Pornography and a Close Shave
Procter & Gamble’s Toxic Sanctimony, Gillette is Not Wrong, and Gillette Joins the Fight Against Toxic Masculinity.
These are the titles for three recent opinion pieces on NationalReview.com, a conservative opinion website. They are in a response to a television ad entitled “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” first run by Proctor & Gamble on Jan 14, 2019. As of this writing the ad has been viewed over 28 million times on YouTube.
If you haven’t seen the ad it shows men looking the other way as boys fight, shrugging “boys will be boys.” It shows men laughing at a comedy portraying a lout pantomiming a lunge at a woman’s behind. It shows kids teasing a boy for being a “freak” or a “sissy.” These are followed by more-uplifting images of men breaking up fights, interfering with men who are harassing women, and being loving fathers to daughters. We hear a quote from former NFL star Terry Crews, saying “Men need to hold other men accountable. The ad states “We Believe in the Best in Men” and encourages them to say the right thing, and act the right way. It also states that some are doing the right thing, but some is not enough, and the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.
As with most topics in our current culture the commercial has generated strong emotions. Some feelings posted online against the ad:
“How to destroy your company in 1 minute 48 seconds.”
“Companies attempting to make profit should stick to that.”
“The single male is the most attacked maligned ridiculed and forgotten person in today’s society.”
“You can buy High Quality Razors that are NOT Gillette at the 99 Cents Store with NO lecturing on how to be a Man.”
“Thank you Gillette, I purchased your razors and chopped off my testicles with it. No more toxic masculinity!”
A review of liberal opinion websites will show the exact opposite, supporting the commercial and it’s treatment of the topics
of sexual harassment, bullying, toxic masculinity, and the MeToo Movement. Against this backdrop the American Psychological Association recently released a new set of guidelines slamming “traditional masculinity.” According to the APA, “traditional masculinity ideology” helps limit “males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict, and negatively influence mental and physical health.” According to the APA, “traditionally masculine” men have built a system of masculinity around bullying rather than civilizing, around stolidity rather than emotional maturity. Thus, it is the fault of men that young boys are growing up to become toxic males.
This debate over what constitute and does not constitute healthy masculinity will no doubt continue in our society. But there should be no debate over the toxic effect pornography has on our young (and older) men. Over 80% of pornographic acts depict physical and emotional abuse of women, and over 100 studies show the viewing of pornography increases violent behavior.
We here at Freein13 we look forward to the day when companies will begin to take a strong stand against what is in our opinion the most “toxic” form of masculinity there is – pornographic masculinity.