For many young men, learning to shave can often feel like a rite of passage and a sign of physical maturity. While much has been written about the negative impact of sexualized and derogatory advertising on women and girls, advertising can also influence how young men view masculinity. Razor manufacturer Gillette’s new ad has sparked an important conversation about addressing problematic masculinity head-on.
“By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come,” Gillette president Gary Coombe said in a company press release about the ad.
Through the ad, Gillette celebrates healthy masculinity and offers an important reminder that ending sexual violence in one generation will require everyone—including boys and men—to practice safety, respect and equality in our everyday situations.
What’s more is that Gillette’s bold decision to publicly champion these values through an ad speaks to the responsibility that companies have in creating change and demonstrating that prevention is possible. Organizations looking to join this important cultural movement should take note of three steps that Gillette took when launching this ad:
Review advertising and branding standards – Gilette announced that it will be reviewing its public-facing content—ads, images, and words— to ensure their standards fully reflected “the ideals of Respect, Accountability and Role Modelling.”
Champion social responsibility – Gillette has taken a firm stand to lean into their values and not issued a retraction. They are taking on social change as a part of their organizational values and looking at the ways they can contribute to changing social norms around what being the best a man can be means.
Support and invest in non-profit partners – Gillette has partnered with the Building A Better Man project as well as The Boys and Girls Club of America and has declared their intention to donate $1 million over the next three years to US charities that engage young men and boys to prevent violence.
The Gillette ad has sparked an important conversation about healthy masculinity, and RALIANCE hopes Gillette will continue to play an active role in encouraging boys and men to be the best they can be.