Luke-David Boswell | United Kingdom
I’m a bit late to the party on the Gillette advertisement. But after watching the video, I learned that it sums up the current political climate; a small, vocal group of radical feminists are speaking without a clear understanding of men. I’ll forever stand by the belief that feminism is for the equality of both sexes. However, this increasing group of self-proclaimed social justice warriors receives constant media catering. In many cases, this is due to merely being brash and vocal against people who disagree and searching for ways to label society as oppressive.
I can agree that the motives of Gillette are brave. Nonetheless, the way they depict toxic masculinity (which I believe exists) is obviously stereotypical and against the popular opinion. For this reason, I cannot fathom how it got approval. If we’re going to discuss toxic masculinity and take out all our energy focusing on how men are apparently the devil, then we also have to talk about toxic femininity.
What Is Toxic Femininity?
Toxic femininity is noticed in passive aggression, person-to-person manipulation and systemic manipulation of victim complexes. A frequent talking about weight in women’s circles, female on female ‘slut shaming’, and using the status of a woman to ruin a man’s reputation are all evident. Ignoring that toxic femininity exists is detrimental to feminism’s own principles of equality. It is an issue we must recognize as much as toxic masculinity is attracting attention.
Toxic masculinity is not at all barbecuing, having a beard, playing sport, hunting, fishing or even laddish humor. Instead, we should recognize toxic masculinity for what it is. A harmful mental aspect of being a man and the pressure to assimilate into the regimented image of manliness is a key reason why many men feel like they don’t fit into current society.
Real Instances of Toxic Masculinity
Toxic masculinity is present in the objectification of women, violence, and the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality. It also appears in an inability to express emotions and in homophobia when men express non-masculine traits. Hugging a male friend, crying or struggling with mental illness may sometimes get the response of ‘man up’. as a man is often countered with ‘man up’. These issues are the true exemplifications of toxic masculinity. The issue is much more complex than the single narrative that many in the feminist movement focus on.
My main problem is the ad focused on how men need to improve themselves and become like Gillette suggests: the best they can be. Instead, we should also focus on how men need help overcoming the restrictions society has placed on them. Gillette, though, chose to generalize about men, further adding to a narrative of hatred.
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