Photo: MoMo Productions (Getty Images)
Every so often a household brand gets so entrenched in the public consciousness that we ignore their ads completely. Then it reinvents itself with a single stroke and gets people talking. Gillette may be synonymous with men’s shaving, but their latest ad places women front and center, and the result is straight-up cutting edge. For a brand whose commercial formula (cue chiseled man smiling into a steamy mirror) hasn’t changed in decades, Gillette’s new ad is surprisingly relevant, and the message cuts deep in the best possible way: time to man up.
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Twitter (of course) is ablaze with opinions firing from all sides. Some are thrilled about the stance Gillette is taking in the cultural conversation of equality. Others are angry about what they perceive is an attack on the future of masculinity. (As if the definition shouldn’t include: chivalry, fairness, kindness, accountability, and most importantly, respect for all humankind.)
With the might of the #MeToo movement, we’ve seen how quickly America’s cultural landscape can shift in the 21st century. And yet, here we are still living in the days of Brock Turner, Chris Brown, Brett Kavanaugh, George W. Bush and—international, pro bono spokesman for misogyny—Donald Trump. Is this really the best we’ve got for the next generation? We think not, and Gillette’s ad is a welcome reminder that our actions today effectively pave the way for the men of tomorrow. Not just through the honorable example of individuals, but corporations too (because after all, they’re also people).
Only time will tell which trail we cut. Perhaps one day we’ll look back at the current crossroads of gender inequality—having narrowly avoided the path paved with toxic masculinity—and say, “Thanks Gillette, that was a close shave.”