Backlash Over Gillette Commercial Proves Why It’s So Needed
Gillette released their Superbowl commercial this week, and the positive message is making some men very angry.
And that's probably why the commercial is so important.
Before finding out that the commercial was in the news for being controversial, I stumbled across it on my phone. The short film, as it's called, shows scenes from the #metoo movement of men acting poorly and making bad decisions.
A man is shown in a business meeting interrupting a woman and explaining what he believes she was trying to say. A child is chased through the street by bullies and no one stops to help. A father is watching two boys beat each other up at a barbecue and doesn't intervene, claiming that "boys will be boys."
Then the commercial switches tones and congratulates men who are being "the best they can be." A man tells his friend it's not cool to harass a woman at a party, a father finally jumps in to stop a fight between two boys and explains there are better ways to solve a disagreement and another man helps the boy who's being chased down the street by bullies, setting an example for his own son.
I thought the commercial was extremely powerful and touched on something that is so very important for us to hear. That's why I was surprised to find out that many men found the ad offensive. I'm unsure what part of this commercial some people disagree with. Should women be harassed? Should kids be bullied? Should men let their kids beat each other up in front of them? What's to disagree with here?
Some criticize that the ad is "political," but the last time I checked, neither political party has a platform saying that it's good to call kids names and make them cry. There's also no political party that's immune from engaging in many, if not all of the things this commercial is criticizing as bad behavior. Democrats and Republicans are equally guilty of this.
Others say the commercial paints all men as bad people. I don't believe that's the case at all. In fact, the commercial's main focus is on congratulating men for their good behavior than anything else.
So why the anger over what is clearly meant as a positive message? Obviously, people don't like to be told that behavior they have engaged in, or things they grew up believing to be ok are wrong. That's completely understandable. Sometimes the hardest things to hear are truths that we don't want to believe about ourselves.
But it doesn't have to be that way. I grew up in the 70's and 80's, and have come to understand that many things I thought were normal about society are just wrong. That doesn't mean I'm a terrible person for all those years of enjoying Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls." It does, however, give me even more of a responsibility to teach my own son about respect and to be a better example for future generations.
Instead of taking a moment to reflect, the impulse of many people is to automatically defend and dig in. This toxic, knee-jerk reaction to criticism is something I've written about before. And it's the reason why this Gillette commercial is so powerful and important for everyone to watch, no matter how painful that may be.