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Gillette Ad Calls Men to Be Their Best

Gillette launched a short film as part of a campaign to address a range of male misbehaviors. The two-minute spot, entitled “We Believe,” addresses bullying and sexual harassment, leveraging Gillette’s longtime slogan in encouraging men to be the best they can be. A Gillette spokesman said, “GBy holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come.”

Many commentators praised the ad. Neil Young writes, “Rather than an attack on manhood… the commercial instead celebrates men and affirms long-standing notions of masculinity as honorable and virtuous.” Christian opinion writer Alan Rudnick responded, “Churches need to create more Gillette-like messages for men and boys. Christian men need more messages that being a man is not about control or power or about keeping women under our feet.”

But the ad also created backlash from men and women. In less than a week, the ad’s YouTube link had over a million dislikes. In USA Today, Charlotte Allen agrees that men behave badly, but she also argues that men deserve more credit for helping to create structures and habits that “channel male aggression in positive directions, such as heroism that saves lives or hard work that supports families. New York Times writer Ross Douthat argues that the ad is based on stereotypes of “traditional masculinity.” But he claims that “in the actual history of the human race ‘traditional masculinity’ as a single coherent category simply does not exist.”

Christian blogger Anne Kennedy claims that in today’s culture she has to tell her sons, “‘You are not toxic…do you know that? You are not toxic. Being masculine is not toxic.’ I say that because my boys are kind and interesting and good, and I don’t want them limping along, afraid and anxious, through their very lives” just because they are boys. And David French argues, “We do our sons no favors when we tell them that they don’t have to answer that voice inside them that tells them to be strong, to be brave, and to lead… When it comes to the crisis besetting our young men, ‘traditional masculinity’ [rightly understood] isn’t the problem; it can be part of the cure.”

Potential Preaching Angles:

The ad certainly sparked a lot of discussion and disagreement about what it means to be a man in today’s culture. As men, we should encourage each other to act like Christ. But is traditional masculinity “toxic.” What parts of masculinity are Christlike?


Amy Russo, “Gillette Takes on ‘Toxic Masculinity’ In Viral Me Too Ad,” Huffington Post (1-15-19)

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