The latest assault on men has been launched by Gillette in a long commercial in which the company equates masculinity with men behaving badly.
It begins with the question, “Bullying, the Me Too movement, and masculinity—is this the best a man can get?” The commercial is a diabolical failure from the beginning because it establishes a wrong premise—that masculinity itself is abusive.
No one who is critical of feminized messaging like this would argue that bullying and sexual harassment are to be tolerated. But to dump these sins on all men collectively and insist that they check their masculinity is an assault on the very nature of a man.
Even the assumptions behind the very real problems of bullying and sexual harassment are wrong. These are painted as absolutes, black and white paradigms in which any hint of bullying or sexual harassment as defined by feminists is wrong.
This is simply not the case. Rough play and, yes, boys being boys, is now categorized as bullying. Instead, boys are expected to behave like little girls, keeping their physical expression suppressed so they can be controlled for the comfort of feminized teachers and parents who think female energies are preferable to the more aggressive energies of boys.
Boys grow into men when they learn to navigate their own masculine natures, as strong, competitive, and powerful males. They aren’t the best they can be when their masculinity is neglected and forced into a feminine mold.
Likewise, everything a man does sexually is assumed to be predatorial in much of today’s Me Too climate. Flirting, the natural sexual tension between men and women, and male initiation are all suspect because the presupposition concerning a man’s motives is that they are abusive.
The message here is that masculinity can’t be trusted. As a new American Psychological Association report has stated, masculinity is the cause of all sorts of ills, including promiscuity, sexual abuse, mental illness, violence, and suicide.
While these are certainly very real pathologies, the assumption that masculinity is the cause is simply erroneous. These pathologies are not due to men being men or boys being boys; they are due to the neglect of masculinity and masculine self-control. They are the result of immorality, not the outworking of the very nature of man.
The commercial uses guilt messaging to make all men feel as if they are responsible for these behaviors, as if they are a blight on humanity and must be reconditioned away from their masculinity to be better human beings. If the purpose of this commercial is to boost the esteem of boys, this is certainly not the way to do it.
For men to be the best they can be, they need to embrace their masculinity and learn to express it with honor, nobility, and self-control. Yes, we want men to be respectful, good fathers, kind, and honorable. We want such behavior of women too! But that calls for a change of heart, not a change of our sexual natures.
The goal for people to be better behaved is not a bad one. Again, no one supports bullying or sexual violence, but to use male guilt and assumptions about masculinity to manipulate men to be something they’re not will result in only one thing—men no longer being men. That will cause more dysfunction, more anger, and greater loss for women, who need the complement of good, strong masculinity to be happy and complete.