Gillette Ad Makes Me Wonder: What do Men Have to Offer?


A lot of men are upset about this commercial (see below). I see why. It’s kind of condescending, and seems to associate several negative behaviors with maleness itself.

But the thing is, a lot of the negative behaviors this commercial condemns I can actually agree are in fact negative.

Groping women is bad.

Salivating over women’s bodies is bad.

Being irrationally violent is bad.

But the ad has a weirdly Orwellian tone of “men must be reeducated.”

How about instead of just continuing the popular onslaught of condemnations of bad male behavior, we depict what a good, health family looks like?

And what is maleness anyway? Is it inherently valuable in its own right, as distinct from femininity? Does being a man carry any God-given worth, or is masculinity simply a thing to be cowed and chastened? A problem to be mitigated?

I assume some will quip, “Oh please, that’s not what this commercial is about. It’s about drawing attention to a problem.”

Okay, that’s not so bad I guess. I see that men have their unique vices and evils they’re prone to.

But what’s the positive vision of a uniquely male identity? Do I have worth qua my masculinity, or is the fact of my Y chromosome and penis simply a societal inconvenience?

In short: It’s plain men have a lot to apologize for. But do they have anything to offer?

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