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Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ ad sparks internet controversy over toxic masculinity

<p class="text-align-right"><em>Featured image from Gillette</em></p>

Featured image from Gillette

On January 13th, shaving magnate Gillette released an ad for their razors, and this as has become the subject of debate across the internet.

The ad, which you can watch here, covers the subject of “toxic masculinity,” the belief that being masculine bleeds into men’s everyday lives and negatively affects themselves and those around them. The ad features scenes of fighting, bullying and sexual harassment while a voice over talked about the history of “boys being boys.” The ad ends on the narrator explaining that showing boys how to act now is the way to improve men’s actions as a whole, then switches up Gillette’s traditional slogan, “the best a man can get,” for the topical “the best a man can be.”

On YouTube, the ad currently sits at over 20 million views and one million dislikes, with the comments being less than kind to Gillette. Across the web, people have taken up arms to defend masculinity and attack Gillette. People are claiming to switch shaving products to another brand, much like when Nike endorsed Colin Kaepernick last year.

Controversial or not, this is not the first time we’ve seen companies use popular culture for advertisements. On Twitter, Wendy’s has reached internet fame for their antagonistic social media presence, even participating in “#nationalroastday” a few weeks ago. On the same platform, Arby’s is known for showing off cardboard recreations of pop culture props.

Despite people claiming to move away from the brand, it seems that many more have made the switch to being “the best a man can be.” According to Morning Consult, the percentage of people who agreed with Gillette’s stance on values jumped from 42 percent before viewing the ad to percent after viewing.

Graphic by Morning Consult 

Whether the ad was made strictly for sales or not, it shows companies are at least attempting to change the way they advertise to customers.

Featured Image: Gillette

Images: Morning Consult

Sources: Twitter, YouTube, The Morning Consult