Despite so much evidence to the contrary, I still believe people can fix modern day problems, including equality, men respecting women, and women not being harassed. There is a cry for help for improvement of men. We have not gotten to Gillette’s “the best a man can get” ad yet. But yes, I support the new Gillette ad because I think it raises awareness of enduring problem of the Alpha male. Some folks have already swiped left, but for anyone still willing to listen, I will discuss issues that the Gillette ad has raised, problems with messages getting twisted around, and how we as a society can fix these problems.
What is the Social Norm, And Why this Message is Important for Men?
This ad mainly received backlash because of the way it portrayed “all” men, and if a commercial used the same message against “all” women then feminists would attack it arguing that it perpetuated stereotypes. Well the thing is, there are plenty of commercials that have been sexist towards women, but because this is in the social norm it is easily forgotten. For example, remember that Doritos commercial where the male is eating the bag of chips and the women jogger stops to lick the crumbs off of his face and the next day he has an idea to put the crumbs where his crotch is? There’s really no end to using female sex to sell products to men (and women). I live in Sweden, and I cringed when I heard about the Old Milwaukee Beer ad involving the “Swedish bikini team” (who weren’t Swedish or a team). Such ads demean women and are sexist because the women are only useful for sex.
All things considered, sexist commercials involving woman haven’t typically received the backlash that this Gillette ad received. Although some of the sexist ads have been criticized, almost none of them have been the subject of an actual boycott. Doritos are still the third most bought chip in the world. This might be an extreme case but think about other commercials that are so “normal” people don’t think about how bigoted they really are.
Think of all the burger commercials you have ever seen with a woman in it. The women are depicted as a typically unhealthily skinny model with large breasts devouring a burger. Carl’s Jr does the best at this. Here is one of their ads that is the perfect description of this…Paris Hilton. The people that generally eat these high calorie burgers are not the people shown in the ad. Good god, if Carl’s Jr. ads instead showed the typical consumer of a Carl’s Western Bacon Cheeseburger (740 calories, 34 grams fat, 15 grams sugar) people would stop buying them.
Basically, sex sells. Simple. That shouldn’t be true but it is, and advertisers have known this for decades. Gillette has decided to test the proposition if “sexual politics” also sells. We’ll see.
The Gillette ad doesn’t belittle men at all. What it says, which has been misinterpreted by some Alpha Males (the guys the ad was aimed at), is that some men treat women badly and that some men need to improve their behavior and start treating women as equals and not as objects. The best illustration in the commercial that I saw was subjected to this were the reports about the #metoo movement with the men calling women as “sweeties” and not by their actual names. All the ad shows is that “the best a man can get” hasn’t been reached yet and there is room for improvement but they can get there.
Why this is Meaningful to Women
I noticed in the video that there was a dad telling his girl “I am strong” and she repeats it and given the message throughout the video it seems that he is a single dad. Out of all the scenes in this ad this was my favorite because I am currently being raised by a single dad. I have lived only with my dad since high school started. High school is hard, and I am not sure I would’ve made it this far if it weren’t for my dad. He is one of the most hard-working people that I know and the fact that he is able to take care of me and give guidance to me is truly incredible. Of course, my mom could do this, too, but women are historically “supposed to” do this, and men are “supposed to” go to their jobs and make money for the family. I love that my dad can do both and does a good job at both as well.
What I not only hope but truly believe is that men and women will eventually be 100% equal if messages, such as the Gillette ad, keep making an announcement and if people continue discussing the situation more and more. Once the alpha male notices these messages are unstoppable, maybe they would take the hint that there actually is a need for change and possibly rethink the way they not only respect and treat women, but other people as a whole. Maybe their entitlement they give themselves and their irrational thinking of “I am better than you” by privilege will come to end. I do not think that day will be today, but hopefully it will happen soon.
I think this ad takes a step towards a better future, but I think that Gillette might be ahead of its time in thinking that sexual politics will sell. I would love to say differently, but I cannot. My reasoning for this is because the very Alpha Males targeted by the ad have seemingly organized a boycott against it. This disturbs me because as a young woman, when I am older I want to be proud of the fact that I will be equal to men and that I am not being taken for granted by men and always feel that I am cheated on by society. I want to see a world where men aren’t always the one getting the job and where men aren’t always subjugating women. This was a bold move for Gillette, and I think they were aware of what might have happened by posting this advertisement, but they continued to do it anyways because they seemingly wanted to make a difference for today. And to that I say, that is “the best a man can get.” From Social Issues, I am Audrey Ewing.
Molloy, Shannon. “A Lot of Men Have Lost It over the Gillette Ad, Calling for a Furious Boycott of the Shaver Brand.” NewsComAu, Business Media, 17 Jan. 2019, www.news.com.au/finance/business/media/a-lot-of-men-have-lost-it-over-the-gillette-ad-calling-for-a-furious-boycott-of-the-shaver-brand/news-story/84040733902f27b023ff0b872ba23ae2.
Featured Image- Gillette
Tweet- Piers Morgan
Paris Hilton Carl’s Jr Ad- Carl’s Jr
Video- Gillette Ad