The new Gillette ad has been making waves on social media. It is tremendously beautiful. Please watch it on YouTube. It just talks to men about how men should abandon certain traits of masculinity that make us a danger to us and mostly to others. The ad criticizes bullying, catcalling, touching women without their consent, and tries to shoot down the whole “boys will be boys” saying, which is used as a poor excuse by fragile males with an even more fragile ego to hurt and humiliate others.
Toxic masculinity is the problem. The keyword is “TOXIC”, not masculinity. And besides, you can see in the ad that other men are the ones calling out the men that are misbehaving, that are being annoying and sometimes just doing disrespectful things. The other thing is that masculinity in 2019 isn’t the same as what masculinity has been for millennia. Yes, it has changed. Yes, men need to change. Yes, men are guilty of some of the most atrocious sickening shit in history. There is no denying that and I am not defending it. Who in their right mind would?
Masculinity has been described as “having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man” by Webster’s dictionary. As mild as this definition sounds, masculinity is always associated with a martial spirit, strength, conquest, domination, hypersexuality, feeling and acting superior towards women, ignoring women, hurting women and so forth. That is a not-so subtle alternative definition and it supersedes the regular one that is printed in the dictionary. Masculinity is always synonymous with TOXIC masculinity. Is that fair? Probably not.
Some men got seriously outraged and pissed about the ad. You should have seen the comments. That is the one thing that seemed surreal to me. How small is your ego when you get sincerely outraged about an ad that is asking us, men, to abandon the TOXIC masculinity? The ad isn’t asking us to STOP BEING men, it is asking us to eliminate the negative side of masculinity. How fucked up do you have to be to see this ad, where men are teaching other men to be more sensitive, more caring, more loving, more calm, reflective and feel insulted? How is that a problem? Perhaps, it has to do with the archaic mentality that men should be strong all the time, never surrender, never step back, never cry, never have feelings, always be ready for a fight. I believe if you were raised like that, and frankly, enough boys are, then the ad must be a serious threat to your existing world. That is sad feeling but stating the feeling that isn’t enough. One must work and explain what the ad meant. One must work with others to convert men into the good men and abandon that kamikaze toxic shit we sometimes do. We, men, must always call out other men who are acting disrespectfully towards women and/or in a predatory way with the ladies. TOXIC MASCULINITY MUST DIE, AND IT MUST DIE BY OUR HAND.
Moreover, nowhere does it say that being a man rhymes with being a toxic male. We have been told since we were born that men don’t cry, men don’t show weakness, men don’t cave, men are strong, men do this and that. Surprisingly enough, and I have seen men act as such, being a man rhymes with being decent, kind, respectful. Being a man rhymes with compassion as well, understanding others, listening to people, taking care of them. No one needs to fight all the time or exhibit a violent behavior. You want to fight? Do martial arts. Learn how to fight to defend yourself and others. That is it! There is more to being a man than just thinking and acting like a bloodthirsty medieval king who just wants to conquer all. The pattern of TOXIC masculinity needs to be broken. It must be broken, and it will only be broken by men through educating other men. Fellas, start by telling your boys you love them. I find expressing feelings to be a good thing, it liberates the heart and makes you happy. Try it and thank me later.
Men need to treat themselves better so they can treat others better. That is a fact. This concept is about men and the solution starts with them. Now, the question is, do ALL MEN need to do that? ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY. And what about the men that already are confident and treat themselves and the women in their lives with respect and care? Well, they just need to carry on. Those existing decent men need to be allies to women. Yes, it is our duty to help women. I don’t care what people, or some women might say. I will help my fellow human beings of the female gender. It isn’t about infantilizing them, it is about offering assistance when they ask for it, and sometimes when they don’t. If I see a man being rude or violent to a woman, I know she needs to take care of that herself, but my instincts and my own education tell me to jump in and break the fucker’s neck. I know, I am jumping in uninvited. I will jump in and if she stops me by saying “I got this!”, I will gladly back off with a smile.
We men need to be kinder to ourselves, love ourselves, and that will trickle down to how we treat women. We have been taught that being a man is about our martial spirit and some other stupid behaviors that shouldn’t exist. Let’s call out each other. Let’s tell one another that certain traits are wrong. Let’s be better, for our sake and the ladies’ sake. Let’s start with ourselves and our sons. Let’s teach our sons to listen, to care about their feelings, to be gentle and kind. Let’s teach them to be loving and considerate. Let’s do it. Hurting others isn’t a solution to anything. It will not make you whole, the void in your heart will not be filled by hurting others. If you cannot break that pattern, seek help. If you are not able to do it by yourself, seek help. TOXIC masculinity must go, as soon as possible.
I do know I am in dangerous territory, where every word can be misinterpreted, and all of a sudden, I will end up being just another man “mansplaining” things to women. Well, to the ladies reading this, I am your ally, not your foe. I do not know, nor do I understand your pain or what you have been going through. I will never feel things the way you do, that is a fact. However, I am your ally whether you see it or not. I am here to talk and build bridges. I am also fully aware that some ladies will treat me as an ally and others as a foe. It doesn’t matter to me one bit. I will keep doing what I think is right and I will keep demolishing the castle of TOXIC masculinity and make myself better as a man. If you want to talk and exchange, I am here. If you want to criticize me, I am here as well. If I missed something, please point it out to me. I am here to learn and build bridges.
Just one man’s opinion.
Now, smile, kick the toxic masculinity out, and go on with your day.