Men Being Men

Gillette adapts real-world issues into their commercials to challenge the “norms” of what masculinity has previously consisted of. 

As a male dominant brand, Gillette took the initiative to challenge the stereotypes of masculinity that exist in media-culture. They take a different approach to their famous brand identity of “the best a man can be”. In January of 2019, Gillette aired their commercial “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be”. During this time period, several real-world issues regarding allegation on sexual assault and harassment were coming forward. The #MeToo movement was heavily impacting society, shining a negative light on men’s masculinity. This was the perfect time for Gillette to air such a commercial challenging how men are thought to act and how men can help other men be better. It was a bold move by Gillette that got the public talking. 

Gillette’s commercial represents masculinity differently then what has been portrayed in media-culture in the past. The commercial has a father holding his daughter looking in the mirror telling her she is strong, teen males settling a fight without violence, and another father standing up to bullies in front of his son. Gillette uses this commercial to differentiate toxic masculinity from real-life masculinity. Real masculinity is men supporting other individuals, men not acting in an aggressive manner, men showing emotions, and men being comfortable with their sexuality. Media-culture is starting to shift into these more complex ideas. 

This brand shows how working together with society and media-culture to eliminate certain aspects of “what makes a man a man” can benefit future men. “This commercial isn’t anti-male, it’s pro-humanity” (Evans 2019).

Holland, Grace, and Scott R Stroud. “CASE STUDY: Gillette’s Close Shave with Toxic Masculinity.” Advertising Ethics and Social Issues, MEDIA ETHICS INITIATIVE PROMOTING REFLECTION ON MEDIA ETHICS, 2019, mediaethicsinitiative.org/2019/03/05/advertising-ethics-and-social-issues/.

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