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The time of ‘boys will be boys’ is over

“The Best A Man Can Get,” Gillette’s tagline for the last thirty years has taken a new meaning. With the release of Gillette’s new ad campaign, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,” comes a whirlwind of controversy. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, Gillette asks men “Is this the best a man can get?” In the ad, they challenge the phrase “boys will be boys,” addressing issues such as bullying, sexual harassment and assault, and toxic masculinity. They show news headlines and snippets of news anchors discussing sexual assault and harassment, and men watching as young boys fight, with the excuse, “boys will be boys.” 

They challenge men to stand up and stop excusing bad behaviors. They show men stopping their friends from catcalling and objectifying women, and men stepping in and stopping young boys from being violent and helping a bullied young boy. They end the commercial saying “The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.” Young boys are constantly watching the way grown men treat each other and the way they treat women.  

The ad, that released Jan. 14, has since received backlash as well as praise on social media. Since the airing of the ad, there has been a trending hashtag, #boycottgillette, used by men who are offended that the razor company is challenging them to be respectful to women and not bully others. Some men are so offended that they say they will never purchase their products again, others even posted pictures of their razors in the toilet. It seems that some of society’s members are missing the point of the ad. They are upset because they do not believe toxic masculinity is real and they do not want to be told what to do by a razor.  

However, it does not say all men are bad, it even says that some men are already stepping in, saying and doing the right things, but that some is not enough. If some men continue stepping in, and then some more, and some more, and raising their sons to say and do the right things, eventually maybe society could end the stereotype of men being violent and toxic masculinity.  

Some people offended by the ad say society should just leave it alone, let boys be boys, and men be men. So, should society allow men to continue catcalling women? Harassing and assaulting women? Bullying each other and using unnecessary violence? Society needs to stop excusing bad behaviors. Stepping in if a friend is doing or saying something they shouldn’t, or when children are being bullied. Not to say that children shouldn’t roughhouse, but when it becomes unnecessary violence, someone should step in to prevent children growing up thinking it is okay to use violence when they are upset or to get their way.  

Raising boys to be able to stand up for themselves or others when needed and raising them to think they have to use violence instead of expressing their feelings are two different things. The men who are already capable of talking about feelings and stepping in, and being respectful of women, should continue this, because there is a multitude of men who do not fall under the category of harassment and violence, also known as toxic masculinity.  

Most men do not believe they are entitled to women’s bodies, but some do, and sadly, those men are causing problems for the entire male population. Hopefully, the men who are boycotting Gillette are trying to be the best they can be, and not falling into toxic masculinity that Gillette is challenging. There is a big part of society that is confused that there are some men upset over the ad. Since it is a part of the #MeToo movement, and anti-bullying movement, there is the question of why is it so upsetting? Why is being a human who cares for others and wants to better future generations of men upsetting?  

The ad, while having its fair amount of backlash, has received a lot of praise. Society should look at this ad, and work on standing up when friends or strangers say or do the wrong things. Society should want to raise the younger generations to respect others and feel comfortable expressing their emotions. Men do not have to be tough and violent to be men.

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