OPINION: Gillette ad ‘The Best that Men Can Be’ pushes men to become better

Alyssa Ochss

“Boys will be boys.” It’s a phrase that has been around for a long time, and it has been said by many. Parents have said it. Other family members have said it. People we don’t even know have said it as well.

However, it’s not a phrase that has gone unchallenged. With a rise to movements such as the #metoo movement, and many victims of sexual assault and rape coming forward to tell their stories, more people have felt it’s time for a change.

One of the most recent challenges to this phrase and other cases of “toxic masculinity” is an ad by Gillette, a well-known shaving company. Gillette took the phrase, as well as others like it, and have turned it on its head in an ad it recently released.

The ad starts by asking, “Is this the best a man can get?” It then goes on to show various scenarios in which men were acting in a way that was demeaning toward women, others and themselves. By the end of the commercial, they show ways men can stop the violence and sexual assault along with the next generation “the best that men can get.”

This ad received criticism from people who thought the ad went “too far.” Breitbart called attention to the video when it made its way into the top disliked videos on YouTube, and Fox News went as far as calling it “idiotic” and a way to “berate and belittle men.”

But do I think the ad was harsh and unfair?

No. Not at all.

The ad shows everyone the errors in these sayings and actions that have been engraved in society for a long time. It showed that saying things like “boys will be boys” and letting other men get away with sexually assaulting or being inappropriate toward women shouldn’t be the norm. Also hearing these sort of backlashes against “toxic masculinity” coming from a company that caters mainly to men was very refreshing.

The ad made me feel like women’s words and pleas for help haven’t been ignored or thrown in the trash.

I feel it’s something more companies should do by putting their feet down against images depicting acts of sexual assault. With this generation, it’s no longer about “boys being boys,” but about violence against women and toward each other. This ad does a great job at depicting how these phrases and mannerisms are passed down through generations. It also does a great job at depicting how they can be stopped.

They’ve showed that a single person is all it takes for another’s person’s life to change and to show the next generation it’s no longer OK to beat each other up or catcall a woman who is walking down the street.

With ads like these in the history books, I have hope that maybe the next generation will not be as tolerant of acts of sexual assault and acts of violence.

I love this ad, and I think more companies who have a male-centered audience should partake in this sort of advertising. I hope that they make more in the future.

Now, I have one question for all of you: Will you be that single person who stops the violence, as shown in the ad?