on a radio sports talk show…whose hosts and callers mostly liked it, to my surprise. I hope it gains acceptance, but I think if I were male I might resent it.

          I’ll shut up, now. 😉

          • Hunt
            Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

            You don’t have to shut up, and I think your reaction, and russelblackford’s are correct. It was preachy and insulting. I think worse scene was the stereotypical line of men with BBQs (BBQs!) saying “boys will be boys” like automatons. Attempt at surrealism, at humor? What a bizarre and offensive scene.

            It’s high time the message is sent: whether this is cynical viral marketing or a sincere attempt at social commentary, you can’t just throw together any ol’ insensitive crap and think you’re going to get away with it. It’s NOT OK, OK?

            • Diane G
              Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:19 am | Permalink

              We seem to be in the minority here; glad to have at least a little company.

              Of course, part of my problem is that I just start off believing that any commercial has been created to manipulate me…

              But we have “come a long way, baby” …for whatever reason I just flashed back on the Wisk ring-around-the-collar days. I haven’t bought Wisk for 40+ years, now…talk about an effective ad campaign! 😀

              (Are Virginia Slims still a brand?)

              Damn, even an ad cynic like me has more TV commercials stuck in my brain than I’d ever dare to admit. Though I guess I just did.

              • Merilee
                Posted January 17, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

                I always hated Anita Bryant’s “It’s not just for breakfast, anymore” oj ads.

          • Hunt
            Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:05 am | Permalink

            And, just to put a cherry on top of my rant, the reason they think they can get away with it is that men generally put up with it. The reason this think they can get away with it is…because they CAN get away with it.

            Sure, some with get upset and post something on twitter. Big deal. As russelblackford says, what would happen if the shoe were on the other foot? The sky would be falling right about now. This thing wouldn’t be winding down, it would be gaining steam to a fevered pitch. We wouldn’t hear the end of it for months, years!, to come. It would be written and told as epic lore.

            • Diane G
              Posted January 17, 2019 at 12:24 am | Permalink

              Just remember–it might be politically correct to be “woke,” now–but women have had plenty of demeaning commercials aimed at them over the years, too.

              • Hunt
                Posted January 17, 2019 at 4:20 am | Permalink

                Sure, just about all of them from the 80s on back. I’m sure you’ll agree the solution isn’t to instigate payback time. It’s mutual respect and consideration. I don’t see that in the Gillette commercial. I see more leftwing regression. The fact that it’s probably in service to very calculated and cynical viral marketing makes it worse, not better. When did the left become dupes of cynical corporate marketing? When did they get so gullible?

              • Hunt
                Posted January 17, 2019 at 4:25 am | Permalink

                Here’s how everyone’s favorite regressive, PZ Myers tells it:

                “I’m impressed with how neatly capitalism can exploit both good and bad sentiments to serve the cause of selling stuff.”

                “And now everyone is selling razors for Gillette. It’s a marvel.”

                I tell you, hook, line and sinker. I could sell this guy property on the moon if he thought it would fight the patriarchy.

    • Hunt
      Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

      Last paragraph is, unfortunately, probably correct. And it’s not like they didn’t know this is how it would seem to the majority of men. Did they survey test audiences before releasing it? Of course they did.

  34. Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    What is the point of a beard that requires shaving other bits of the face? Really? Grow a beard & do not shave, or just shave it all!

    • Posted January 16, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      1) It saves a lot of time and a avoids a lot of razor burn;

      2) Women find it sexy as hell. (Trust me on this one.)

  35. Posted January 16, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    The only thing that would make me cringe harder would be if they were using their razors to peddle atheism.

    And I’m an atheist.

  36. pablo
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I just watched the ad and I noticed that all of the “good men” who take action to correct their toxically masculine brethren are black dudes. Can you imagine the regressivie screeching if it had been the other way around in even a single instance? I also await the social media backlash on all of the assumed gendering in the ad.

  37. max blancke
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking about this after my last post, and came up with a situation which left me feeling similarly.
    My company sometimes has us gather together to take some mandated class or training. Mostly, these have to do with technical operations in our industry. But not always.
    Anyway, I once had to fly to Florida for a few days to attend a “Healthy Lifestyle Choices” course.
    There was nothing really wrong with the course material, but We all knew that the instructor was teaching such courses because he lost his license to work in the field due to a drug conviction. He had been through rehab, and teaching was a way for him to work without endangering everyone.
    The students were all very experienced professionals, with families and homes and the other trappings of successful lives and careers. The nature of our profession was that each student holds clearances and undergoes vigorous background checks, so we could be absolutely confident that he was the only person in the room who had made the mistakes he was “teaching” us to avoid.

    Anyway, it was not the message that was offensive, it was how it was being delivered and to whom. It did not help that he was 10 years younger than any of us.

    I never said anything, but I kept thinking “Who are you to lecture me about this?”
    Same with the ad.

  38. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 16, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Gilette – purveyors of over-priced skin-scraping gear to people who like to scrape hair off their skin.
    The only time I’ve brought their goods has been when the poison gas levels have been rising and there’s nothing else available. I don’t see any reason to change given in this advert.

  39. Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Would it be OK to run an ad about “toxic femininity”? Or “toxic trans-ness”? Or “toxic blackness”? Urging all the other members of those groups to speak out against the “toxic” people within their group?

    Every group one can think of surely has an extreme, stereotypical version of itself that is “toxic”. There are doubtless bad behaviors one can cite that are more common among men than among women – and there are doubtless bad behaviors one can cite that are more common among women than among men (taboo as it is to say the latter). But defining those behaviors as “masculinity” or “femininity” of any sort falls into precisely the same gender-role BS that the left supposedly opposes. Call out the behaviors that are bad; don’t depict the bad behaviors as being in some way “typical” of a gender, because that is nothing but stereotyping and prejudice, and prejudice is never OK whether it is “punching up” or “punching down”.

    • Posted January 17, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Nicely put. And it would still be a razor company telling us how to behave.

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