The Gillette Ad redux

About a week ago when I was in Hawaii, Grania put up a post, “Storm in a jockstrap“, about the new Gillette Razor ad calling out male behavior. This is what Grania said before presenting a bunch of tweets both extolling and opposing the ad.

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.

I have to say that I agree with her. When I first saw the ad, which I’ve put below, I had a two-sided response. First, I agreed with every sentiment that it expressed. Yes, there are stereotypical “male” traits (some of them, like aggression, probably the result of evolution) that are harmful to women and to society as a whole.

At the same time, I resented having to be lectured about this in almost every venue I read. Yes, some men need to absorb the ad’s lessons, but I doubt whether the ad itself would be effective. After all (or so I think), men who behave well toward women tend to hang out with similar men, and that’s true for men who behave badly.

I’d like to think I’m one of those men who has already absorbed the ad’s lessons, but my feeling wasn’t just a #NotAllMen response. I was, as Grania felt, tired of the call-out culture that leads to incessant and pompous moralizing as well as virtue flaunting. While I have no objection to the ad, and agree 100% with its message, I don’t need to hear it all the time, nor do I think that such presentations are more of an honest attempt to reform society than to ride current tides of opinion to publicize a company.

But I’m a man and lack credibility on this issue. If I say the ad didn’t move me, I risk being accused of being toxically masculine, or at least being defensive about being a male (but should I be defensive?). So let’s look at the opinion of science writer Faye Flam, who has experienced this behavior herself (for one thing, she got a physics degree from CalTech, which almost invites incursions of misogyny). Nobody can say that Faye isn’t a feminist, for she’s stuck up for the rights of women consistently through her career.

Here’s Faye’s latest column for Bloomberg Opinion, the venue for which she writes (click on the screenshot):

Why is the ad bad medicine? Here’s Faye’s take:

Reaction to the Gillette ad followed political lines, with commenters on the right seething and those on the left reporting that they cheered, even cried. I tried to watch it a couple of times for research purposes. It was pompous, humorless and weirdly retrograde, with men swooping in to save pretty damsels from thuggish jerks. But then, if Gillette ads depicted the real world, they’d have to switch from selling razors to selling pepper spray.

There are several common types of toxic male behavior. Gillette addresses what I’ll call Type 1, which is street harassment — a problem I’ve experienced since I was 13 (and yes, I looked 13). In the real world, the kinds of adult men who sneak up on women, or teenage girls, to make obscene propositions or harass them with catcalls don’t hang out with the kinds of nice guys who would stop them with a brotherly “not cool.”

Type 2 toxicity goes the other way: Men sometimes attack me online for looking so “ugly/unattractive/hideous” that my viewpoint can’t possibly matter. Why would science columns inspire this? Who knows? The subject matter gives them material; they tell me I’m so ugly a Neanderthal wouldn’t sleep with me. (There is evidence to the contrary when I step outside and several Neanderthals treat me to an uninvited description of how they would go about that very thing.)

The takeaway for me is that some men believe women exist solely for decorative purposes, and if we’re decoratively inadequate, we’re worthless. Donald Trump is a big user of this kind of toxicity. Remember when he accused New York Times columnist Gail Collins of having the face of a pig?

So if many men act in ways the ad portrays, what’s her beef? Mainly that not all stereotypically “male” traits are bad. And while you might think from the following, and especially from the subheadline above, that Faye believes that women are responsible for solving the bad behavior of men, that’s not true. But first read this, which implies otherwise:

Let’s be realistic: I don’t ask men to defend me against this sort of thing, and I can’t get excited about a razor company pretending to care. True defense must come from within — from reserves of stoicism, self-reliance and perseverance.

The American Psychological Association is in a better position than Gillette to figure out what’s wrong with these men. Quoted in that New York Times column, Harvard professor Steven Pinker argues the APA is following false leads. Stoicism, for example, is a good quality, not, as the new guidelines say, harmful. He’s got that right. And he argues that the guidelines should encourage “one side of the masculine virtues — the dignity, responsibility, self-control, and self-reliance.”

Wait — don’t I and other women need those virtues as well? These are the kinds of character traits that separate children from adults, but not men from women. I emailed him for clarification and he said that indeed, these are human virtues but “might be associated with men because they get into more trouble without them.”

To make sure I understood Faye’s message, and to ask if she thought the onus was at least in part on women to de-toxify males, I called her and said, “Look, some people are going to say that your ‘solution’ is akin to blaming rape victims for their rape. Is that what you meant?”

Faye quickly emphasized that no, that wasn’t what she meant; what she meant was that she never had males defending her against the sexism she encountered and still encounters, and therefore, to survive it, she had to cultivate her inner reserves. In other words, when she said “True defense must come from within,” she meant that this was true for her—and not a prescription for all women.  The sub-headline is also misleading in this way, so I’m glad I called her. The article may get tweaked a bit.

Faye also wanted to emphasize that she sees sexism in America as falling largely along political lines: that the misogyny and sexism seem to emanate almost entirely from the Right rather than from the Left.

So, you can weigh in on all these issues: Do women bear any responsibility for detoxifying males?. Does sexism occur largely along political lines? And, of course, what do you think of the Gillette ad?





  1. eric
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    … I can’t get excited about a razor company pretending to care.”

    Thanks Faye, that pretty much encapsulates my entire response.

  2. Posted January 23, 2019 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    My reaction: cynical. google “Gillette Grid Girls” and see what you get: photos of spandex clad women with “Gillette” written across their behinds. (yes, it is from 2011; Proctor and Gamble owned the company at the time).

    Relevance: Gillette is just trying to sell razors. They’ll objectify women if that works..and they’ll do this to piggyback on the “Me too” movement if that works.

    I see it as marketing, pure and simple.

    The message itself: fine, but it is just like those dreary training videos that we have to watch. The “good guys” really don’t need to see it and it won’t affect “bad guy” behavior at all.

    (there is some evidence that things actually get WORSE after such training, but that is another matter).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      My reaction too.

      Ads that try and lecture me just get my back up. Insofar as they have *any* effect it’s usually to do the opposite of whatever the ad is trying to tell me to do.

      I watched it once before, this time I just hit the ‘Off’ button after 15 seconds.

      I’m a firm believer in equality, fairness and tolerance, so the ad is not going to make me go and heckle some woman just as a reaction. But it certainly will make me buy anything-but-Gilette for the foreseeable future.


      • mikeyc
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Well now, you’ve got to admit this ad has gotten us talking about it, hasn’t it? I mean both the ad itself and the subject matter.

        We humans are SO easy to manipulate. It’s why ad execs make seven figure incomes.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Ads that try and lecture me just get my back up. Insofar as they have *any* effect it’s usually to do the opposite of whatever the ad is trying to tell me to do.

        I quite strongly agree. But there is a problem (for the advertising industry, not for me) in that an unavoidable part of being an “advert” is to try to lecture/ hector/ harangue/ impel people to to BUY BUY BUY NOW NOW NOW whatever product or service the advert is promoting. Which is why I never listen to radio with advertising on it, I almost never watch TV “live”, and always fast-forward though the adverts on recorded TV.
        Companies that need to sell their products with advertising instead of word of mouth are safely interpreted as selling inferior products at overinflated prices. Otherwise, they wouldn’t need to buy advertising.
        Gillette in particular have a problem in that I have absolutely hated shaving my entire adult life, and will only willingly do it when poison gas is a significant risk in my immediate future. I brought a bag of disposables 6 years ago, for the price of about one Gillette, carry a month’s worth in my bag, and don’t expect to buy any more until well into the 2020s.

  3. Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Like you, I agree with the underlying sentiment of the ad. Sexual harassment and bullying are toxic forms of masculinity, and need to be countered. The point of dispute is how far does the ad go in generalizing. I suspect those who object to the ad feel that it implies that men have generally been in favor of sexual harassment and bullying, save for a brave few willing to stand against those things. I’ve known many men and few if any are in favor of bullying and sexual harassment. So if you want to correct a problem, is a sweeping generalization about men the most practical strategy or does that alienate potential male allies and send you down the same road as generalizations about women or black people? (Personally, I can’t find it in me to have an emotional reaction to any corporate marketing campaign, but I can see both sides of the argument.)

    • Deodand
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      There is also another issue about that ad, it seems to be implying that only the males of one race hold those views.

  4. Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    If religious women can escape the confines of religion then that’s progress. Abolishing religion is not a sufficient step towards equality, but it is a necessary one. So yes, women do share some responsibility and narrowing the scope of prejudice and ignorance that religion promotes would be very useful step for women to take.

    That being said, the burden largely falls on males and male culture. I’ve been an athlete (swimmer) my whole life and have spent decades in locker rooms only to witness alarming amounts of anti-semitism, sexism, racism, and homophobia. On many occasions I’ve queried young men about why they are either prejudiced or feel sexually entitled and they usually feel shame for expressing disdainful opinions.

    I think most hate and entitlement is very shallow and most men (starting with young boys) could easily choose to do the right thing rather than act on adolescent angst.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      It’s true that peer influence, especially in adolescence, is stronger than other influences (parental, teachers, TV ads, etc.)

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        Peers are central to locker room direction. One respectable role model is usually all about it takes to change a gaggle of guy’s minds.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

          In which case your anecdote about seeing such attitudes in a lifetime of locker rooms speaks of the paucity of such “respectable” models in either the general population, or the locker room subset.

    • GBJames
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      “…could easily choose to do the right thing…”

      Well…. Perhaps we might agree that they might be easily influenced to do the right thing?

  5. mikeyc
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    “Do women bear any responsibility for detoxifying males?”

    Leave aside the presumption that any male need detoxifying (as suggested, some behaviors are called toxic which aren’t necessarily so), sure women bear responsibility but only in the same sense that we all do – we should not suffer clearly toxic behavior to go unchallenged when it occurs. By far the primary responsibility is on the individual; I am not my brother’s keeper.

    “Does sexism occur largely along political lines?”

    Largely, perhaps. It does depend a great deal on what “sexism” actually means.

    “And, of course, what do you think of the Gillette ad?”

    Haven’t seen it, so can’t comment.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Raising boys better might be part of it but that goes for both men and women.

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the intent of the ad is to lecture. Let me clarify — I think the intent of the ad is to expound values Gillette is getting behind. When values of companies match values of customers, customers buy the product. This is taught in marketing. It’s why people by an Arcteryx jacket – not because it ticks all the needs of a jacket but because the brand represents environmental values that the customer already shares. If you want to influence someone to buy your product, you pretty much just sell them what they already believe.

    So, I think Gillette is saying “these weren’t our values and they are now so if you agree with them, we are just selling you what you agree” and that tends to influence purchasing decisions and brand loyalty. I think this is fine when it’s authentic.

    As for men sticking up for women….I took it as it’s nice to have men on your side. A man telling another man that what he did is not acceptable, has the power of at least 10 women saying the same thing. And I am very resilient (god knows I can barely walk right now and I’m still here) but sometimes it’s really nice to have someone validate you and take some of the load off. I’ve had men in power do this for me twice in my career and it was really appreciated. I see parallels in racism. If I am with someone who says something racist, I don’t just laugh along. I object. I do this because me as a fellow white person, has more power with another white person and I can’t easily be dismissed as it seems I have no real skin in the game.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Diana, well put. And as someone once said, “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” — so if you don’t accept what someone is doing in your presence, speak up!

      I’m a man who doesn’t think he objectifies or mistreats women but I really don’t mind being reminded to keep an eye on my own behavior and how someone else might perceive it.

      But for the record, I bought an Arcteryx jacket because it’s a great jacket. It’s possibly the most expensive garment I own, but as an all-season bicyclist, I needed it!

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        Except that bad behavior (cartoonishly portrayed in the ad) is not standard, not by a long shot.

        • Merilee
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

          I think if you were a woman, Matt, you’d realize that the behaviour is not exactly uncommon.

          • Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            What percentage of the male population do you estimate engages in such behavior?

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      I agree with nearly every word of your excellent comment, apart from “values Gillette is getting behind”. I’m afraid I’m old and cynical enough to suspect this is just marketing schtick. I think the only value Gillette is behind is the bottom line. Once it becomes more profitable to embrace the lads/jocks culture again, Gillette will do so.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        I think what ihre really saying is it’s inauthentic. You don’t believe this is Gillette’s values. In that way, the ad may have failed for you but I think the point still stands that Gillette is indicating that these are their values, authentic or not.

    • Sastra
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      I agree. The ad will help contribute to a growing cultural taboo against what could be called “toxic masculinity” by emphasizing that men ought to be policing other men. Any resentment felt by those who think they’re already there and don’t need to be lectured is IMO outweighed by whatever good it might do.

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        As pointed out in the OP, men who act badly hang out with other men who act badly. Who are all us ‘good’ men supposed to ‘police’ — complete strangers? That’ll turn out fine, I’m sure.

        And honestly, what is the scope of this problem? Just how much work still needs to be done – on society, and by men striving for the next level of Woke/Clear?

        The ad was highly insulting to the vast majority of men who are not ‘toxic’. Ironically, when men — who the APA besmirched for being too stoic — expressed their displeasure, they were ridiculed for being crybabies. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

        But ultimately the greatest damage the ad caused was by perpetuating the pervasive male-bashing in our culture, and once again pathologizing normal, healthy male behavior.

        • mikeyc
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

          “Damned if we do, damned if we don’t.” That’s the point, isn’t it? It is easier to wrest power from people if you first give them no way out.

        • Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          I am all for policing strangers (not only to help women harassed by men). I hate when e.g. a drunk shouts and bangs at the bus stop and others pretend they are not there.

        • Sastra
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

          And men who behave badly don’t watch tv? Didn’t start out as kids who watched tv and picked up the general cultural zeitgeist?

          Men who are not toxic are good, mature, responsible adults who can be presumed to recognize that there is a problem even if they’re not the problem. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit. Exactly what was condemned in the ad which you consider “normal, healthy, male behavior?” I saw mentions of bullying, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and violence as problem solving.

          • Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            Do you really think a man who grabs butts, belittles female colleagues, or cat calls, will have a sudden epiphany and change his ways upon watching this ad?

            I did not articulate well enough: the ad’s clear message is that those bad behaviors are common among men, thus insinuating that normal male behavior is toxic.

            • Sastra
              Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

              There are always the intractable. The goal is improvement.
              The ad’s clear message is that those things are too common among men, and that toxic behavior is not normal.

        • Harrison
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

          The people who raise the most ruckus about “toxic masculinity” do the most to buttress it by trying to shame and emasculate men for showing emotion. It’s a bit like dumping gas on a fire and complaining that this strange water isn’t putting the fire out.

        • Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          I work hard at my stoicism. I object to having self-control lumped in with ‘male toxicity’. It’s men who don’t have self-control that women should worry about.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      … however, the ad is supposed to speak to its target audience. It now established that this would be bullies, chauvinists, gropers and sexists, who at best want to do better. A potential customer now would think: “gee, I like Gilette, but what does purchasing this brand say about me! I can just buy another one without these negative associations”

      Perhaps attention is now everything. That will be interesting to see. It worked really well in that regard. But for the brand, it was an astonishing failure.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Excellent Diana, well said.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, darrelle.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      It’s why people by an Arcteryx jacket – not because it ticks all the needs of a jacket but because the brand represents environmental values that the customer already shares.

      Well, now I know two things about the brand (the other being their existence). The wife brought me an Arcteryx jersey several years ago, but because she recognised the geological symbology. I don’t know if she knows anything about their “environmental values” ; I certainly don’t.
      I’d count that as a victory for T.H.Huxley (“Darwin’s Bulldog”) and his Darwinian campaigning. But … I think the icon in question is the Berlin specimen, not the London specimen, and may have been found after Huxley’s death.

      I don’t think the intent of the ad is to lecture.

      The purpose of all adverts is to hector, harangue and influence. More so than the purpose of rocks is to be in socks.

      (I checked – the logo is indeed, “based on” the Berlin specimen. Which was on sale from 1977 to 1881 before it was brought by Berlin Museum für Naturkunde. Huxley died in 1895.)

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        I don’t agree. It’s not the job of marketing to lecture and harangue, at least not affective marketing. Marketing wants you to buy based on what you value – at least this has proven an effective method.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          I don’t agree. It’s not the job of marketing to lecture and harangue,

          Eh? So what are these 30-second mini-playlets I fast-forward through? If they’re not trying to get my money out of my pocket, then they are doing a wonderful job of screaming that in high technicolour volume.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

            But getting money out of your pocket isn’t the same as “lecture and harangue”. Marketing’s job is to influence so you buy their product. How they do that successfully, typically isn’t to lecture and harangue. One way they have successfully done this is to align values.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted January 26, 2019 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

              It is from my end of the telescope. Advertising has a huge uphill struggle to get seen in this house.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted January 26, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

                That’s your interpretation. Marketing people would say they are influencing not nagging. The fact that you don’t like advertising is irrespective of the intent.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted January 29, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

                Their intent is irrelevant to me.

  7. Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  8. Tanya
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The ad was risky, and Gillette’s marketing team must have known that it could alienate many, but people and groups are willing to take such risks when they perceive threats or important trends. Gillette is facing competition from mail-order, subscription based shaving companies that appeal to millennials, the group most likely to appreciate the commercial.

    Much of the behavior represented in the ad is context dependent, such as two little boys wrestling, laughing at overt sexual harassment in a contained environment, or the man approaching a woman on a street. The message is that unless men conform to their depiction of what the best man is, they are the bad kind and should feel shame. The type of man that is a true bully likely won’t be moved by the commercial, especially when they have some form of a support group that will reaffirm their masculinity as admirable and they haven’t yet faced any consequences. The fact that the ad had no relation to its product makes it worse.

    Without blaming women, we should teach our daughters how to defend themselves and feel comfortable to do so. Girls are more likely to seek approval and publicly conform to reduce potential conflict, but we can equip them with healthy defenses and teaching them to say “no” and to be resilient and to place their well-being ahead of the feelings of another person when it matters.

  9. Barney
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Reminder: the ad wasn’t only, or even mainly, about men’s behaviour regarding women. It was more about bullying – boys fighting and chasing each other. Fram seems to have ignored this completely.

    I agree it’s hard to get excited about it; but you’d think, in that case, Fram wouldn’t devote a column to it.

    “After all (or so I think), men who behave well toward women tend to hang out with similar men, and that’s true for men who behave badly.”

    It’d be nice to think so; but what we’ve seen over the past year or two (eg the Kavanaugh hearings) may show otherwise. He seems to have a lot of friends. Do they all behave that badly, or are many of them just turning a blind eye to it?

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    I would hardly pay attention to the ad but then I don’t pay attention to them much anyway. I could ask the question about 100 ads on TV, Did they sell me and the answer would be no. However, they must work and they must be selling someone or they would no spend the money doing it. It’s all psychological right?

    Who are they directing this ad to? I suspect it is not 68 year old guys. Is it just nice progressive 38 year old guys who shave the old fashion way? I have no idea what affect something like a commercial has on anyone but if you are losing your head over the commercial, there might just be something wrong with you. I know that sexual harassment classes that were so popular in the 80s and 90s do not really work. So even spending 4 or 8 hours in a class room on the subject accomplishes very little. The people who are going to behave in this manor need more than a commercial or a class.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      I read an article that suggested that Gillette is actually advertising to women in this ad as women make the majority of purchasing decisions. I found this an odd stat since anecdotally I know of no women who buy shaving paraphernalia for their husbands, boyfriends, etc. But who am I do fight stats with anecdotes?

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        Oh and I forgot to add that the way they put it was rather smart: Gillette talked over men to women.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I did not get they were talking to women either but maybe there is more trickery than we think. If more women approved of the message in the add, they might buy Gillette?
          Gillette is such the dominate razor company these days none of us have a lot of choice, male or female.

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        For many years, I was in marketing for consumer packaged goods. Women do make 75-80% of purchase decisions, and primarily do all the shopping. I can’t say how many would abide by their husband/partner’s request to boycott Gillette, or what those men would do if their wife/partner brought home some more Gillette stuff.

        P&G has thousands of products, however, and could easily take a hit on the already faltering Gillette line to boost the rest.

        My hunch, though, is that the sanctimonious execs who produced this insulting ad just didn’t care. I mean, Jack Conte may well have killed Patreon, but he, too, believed he was acting according to a Higher Power.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

      “they [ads] must work and they must be selling someone or they would not spend the money doing it.”

      I wonder. (You could probably substitute ‘building walls’ in that. ‘He must be guilty or the police wouldn’t have arrested him’ is the exact same fallacy.)

      I really do wonder if these long-winded and expensive ads really work any better than a five-second “buy Fizzo goop, it’s the best”. The ad agencies are expert at manipulating people (or they claim to be), are they really just manipulating the management of the customer company whose products they’re touting?

      Does subjecting viewers to a whole minute of propaganda work any better than five seconds of ‘getting the product name out there’, or does it cause a resentful turn-off reaction in people. Does trying-to-be-clever and failing actually cause a fall-off in sales? I would dearly love to believe it does.

      But then I’m a reactionary old bastard at the best of times.

      There are a few – a very few – really good ads that I like enough to buy the product out of appreciation. Very few. But Sturgeon’s Law applies ( 90% of everything is crap. Actually I’d go with 99%.)


      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        An old marketing saying goes: ‘advertising is a great way to spend money.’

        It’s very hard to measure the impact of an advertising campaign. A variety of more sophisticated and targeted marketing approaches are available, but like the shamans doing the rain dance, few businesses are willing to run the risk of not advertising and seeing what happens.

        • chrism
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          It is said that the young Dorothy L. Sayer worked in a London advertising agency before her Lord Peter Wimsey books became successful. Whilst there, she not only gathered material for ‘Murder Must Advertise’ but also coined the line “It Pays to Advertise”.

  11. Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I still think that the ad has merit to it. People can point out all manner of flaws in it (men rescuing women; virtue signaling from a big corporation for cryin’ out loud), but there is still a societal problem that is mostly coming from boys and men, and the world would be a better place if there was less of a problem. Advising girls and women to be thicker skinned and more resilient is sound advice, but it would be nice if they did not have to be so often. Then there is bullying, and everyone should think how damaging that is. There are kids out there right now who pretty much have PTSD.
    So, to anyone who cares, where do you think the messaging should come from? Where is it coming from? Well, from parents, obviously, but obviously some parents aren’t doing it enough. Teachers? They have enough to do. Strange world but there is sadly still a big need for a bit more moral messaging and here we have a corporation who is stepping up. It is to sell their brand, no doubt, and so it is rather cynical, but they are still stepping up. The message is less likely to be aimed at us (people reading this web site), but it needs to be aimed at some of the people who watch prime time tv. Some of those individuals need to hear it early and often.
    Every little bit helps, and to hell with the flaws.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      … there is still a societal problem that is mostly coming from boys and men, and the world would be a better place if there was less of a problem.

      And what of the societal problems that mostly come from girls and women?

      Then there is bullying, and everyone should think how damaging that is.

      If bullying is the prime concern, then the lectures should be directed at the most egregious bullies, girls.

      • Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        Yours is just a whataboutery argument. No societal progress has ever happened without one, so I am glad to get it out of the way.

        • Posted January 23, 2019 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          No, I’m pointing out a massive blind spot in your argument.

          But how about you elaborate on this societal problem caused by males? You haven’t even named it.

          • Posted January 23, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

            The ad aimed for a limited problem, I said it was about that limited problem, and you tried to rebut by pointing out that there are wider problems therefore this limited problem shan’t be addressed. It was whataboutery 101. What you are calling a blind spot is simply a subject of limited scope.

            Anyway, let’s bring up some other examples of this sort of commercial and hopefully that will help illustrate that there is no reason to be affronted by a commercial, nor was it anything radically new.
            It is common to see ads that call attention to alcoholism and the problems it produces. Here are systems for support. There are ads about spousal abuse and how it is harmful, but there are support systems to resolve it. Ads about gambling and here is gamblers anonymous. You know the kinds of ads. Have you ever felt insulted by those? I doubt it. Heck, even Coca Cola had a classic ad a long time ago calling for acceptance of diversity (I’d like to teach the world to sing…‘). It was a great ad and it triggered a lot of positive discussion and i don’t think anyone was bent out of shape about it even though it was made by a corporation who was using it to sell sugar water.
            If the current ad annoys you, then that Coke ad should too! How dare they?!!

            • Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

              As I’ve never encountered a PSA on alcoholism or gambling addiction that said ‘some people aren’t addicts, but not enough’ or implied that addiction was an integral component of an entire sex or other population group’s core identity, no, I haven’t felt insulted by those.

  12. Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think you “lack credibility on this issue” since you’re a man. The Gillette ad was targeting men so your reaction should count. I say to hell with falling afoul of someone else’s expectation of our reaction.

  13. Posted January 23, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    I have not experienced bad male behavior along political lines. I have known right-leaning men who were very respectful, and left-leaning men who were obnoxious. If only it were that simple. But I agree with her. While I’ve experienced most sorts of “harassment”, I have never been or felt a victim. There are also plenty of women out there who act badly, although statistically less of a crisis for society. Speaking for myself, I have deflected gross advances and gotten myself out of bad situations simply by knowing who I am, what I am willing to do, and never feeling like anyone had more power than me. Should anyone, male or female, have to be in a position to deflect and defend? I guess not, but that’s an unreasonable expectation for 7 billion people. Actual violence and discrimination are very different from day to day doggery. I have not experienced those things, so don’t feel that I should speak about them. As for Gillette, of course they are capitalizing on the issue of the day to sell product. Marketing is marketing, nothing more.

  14. Kelly
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    If Gillette concluded that this ad hurt their sales, they would probably pull the ad. That would be the limit of their corporate morality, so I can’t take their ad too seriously. However, when I watched the ad, it moved me in a positive way. I want the “good guy” to win over the bully. But upon reflection, I realize that girls are bullies too and during most of my middle school years, I was tormented by another female. Women can be just as cruel as men (not as physically violent) but definitely abusive in their own toxic feminine ways.

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

    Faye plays identity politics as much as Gillette does.

    Placing misogyny on one political party and then accusing it from largely stemming from its platform is nonsense.

    While conservatives have a traditional view of gender that doesn’t necessarily lead to full blown misogyny.

    She also ignores the rampant misogyny of the “left” for putting up with hijabs, burkas, and feminists who rail against the sexual revolution.

    • mikeyc
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      hmmm. Whatever support there may be among leftists for burkas and hijabs, the ol’ “Grab ’em by the pussy…you can do anything” view of gender seems to have a good deal of support among conservatives these days. Certainly true if you go by the orange shitpickle’s approval rating among Republicans.

      • Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Plenty of misogyny on the Left here in the UK. The Labour Party has lost hundreds of women members since Corbyn took over.

      • Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Nowhere did I say Trump or the right are immaculate but it’s hilarious to pin tolerating disgusting mean comments as the epitome of degradation against women. This is compared to leftists who’ll fight you to the death about hijabs being female empowerment.

        Then embrace Omar Ilhan for her embracement of the hijab on the congressional floor without any protest or mention of what it symbolizes for the rest of the world.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

      The photo of Jefferson, along with the name is kind of different. I might have chosen Madison.

      I thought at first, what does politics have to do with the bad behavior? Maybe the fact that one guy who ran for president stated to the whole world what kind of a guy he was with women and they elected him anyway.

      • Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        Tolerating nonsense is nothing new as bad as it can be. None of this was even innovated by American politics.

        List the rights he’s taken away, considered taking away, and I’ll agree that their platform connects to his filthy mouth.

      • Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        It’s also more embarrassing to realize going by your logic that both Hillary and Trump have degrading views of women considering Hillary is married to a womanizer and donated money to Saudi officials – a country that is no friend of women.

  16. Mike Anderson
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care about ads unless they’re overly deceptive. But it’s fascinating to see conservatives get all worked up over this one. Someday I’m going to have to see what all the fuss is about.

  17. nay
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I agree w/Diana McPherson #6 above, and would add that I (and you, too, Professor) come from an age when Betty Crocker taught us how to be homemakers (literally, as the company produced books/pamphlets that were used in Homemaking class) and Kotex taught us about menstruation (literally, as 5th grade girls were separated out to spend an hour in the A-V room watching a movie called “Growing Up and Liking It” and given a pamphlet with the same title about what menstruation is and how to use sanitary napkins – the lesson stuck: I even remember the title!). These were good life training materials. I think Gillette is doing the same thing. Yes, it’s marketing; yes, it’s “we’re on your side”; yes, it’s the latest hot topic; but it’s not just virtue signalling: these are lessons that society as a whole needs to see and hear as many times and in as many ways and places as possible to combat a toxic environment and social messaging. My niece and nephew got anti-smoking materials in elementary school and took them home to try to convince their mother to stop smoking. She wouldn’t stop, but she did stop smoking in the house, and they themselves don’t smoke.
    So Praise Gillette! and hope that other companies do the same so that future generations don’t unthinkingly reproduce misogyny, racism, cruelty and manipulation ad infinitum.

  18. Posted January 23, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    First off, men don’t need “detoxifying”. Toxic people are toxic and are rarely corrigible.

    It’s also disingenuous to complain that only men display toxic behavior Y, while ignoring that only women display toxic behavior X.

  19. Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Gillette should first drastically lower their price of razor blades. Only then will I listen to what they have to say about how men should treat women. As it is, I see no reason to cut them any slack at all.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      I buy the fancy razor cartridges from Gillette or Schick. They shave very noticeably better than disposables or electric. I buy them in value packs from Sam’s Club that cost between $35 – $45. A value pack lasts 1-1/2 to 2 years depending on exactly how many cartridges are in it. That’s about $.06. I know things like this are subjective but to me that is not expensive at all and in any case is well worth it compared to the other available options.

      • Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Darrelle: I agree, Gillette blades are superior even to many others that are compatible with their blade handles. However, I just recently saved a few bucks by purchasing “Personna EasyFit Mach3 Compatible” on Amazon. They were quite a bit cheaper than the Gillettes and work very well. I see no difference between them and the Gillettes.

        I will check out the value packs from Sam’s Club though. Thanks for the tip.

        • darrelle
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          And I’ll definitely be trying those EasyFit blades, thanks for the steer.

  20. Posted January 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    “. . .misogyny and sexism seem to emanate almost entirely from the Right rather than from the Left.”

    I would argue that it emanates from the Left in that they look for and find it—and take great satisfaction in finding it—whether it exists or not. Ditto for racism. How else maintain their moral superiority?

  21. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I’ve watched the ad a couple of times now. I’m cynical about Gillette’s motives (as I am about any company’s advertising. Hell, advertising’s ultimate goal is always to sell soap of some sort.)

    And I question how much good the ad will do, for the reasons set forth by my fellow commenters above. But I’m at a loss to see why any man would be offended by it. Its points regarding the bad behavior of some men are obvious enough to border on truisms. And there comes a time, on occasion, when a man ought to speak up to other men, be they one’s friends or relatives; or one’s colleagues or associates; or even some rando who’s being a real asshole to a woman on the street.

    • Merilee
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:34 pm | Permalink


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      I suspect the future is not commercials on TV but how well you manipulate the on line ads. Maybe hire half a dozen Russians to work facebook and some more over at twitter and Instagram. That is where all the buyers and suckers waiting for the right appeal hang out, ripe for the picking. Maybe electric razors and electric cars while they stream all the science fiction and smart news. I saw some ad for smart news the other day but was too dumb to look.

    • Blue
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Why, all the way in to y2019, from millennia
      before now is there still an apparent need
      for a #metoo movement that Gillette or that
      any company can construct an ad off of which
      to play ? Why such a need, yet, at all ?
      By now ?

      Thus is why:

      Knowing that there would not be one moment
      of standstill on men’s parts IF this query
      were to be, instead, one of a FLIP / REVERSE
      nature, THEN my query becomes far shorter
      than Ms Ensler’s even:
      ” Why aren’t you, Good Men, driven
      to the point of action by … …
      the humiliation of us ? ”

      As Mr Kukec states: just “on occasion” e v e n ?


      • Merilee
        Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:30 pm | Permalink


    • darrelle
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      + a lot.

    • James
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Replace “men” with “black people” or “Asian people” or “gay people”. Would you still be surprised about why people are offended?

  22. Jimbo
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    This ad is ridiculous. I ask you, what appears to be closer to the truth:
    1) An ethical company is promoting a noble cultural movement which happens to improve their bottom line (the win-win scenario), or
    2) An opportunistic company seeks to cynically exploit a large, motivated cultural movement by villifying men, equating toxic masculinity with masculine physical features (facial hair), equating purchase of shaving gear with virtuous men, and shaving with Gillette products as the solution to this problem to increase sales? (the exploit-metoo-to-sell-more-razors-we-win-and-don’t-care-about-metoo scenario)?

    I do know that razor blade sales are way down because millennials prefer facial hair and from significant pricing pressure from discount online razor companies (e.g. Dollar Shave Club). Why should Gillette have any credible case for running this ad and preaching to us than say Wheaties or Tinactin athlete’s foot spray?

  23. ladyatheist
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think they’re trying to change the minds of older men. I think they’re trying to mirror the values of younger men, many of whom have decided never to shave and to grow full, bushy beards. After the old-timers who shave die off, who will be buying razors?

    • Mark R.
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      The Millennials also pose a “threat” (not really the right word) to Fast Food Chains and mass-market breweries like Anheiser-Busch. I’m all for healthier food and better beer. The beard thing is based on identity imo, so they’ll probably grow out of it. (pun intended)

  24. Gabrielle
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    “A man telling another man that what he did is not acceptable, has the power of at least 10 women saying the same thing.”

    I heartily agree with this, based on my experience being harassed at work. Yes, it’s important that a woman speak up for herself and tell the harasser to knock it off, but what if that doesn’t work, or in my case made the problem worse?

    My experience as well is that only a small minority (maybe 5% or so) of men are harassers. But these individuals count on other men not calling them out on it, even when the harassment is out in the open, like at meetings and in the company cafeteria.

    So what works? In my case it was a senior site director finally deciding to tell the harasser to knock it off. Which said harasser promptly did; in fact, he avoided me for a good long while.

    So, I agree, it does make a difference when someone, particularly a man with a good deal of status, says something to a man who is acting badly.

    One observation also from my 20 years or so of working at chemical companies – men care very deeply about what other men think of them, particularly the other men they see everyday, both the those who are peers and the those who out rank them.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 23, 2019 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      To me this is one of the most interesting comments I have read here lately. I am assuming the company you worked for where the harassment took place did not have a good or maybe any system to report such things. This is the case in many companies and workplaces even today. So to take it further, the question becomes what are the alternatives if this one guy did not come forward and do something, because that generally does not happen from my understanding. I am also guessing that, if you did have a properly set up system of reporting and handling sexual harassment, it would have been easy to stop this guy because others, such as the fellow who finally did step in would have been interviewed. It also would be likely that others in the company who had also been harassed by this guy would have been interviewed to obtain the pattern necessary to take action on the guy. In a properly set up system in a good company that takes this stuff serious, these are the exact things that would have happened and should be happening.

      • Gabrielle
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        This all happened 28 years ago at a large chemical company (80,000+ employees). There was an official complaint from me, after 5 months of harassment and my immediate boss not caring about it. Their investigation – they never even interviewed me, and as far as I know they didn’t ask too many questions of others. The official finding was no evidence, so no harassment. Case closed.

        What complicates this all is the harasser was also a domestic abuser – his girlfriend was a secretary at our site, and she had come to work with a black eye three times in one year. After the official ‘no harassment’ finding, the harasser seemed even angrier at me when I saw him around the site. I told a friend of mine that I was now scared of him, and she told the senior site director, who called my boss’s boss out of a meeting and said this was an emergency, and that they had to finally deal with the harasser. I assume the site director believed that the harasser would assault me in some way. So, unofficially they did tell the guy to knock it off, but officially there was no still no harassment*.

        So, yes, when a high status man decides to do something positive in these situations, there will be action – and it will be swift and have a long-lasting impact. Way more than 10 women telling a harasser (and abuser) like this to stop behaving badly.

        *I had a coworker from Russia at the time, and she said this was how they did things in the Soviet Union, unofficially one thing, and officially another.

      • Gabrielle
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

        And I want to add that the same company has a safety division, that makes films about how to prevent harassment in the workplace. Go figure.

    • Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      I too agree that this is an important point made by Diana above.
      As for this ad, well it is unusual but not unheard of for corporations to infuse social lessons into selling gee-gaws and knick-knacks. All the cynical comments that these things inspire are true enough, and inevitable, but what the heck. Every bit helps and despite what some seem to think the ads do no harm at all.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Well said. Despite what some claim this kind of thing is still very common in some places. I see examples of many of the behaviors shown in this ad pretty much every day. There is still plenty of work to do. The whataboutery, not all men are like that, women are just as bad arguments are the opposite of convincing.

      • Blue
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        +1. a lot.

        I need to remember the whataboutery
        ( in re any other groups) and of

        As Ms Steinem has long and long noted:
        the group known as humans who are female ones
        are the only group who, if they want a
        traditional family situation ( and not any
        other type of family ) must sleep with or
        be impregnated by spermatozoa or by men.

        No other group known of human beings, in order
        to have such a family, have to do that.
        One who is gay can live her or his whole life
        within the company of other gay people. One who is black can, if s(h)e wants to do so, can live their own life only in the regions of other black persons. On and on. With all other groups.

        As only a handmaid bearing for The Man,
        a community’s Pillared Man, three ( now ) men,
        I need to remember in re whataboutery –
        rebuttals made back onto me.


      • Diane G
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Darrelle!

  25. Steve Gerrard
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Adweek has the data on the shaving conversation. You knew there was a shaving conversation, right?

    “Data about the social conversation focused on Gillette confirms that their branding primarily targets men. In the past year, 56 percent of the Gillette conversation has been generated by men, predominantly over age 35.”

    However, the online shaving conversation is different:

    “However, the broader online conversation about the topic of shaving in general is actually dominated by young women. Gillette may be missing an opportunity. The shaving conversation online is 62 percent female, and 75 percent are under the age of 35.”

    Gillette has been missing the boat:

    “Engaging women positively in the shaving industry has been a neglected opportunity. Women are disgusted with the topic of shaving, as the data shows. Only 21 percent of the conversation is joyful.”

    So the Gillette ad is bringing back the joy:

    “Of the women engaged in conversation about the ad, 51 percent expressed joy, which is a significant departure from women’s sentiments about shaving in general.”

    So now you know.

    • Dean Reimer
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      It would not surprise me to learn that this is a calculated message to sell Gillette’s line of women’s shaving products.

      Facial hair may be a big trend affecting sale of men’s shaving products, but I don’t see leg hair becoming a trend in ladies’ fashion any time soon.

  26. Roo
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    I think to say that sexism and misogyny come primarily from the Right and not the Left mixes political opinions with traditional sexism that most people take issue with. When it comes to simply being inappropriate cretins towards women, Faye mentions that she gets this frequently from the toxic wasteland that is Online Communication, as well as random guys in person – I doubt she checks in with each and every one of them to get their political orientation, so there’s no reason to assume this isn’t bipartisan. When it comes to issues such as abortion or traditional gender roles, I think the picture is more complicated. For example, given that the ‘life begins at conception’ concept impacts everything from high risk pregnancies to IVF fertility treatments (where embryos are almost always destroyed or sent to be frozen indefinitely, which almost seems worse if you see them as people already), a part of me does feel at least a twinge of resentment when men seem really into lecturing women on the topic. That said, I would be appalled if someone told me I couldn’t have an opinion on something “because I’m a woman”, and so the reverse it true for men, even if the rhetoric sounds a bit domineering at times. That’s a matter of opinion, not fact. The same for gender roles – while I don’t *agree with someone who says that God made women to act like women and men to act like men, I also think that is a sincerely held religious belief and not really in the same category as people who harass women with nothing but ill intent. So long as this is an opinion they are politely expressing, I think it falls more under freedom of speech. Men have the right to have such opinions and women have the right to disagree.

  27. Jackson
    Posted January 23, 2019 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    If you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made…

    What are the hallmarks of a sincere TV commercial. Is this an oxymoron…

  28. David Evans
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Faye Flam is a good writer. I love her aside about Neanderthals.
    But “Women’s defense will come from within.” In the subhead. Really? That’s licence for any man to say “Men don’t have to change their behaviour, women do.”

  29. James
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Women are a powerful motivator for male behavior. If they find a certain behavior attractive, men tend to engage in that behavior. That’s a little-recognized aspect of chivalry (the Medieval concept, not the Victorian “hold doors for women and duel at the drop of a hat” nonsense). That said, acknowledging one has the capacity to help influence a system and stating that one has an obligation to do so are two different things. Ultimately, the responsibility lies on the men who engage in vile behaviors.

    As for the ad, here’s my way of thinking: Imagine this same ad, but replace “men” with “black people”. Is that offensive? Of course. So the question is, why is it offensive when directed at one group, but not another? The answer: Because men aren’t seen as people by the outrage brigade.

    If you want to see an example of the message the ad is ostensibly trying to get across, done in a way that’s not offensive, check out “Art of Manliness” (just google it). I dislike the Christian slant, but a lot of the rest is good. Men should care about how they look, care about taking care of their families and themselves, be well-read yet able to work with their hands.

  30. chrism
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Surely the response to this advertisement is due to the fact that for many years now all men have grown accustomed to the sad fact that they are considered to be faulty, broken, crude, lazy, and probably rapists or at least apologists for the same, whilst benefitting unfairly from the patriarchy. Shaming and ostracism have powerful effects, whether deserved or not. At the same time, the APA tells us the hard work, the sacrifices and the self-harm incurred by long hours at unpleasant jobs is pathological. If one bravely makes no complaint and gets on with what is needed for your family, then that confirms our pathology, given the pathognomonic significance of stoicism.

    The majority of men are decent and fair-minded. We don’t abuse and we are respectful. It’s depressing to be mischaracterised in the way this advert portrays men. Certainly there are appallingly bad specimens around, just as there are of women (though that raises the contentious question of what should a woman be? The answer for both sexes is, of course, what you want to be, as far as you are able).

    The outcome of continual criticism of is that men will come eventually to believe it, and give up trying. Who cannot already see that beginning to happen as fatherless families continue to become more prevalent? Rarely, and worse still, believing they have no role, they commit suicide – loss of a defining role is a strong trigger for suicidality in men. A few will decide to disengage entirely (the MGTOWs) and retreat into a fantasy world of self-justifying misoguyny, and maybe some, believing the propaganda that they are evil, will decide there is no point in trying to behave in any other way.

    Society, like marriages and other partnerships in general, works best when we can fully exploit each person’s strengths. I’m not advocating traditional gender roles, I’m advocating for freedom to choose what suits you best – be it for the girl who wants to be a plumber or the guy who wants to stay home and raise the kids. Yes, that involves recognising individuals as such, and not as blank slates, but to do anything else is a waste of human resources and harmful to society and those who live in it.

    • James
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      “The outcome of continual criticism of is that men will come eventually to believe it, and give up trying.”

      Or they get angry. After a while, being accused of crimes you haven’t committed, and maybe actively fought, makes one angry at the accuser–after all, it is a species of libel. This anger is reflected by disgust at this ad.

    • Roo
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      I have mixed feelings about this, because I think it’s important to note that most guys seem to have voluntarily left traditional gender roles with the availability of Tinder and hookup culture. (As opposed to situations in places like India and China, where male / female ratios mean many men simply don’t have the option of being a provider or starting a family – I think guys in the US have the option, they just choose not to take it. Hence the term “F***boy”.) On the one hand, maybe guys are happier with pressure to behave ‘honorably’ and so on, I don’t know. On the other, I have mixed feelings on that behavior being pressured or coerced.

  31. Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I thought it was a nice change in advertising, but we shouldn’t be naive enough to forget that that’s all it is – an advert. Good on them for calling out toxic traits but we have to accept that it is just trying to capitalise on the success of “me too”. But, as several people have mentioned – it’s got us talking! And as a side effect it may get through to some men in need of a nudge in the right direction, or the permission to be emotionally vulnerable.

  32. Blue
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Of caustic and offending advertisements ?

    How could this shoe possibly be … …
    … … worth 56 .m o r e. ¢ ? ever ?

    even IF for, or in re, the Male Gaze ?


  33. Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    This topic of discussion does raise an interesting question about “guilt by association” …

  34. Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Mothers are responsible for their parenting. Otherwise, I don’t think women are responsible for detoxifying toxic males. Maybe they should try some “boycott”, i.e. not to date toxic men. But as years pass, if the woman wants a family, a compromise is likely to be needed.

  35. Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Being: White, male, hetero-cis, middle class, college-educated, this is my opinion.

    This kind of behavior will not end until men police other men. Men need to call out and shame (or report to the police, as needed), bad behavior towards women.

    I’m sure women can help; but it must come from men.

    • Merilee
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:53 pm | Permalink


    • Diane G
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      So true!

  36. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Just as a matter of (waning) interest, is the advert shown outside the US?

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