I just learned about and watched this new commercial made by Gillette, one that people are referring to as the “Gillette #MeToo video”. I have also seen commentary videos from Fox and others that are critical of it. you can see Gillette’s video here:
As I watched the opening scenes of Gillette’s commercial, I could see men who hear and see the criticism and their faces show confusion and despair. The video goes on to show examples of “boys will be boys” behavior. Gillette closes by showing examples of how we can do better, and asking that we do better. Who is “we”? Men.
I think it’s worth noting that the commercial doesn’t castigate anyone, or talk about “all men”. For some of the men in the video intervened to do the right thing. To stop the fight. To stop the frivolous pursuit of women. To slow down and ask ourselves, is this what we really want?
I’m a middle aged man, and I am not “threatened” by any of the statements made in Gillette’s commercial. I’ve already been working on myself for 20+ years and I’m already there. In fact, in many ways, I think I’ve been “there” longer than I can remember.
I’ve seen first hand, the damage done by bullying, sexual harassment, aggression and other behaviors included within the term, “toxic masculinity”. As I watched that video, and every example that passed, I could see that our culture has long been trained to believe that happiness comes from the outside. That others must change for us to be happy. That others must do as we want for us to be happy. And that happiness at the expense of others is unsustainable.
I know because I was there. I was one of those boys in the video, but I was the one who got teased, and I was taught how to fight instead of how to make friends. As a young man, I wanted a faster car, more women, more money, a big house, vacations, and I spent some time with cannabis and alcohol. I wanted my outsides to make me happy. All day, every day. I wanted to float down a river of constant joy. As an older man, I can tell you that all of that stuff is overrated.
Gillette’s video is pioneering in many respects. They’re betting the price of their stock to air a commercial urging us to do the right…