That damn Gillette commercial

I love the new Gillette commercial, the one calling men to hold each other accountable, because in less than two minutes it addresses bullying, sexual harassment, accountability, and healthy role models. It states “We believe in the best of men” and ends with a father walking with his son and the dad breaks up a fight. The son is watching, the music builds and the vocal culmination is “because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” To me, it’s a powerful piece. Good men doing good things, holding other men accountable. How could anyone possibly have a problem with this?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, I surmise. I got some pushback from a friend of mine and he provided reasons why he was put off by the ad. He said it was offensive because it was anti-male and patronizing.  He isn’t alone. On other sites I read that men felt that they were being attacked for being men. Some feel that the ad is supportive of the leftist agenda that there is something inherently wrong with being male.

Me thinks the pendulum has swungeth.  Then I thought, Really? You men have held the gavel for so long, and now you can’t take it that you’re being called out for how some of you have acted. Well, that’s just too bad. Get over it.  I’m being really honest here, so forgive me if that hits too hard.

My friend asserted that most men are already doing the good things that Gillette is “telling” men they need to do. If that’s true that men have been holding other men accountable all this time, then why have things gotten to this point?

I believe most men are good guys, or at least I assume most men are good, unless I learn otherwise, just like I assume most women are decent humans unless I learn otherwise. Seriously, most people are good. They’re trying to do the right thing most of the time. Being male isn’t bad. I love my husband and all the males in my family. They’re good people!  I wouldn’t change them for the world and we need them for their wonderfulness that they bring.

I value my friend’s opinion, but I still like the Gillette commercial. It’s an empowering message to men that they are capable of better.  I think they should be more offended by Hollywood’s image of men as mindless sex-crazed brutes with the emotional depth of a mud puddle. Where is their outrage then? They’ve saved it for this commercial?

Where was this outrage when Ford-Blassey risked her reputation, her career, and her dignity by going before the senate judiciary committee accusing a Supreme Court Judge nominee of sexually inappropriate behavior when he was a teenager?  Oh, yes, that outrage was directed at her. I’d like to add, though, that even if Justice Kavanaugh had come clean and admitted his wrongdoing, the climate is not one where he could have come back from that.  There seems to be no place for redemption.

There have been wounds, on both sides. It’s not called a “gender war” because we’re at a tea party in a rose garden, or a football game at the rose bowl.

So how do we end the gender wars? I think it starts with listening to each other.  A spouse listening to his or her spouse. A boyfriend/girlfriend listening to each other. It doesn’t matter who starts first, just someone start listening and understanding what the other person is saying. And then, without rushing the process, let the other person be heard. That’s how real change happens, by LISTENING TO ONE ANOTHER. We don’t have to fully understand right at the start, but if we keep asking for clarification, and getting that person to talk about his or her experience, we’ll be able to show empathy and eventually understand, or at least show that we’re trying. And that is an act of LOVE and the beginning of change.

What I’m understanding my friend and others to say is that they don’t want to be blamed for all the bad behavior of a few bad men. They don’t want to be grouped into the stereotype of the supercharged over sexualized masculine guy who has no capability for tender feelings. Fair enough. Not all men are the same and being male isn’t bad. I agree with that, but I still like the Gillette commercial.

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