Gillette’s Toxic Masculinity Pitch – A Trail Life USA Advocate Responds

Bryan Davis 9 Comments

The Gillette company recently posted a short film that entreated its male customers to battle against bad behavior often associated with men. Of course, this is an important message. Men should always act against such evils. Yet, Gillette’s video has received a lot of criticism, especially from men. Where did Gillette go wrong?

The video has two major flaws—a false premise and a tactical blunder. First, it shows men staring at their reflections, perhaps pondering their lives. Then images of males behaving badly appear—bullying, sexual harassment, and belittling of women. Later, the video shows men stopping other males from engaging in those acts. The message appears to be “This is what men are doing. We need to stop them.”

The film’s false premise is the idea that such behavior in men is historically the norm. The tactical blunder was to show the bad behavior first and later to imply that men are at fault for letting it happen.

Gillette, here’s a hint. If you want to engage men and bring them to your side, insulting and alienating them is a terrible strategy.

The fact is that true masculinity results in courage and self-sacrifice, and history has demonstrated this countless times. The video’s message should have been, “Real men do great things. When some men behave badly, they are being cowards, not real men. Therefore, we real men need to stop the bullies, just as we have been doing for millennia.”

In order to deliver this message, the video should begin by showing male soldiers, firefighters, police officers, dads, and husbands doing good things, thereby establishing historic masculinity as courageous, sacrificial, and noble. Then, after bringing male viewers to its side, the film could show men doing bad things, bring in stronger men to stop them, and establish that bad behavior is not manly behavior. Real men, as they have done for so long, stop the bad guys.

Real men also pass this mantle on to boys both by example and by teaching. I am thankful for Christ-centered, boy-focused organizations like Trail Life USA that infuse true, sacrificial masculinity into our young males.

To Gillette, whether or not your heart is in the right place, I cannot judge, but your method is ill advised and tactically backwards. Let’s tell men that being masculine means being noble, heroic, and protective. Build them up; don’t tear them down. That is how we can reward and restore true masculinity in our culture.


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Bryan Davis

Bryan Davis is the author of several bestselling fantasy/adventure series for youth and adults. His Christian-themed novels have helped countless young readers grow spiritually and in maturity.

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Bryan Davis

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Comments 9

  1. Perfect response. My favorite part: “being masculine means being noble, heroic, and protective”. Noble gentlemen can and do positively change lives.

    1. Mr Davis, We have a soon to be 4 year old grandson who has a great appreciation for books. I looked up your books on Amazon but am unable to find anything regarding age appropriate. Do you have a list somewhere that I could check it out? Our boys enjoyed the Narnia books. I’m assuming your books would be just as fun to read with faith based material?

      Our sons (now 42 & 40) came up thru BSA. Our youngest stayed with it thru high school, obtaining Eagle and attended Philmont BSA Ranch 3 or 4 years. We are super disappointed reading what has happened to the organization the past 8-10 years or so. Especially, now with admitting girls and understand condoms are going to be available at the Rally this year.

  2. I think there is room for both messages. A lot of mistreated women see the world the way the commercial started. That’s what reality feels like for those of us in recovery from abuse. We want to see men standing up to other men and saying let’s make a change. I thing criticism is easier than creation. I like what your organization does and stands for. I also appreciate what Gillette is getting at.

    I would share Gillette’s video and I would share your version too.

  3. I thank you for a great message, it seems that we men, (older men i’m 64) are taking the approach that we have been there now it’s time someone else, the next generation take over. Well that’s not working, let’s step up and teach.

  4. This is very eloquent and speaks to the ongoing barrage against men. May I have permission to reprint this? I shall, of course, give proper attribution to the authorship. I head up a Christian ministry (Concerned Methodists) and we send out a “Monthly Update” to some of our people. I would love to include this under the section “The Good Stuff” with other commendable actions we see across our country and throughout the world.
    By way of information, I am an Eagle Scout – and had met with a BSA vice president before the first disastrous decision they had made in allowing homosexual scouts in; I was later present in Texas when they announced it publicly.
    At Fayetteville Christian School, we fully support Trail Life USA.

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