Image Update 3:30PM:
Let me guess. Those skin-tight jump suits didn’t sell enough blades.
H/T Sausagelink from the Althouse comments, originally at Powerline.
I’m seeing defenses – mostly by women – of Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” ad because about half of it consists of scenes where men behave well, as in stopping a fight between boys. It’s proposed that there’s an aspirational aspect to the ad that critics are missing. Short version? “Lighten up!”
Where the ad shows men in a good light they are doing things 98% of men would do as a matter of course, and which can be seen as appropriately socializing boys by modelling the present hierarchy of male competence. You need to recall, though, that the existence of a particular male hierarchy is exactly the thing the SJWs are complaining about. Socializing boys in a certain way, to be more like women, is their object. It’s about reconstructing the male hierarchy in a Feminist image.
The male hierarchy being denigrated is said to arise from, among other characteristics; stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression. All that is true, but every personality trait has two sides. Too little dominance means you’ll get walked on, as does too much agreeablenss. Ambition, daring, insight, protectiveness, and tenacity are also fair trait descriptions of the male hierarchy: And are simply other ways to fill out the full meaning of stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression. See also, Magnanimous millennial males.
So, do the scenes showing typical positive male behavior balance the scenes which feature the 2% of men who do behave badly? Perhaps. If the ad hadn’t abandoned the word “most” for the word “some” when describing the vast majority. And if it hadn’t started the way it did.
The tone for this ad was set at about the 5 second mark with the heavy, clear enunciation of “TOXIC MASCULINITY!”. Opening with SJW approved misandry colors the entire ad with every imprecation the SJWs have assigned the term. Some words are worth a thousand pictures. James Lileks said it well: “the phrase comes pre-loaded with a cargo-container’s worth of assumptions, preconceptions, and bilious ideas about the entire culture.”
If you wanted to encourage men to be ‘better,’ you could easily imagine an ad that didn’t insist so clearly at the beginning that men can only be better if they do what Leftwing Feminists demand – behave like women. If you want men to listen, you don’t start with the definitive anti-male trope.
Sorry, given the amount of care that goes into such an ad, I do not believe this was a mistake. If it wasn’t a mistake, the ad is male bashing and virtue signaling.
“Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”
That summarizes what’s implied by “toxic masculinity,” which this ad employed deliberately, knowing the baggage it drags with it.