I’m going to share a part of my friend Richard Hailey’s blog on the Gillette Ad. Coming right on the heels of my own take, he’s taken the time to thoughtfully dissect the ad’s scenes, and he’s hit the nail on the head when he calls it propaganda, and why. I highly recommend you follow the links, read, and leave him a comment to encourage him to write more.
The ad creates a false perception, he points out, of men. By portraying them as brutal and animalistic, they create a narrative that does not stand up to reality.
Man 2.0? That’s us right now. Men do stand up and defend the weak right now. Men also protect women from predators. In fact, every behavior shown in the latter half of the video represents the ideals of manhood going back thousands of years. Think Camelot. Think chivalry. Hell, think of the Boy Scouts.
This is nothing new. It’s what men have done forever. Only within the false premise of this commercial does this seem like new behavior.
The reality is complex; it’s messy and defies easy pigeon holing. Complicating matters further, some of the behaviors shown as negative have positive aspects as well. For example, the scene where the man stops another man from following and approaching a woman illustrates a place where physical dominance could quickly become a factor. De-escalation is much easier with a credible show of strength. Weakness at this point would very likely trigger a physical attack. The aggressive behaviors of young boys are normal, and should be channeled, not repressed. Competitiveness can be used to hone skills and improve discipline. Like it or not, we are physical beings with animal instincts and behaviors. Understanding and harnessing them works a lot better than repressing them.
Read the rest at Richard’s blog, Shots Across the Bow.