Masculinity in America does not come from a bottle or a website or from friendly pitchman Frank Thomas.
(Side note: If you make the decision to pitch testosterone booster, well, let's just say that one will stick with you. My generation knows Thomas as the Hall of Fame slugger for the White Sox known as "The Big Hurt." Younger generations may only see him as the big dude pitching 'pick me ups.')
First, let's be real clear. Ads are about moving product. That's it. Ads are not about social commentary, and even if that is an attempt, what kind of chowder head would seriously heed the message of vignettes from a company that makes products to remove facial hair?
The definition of masculinity and manhood does not come from a razor company's commercial nor should it be misconstrued as something outdated.
The hand-wringing about a new Gillette commercial is borderline funny, except it is the living, breathing example of our overreaching need to bellyache about almost everything and politicize everything else.
In fact, we need more people acting like a man; that's not for debate or dispute. Being a man is genetic; acting like a man, like most of the respectable traits in each us, is acquired.
I was fortunate enough to have a father who taught me how to act like a man, who showed me how to be a man.
The interpretations and ripple effects from this Gillette ad have been somewhat surprising. For those who have not seen it, well, congrats on being off the internet for the last few days.
There are a series of scenes that range from guys looking the other way as kids fight, or not stopping someone from harassing a female. It comes under the narration of "Is this the best a man can get?" which plays off the Gillette slogan since 1989. "We can't hide from it. It's been going on far too long. We can't laugh it off, making the same old excuses," the narration of the ad goes.
It has gone viral, generating debates about woke advertising, and no one is denying the benefits of heightened awareness of social improprieties these days.
That advancement around us is a good thing; The discussion about the good or bad about 'acting like a man' is puzzling, however.
Is it because we are in a race to make everything homogenized? Maybe. We are attacking defenseless pronouns after all.
Is it because we are overly concerned about potentially offending those who do not act that way? Possibly, but worrying about offending those who should be doing better is part of the problem to begin with.
And demonizing "masculine' or "manly" seems silly. Is it wrong to support and provide for your family? The definition of being or acting like a man is more about doing what is right rather than what is easy. Leading when you can and following when you can't. Believing in your Lord, yourself and your family. Treating people not only how you want to be treated but how your children are treated.
As for the Gillette commercial, again, remember the goal of every commercial is to generate buzz and move product.
To assume that the majority of men are sexually harassing women or turning a blind eye to bullying is certainly a stretch.
This is not to dismiss the real impact of the lame excuse that "boys will be boys" when despicable — and criminal — behaviour is outed. That is a recipe for outrage.
No one is defending that.
The only thing I'm worried about when it comes to my razors is whether they are sharp, not whether a corporate two-minute message is sharply written.
But whatever. Seems like a waste of time to give it more thought than it deserves.
Maybe that should be the answer commercial from those who believe this is some attack on masculinity. Show some dude shaving, looking at a dull razor, and saying to himself, "Man, wish I could find a razor company not worried about making a statement and worried about making a better razor."
The definition of being a man is pretty clear.
And it doesn't come from your razor choice or from a bottle of pills. And it lasts way longer than four hours (and you don't want to see a doctor to get rid of it).
Contact Jay Greeson at email@example.com and 423-757-6343.