In an attempt to shed (or more accurately, shave) society's toxic masculinity issue, Gillette released a powerful new ad urging men to be better by asking them: "Is this the best a man can get?" The two-minute video, which has drawn praise from the likes of Rosanna Arquette and Arianna Huffington, among others, challenges men to confront issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination. However instead of feeling inspired by the ad, many men are outraged at being asked to be respectful, decent human beings.
The ad questions the common "boys will be boys" excuse in reference to issues like the #MeToo movement, bullying, mansplaining, and catcalling. By the end, the video shows men stepping up in everyday situations to treat each other—along with women—with respect.
But being asked to respect women can be really offensive, I suppose, because dozens of men have decided to boycott Gillette after seeing the ad. Leading the pack of male fragility is Piers Morgan, who declared the ad a "war on masculinity".
However, the argument that “not all men” are responsible for sexism, misogyny, and violence against women does not exempt all men from participating in important conversations about tackling toxic masculinity. It does not mean that, because you don’t personally harass women (or because you think you don’t), you can turn a blind eye when other men do. It does not mean that you have no responsibility in actively building a better society in which men treat women with equality and respect.
Sorry to break the news, but there’s no special trophy for men who haven’t harassed, abused, or bullied others.
If you are a man who champions women and equality, then there is no reason to be offended by calling out the men who don’t. In fact, you can call on your fellow men to join the fight for equality. I promise you it won’t even mess up your shave.