Gillette Combats Toxic Masculinity With New Ad

Robert Kukla, Arts & Life Editor

Gillette’s new ad campaign is urging men to stand up against toxic masculinity. The ad depicts several anxious men looking at themselves in the mirror and listening to news about bullying, the #MeToo movement and sexual harassment while a voiceover asks: “Is this the best a man can get?” The ad goes on to challenge “boys will be boys” as an excuse for poor behavior and goes over subtle ways men can intervene.

Since the ad has aired, Gillette has gotten a lot of backlash on social media from men claiming “their masculinity is being attacked.” To them I make the comment: if masculinity to you means that you can treat women like garbage, maybe it should be attacked and you should do some serious self reflection on what masculinity really means. We live in a society where women are treated like second class citizens. We saw with the #MeToo movement how prevalent sexual harassment is in the workplace and we’ve barely scratched the surface. According to the Fairy Good Boss, “at least 25% of women experience sexual harassment in the workplace.”

We also live in a society where unfortunately, a man who sexually assaults a woman is most likely to walk free. According to The Rape Assault And Incest National Network (RAINN), out of every 1000 rapes, 995 perpetrators will walk free. This is a problem that isn’t going to just fix itself or magically disappear. Gillette is doing its part to raise awareness and make a statement against the issues affecting women every day. Not only are they talking about a controversial issue, they are also making a smart business decision. We all saw with Nike’s partnership with Colin Kaepernick that social justice sells. According to the news site Vox, Nike has made $6 billion dollars since their ad campaign has launched; so it is only fitting that other companies would want to hop onto this social justice trend in their campaigns.

If they are doing this as an effort to make money, does it diminish the social justice message? It’s hard to determine. I feel that anything that sparks a conversation, even if its business motivated, is a good thing. Raising awareness is a step in the right direction. However, Gillette makes products geared towards women and men, it is a bit ironic that they are discussing toxic masculinity without first acknowledging the “pink tax.”

According to, the “pink tax” is referred to the extra amount of money that women are charged for products and services available to both men and women. When you go to buy a razor, a woman will pay $2 or $3 more for the same razor product compared to the price of razors marketed towards men. Just on Amazon alone, a pack of five women’s razors runs at $18.97 while a pack of six men’s razors runs at $12.32. It’s a bit contradictory that the company is promoting respecting women and treating them equally, yet they’re going to charge them more for the same products.

Regardless, Gillette is making a step in the right direction and it will be interesting to see what they do in the future for their marketing. Maybe they will make the prices for all their products the same across the board. However, the truth still remains and it is that we need to improve the way we treat women in society. Anyone who feels their “masculinity is being attacked” should do some deep soul searching on why they feel that it is so abhorrent to want to respect women.