Dr. Helen

The Gillette Ad: The War on Men Is a War on Trump

So the cultural meme lately seems to be the general harm of “male toxicity.” The APA has guidelines insinuating that male behavior is harmful, colleges are teaching male toxicity courses, and now even Gillette is getting in on the fun of bashing men:

Why are they doing it all together all of a sudden? Sure, there has been male bashing for years, but now it seems like staged propaganda — like when JournoList put together their talking points for the liberal media during the Obama election.

It’s less than two years till the next presidential election. The media and academy’s big project now seems to be to show that masculinity, like Trump’s presidency, is in the toilet. Being manly like Trump is bad and any man with traits like him is toxic. And now, with the popularity in the media of #MeToo, it makes sense for companies to cash in on this war on men — which actually symbolizes the war on Trump. According to this article, going for the big bucks is exactly what Gillette is doing:

But before you praise Gillette for its courage, let’s put its decision into some marketing perspective.

First, Gillette isn’t forging any new ground here. It’s riding the wave of cultural change that others have been courageously forging by speaking out against sexual harassment and assault and bullying and challenging the formerly acceptable excuse of “boys will be boys.”

The strategy is similar to the one Nike used with its controversial — and highly successful — campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL star who put his cause before his career by kneeling to protest police brutality against African-Americans.

Nike was rewarded with soaring stock value and a sales boost from its alliance with Kaepernick, proving that social awareness can sell, too. If Gillette can convince enough consumers that they’re doing some good by buying its products, it could help enormously in its current battle against the rival Dollar Shave Club.

Companies know that if they act as lapdogs for the media, they can clean up. But I wonder if Gillette’s ad will backfire. Men aren’t women and making them feel insecure about their masculinity is not as likely to end up in sales as, say, telling women that without a certain product they will be unattractive.

But mark my words, this ad isn’t even about helping women or society. It’s actually a clever (or not so clever) way to make people fearful of men like Trump who epitomize masculinity without apologizing. The message of the commercial is: we need men who act like women or a woman in charge to make sure we are all safe. But the real message is a political one that trashes men in order to trash Trump.

I hope they go broke.