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The ‘We Believe: The Best Men Can Be’ campaign by Gillette has set a new precedent for the way we look at issues surrounding men. The campaign explores the #MeToo movement and proves that the definition of a ‘good man’ has changed, it does this by sending a clear message that toxic masculinity is not okay. It also reinforces the idea that ‘boys will not be boys’ is not longer an acceptable excuse for misogyny and that men should instead be held accountable for their actions.
It is remarkable to see brands taking a leading role in social and political issues, trying to challenge deeply ingrained social stigmas. The advert changes the typical Gillette slogan from ‘the best a man can get’ to ‘the best men can be’ encouraging the importance of attitudes following the #MeToo movement. The advert portrays instances of bullying, aggressive behaviours, sexism and sexual harassment and emphasises the idea that this form of behaviours is not okay. The tagline on Youtube where it was released reads:
“Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get? It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more, that we can get closer to our best. Instead of excuses, we need to make a change.”
This campaign has faced a lot of controversy and has been disliked by many people, but as a feminist, I applaud Gillette for this ground breaking advert. As mentioned before I know it is time we stop using the concept of ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse bad behaviour. I for one find the concept to be a very patronising one; don’t boys and men deserve to be more than be attached to this societal stigma? An article published by ITV stated that 26% of men have experienced some form of sexual violence during their time at university. The NUS reports that 1 in 4 students are experiencing mental health difficulties. These are shocking figures and we as a society should be championing support and encouraging a open and non-judgemental space for men to talk about issues impacting them. I think it’s high time we take issues surrounding men more seriously and not brush it or laugh it off, which the advert underlines significantly.
Those who feel that this advert is unfairly attacking men are unfortunately missing the point. The advert if anything is empowering men to hold others around them accountable for bad behaviour and diminishing the current stigmas associated with men. In my opinion, with the success of the Movember campaign and Gillette’s advert, I think it’s more important now to take issues impacting men more seriously and work together to eliminate stigmas and stereotypes. Men’s welfare is important and the stigmas and stereotypes need to be detached.