The issue with the Gillette commercial is not that it encourages men to be better, but that it does so in an arrogant way that leans more toward virtue signaling than a legitimate call for improving our character. For example, one of the taglines of the commercial is that “something finally changed” regarding male behavior and treatment of women, directly connecting it to the “Me Too” movement.
Really? Men never intervened to stop bullying, sexual abuse or rape before the last two years or even the last forty years? Men have never loved their wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, other female relatives and female friends before the modern feminist movement or Me Too? Seriously? This is the height of modern arrogance. We look on the past and we assume we are far better, far smarter, and far more enlightened than the savages of the past. It is a historically ignorant perspective that assumes we are far better than we actually are.
Let’s look to the Old Testament and protection of women. The entire nation of Israel went to war against the tribe of Benjamin for not turning over the men guilty of a brutal gang rape and murder in Judges 19-20, the sons of Jacob executed the men responsible for raping their sister in Genesis 34, and Absalom murdered the man who raped his sister in II Samuel 13.
Did men never step in to stop a child from being bullied before 2017? Would every father in the 1950’s or 1980’s stand by and watch his son be pinned to the ground and beaten? Did men never step in and tell a man to leave a woman alone when she is being catcalled, before we became “enlightened” in the last five or ten or twenty years? Please. This is absurd nonsense, and it is shamefully dishonest – both in damning past generations unfairly and puffing up modern man.
With that said, the message of the advertisement is a good one – even with the virtue signaling. Men should be responsible, and men should be protectors of the weak. Men should teach other men to be good men (iron sharpens iron in Proverbs 27:17) and the New Testament commands men to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Without even knowing it, Gillette is advancing the principles of Biblical masculinity, weak as they are when not grounded in Christian faith and submission to Scripture.
As is sometimes the case, both Left and Right are wrong here. The Left is wrong for not seeing this as part of a bigger assault of masculinity, not understanding that context matters, not seeing that the ad blames men while ignoring toxic femininity. The Right is wrong for ignoring the good message of the ad in criticizing the broader cultural context of it. The Right cannot see the tree for the forest, and the Left cannot see the forest for the twigs. A little more perspective would benefit everyone.