By G. Aros
Razor company Gillette is facing backlash after the release of its new ad combating toxic masculinity.
At time of publication, this ad was viewed almost 28.5 million times and was disliked over 1.3 million. The video addresses issues like bullying, harassment, and “mansplaining,” and uses phrases like “boys will be boys” to demonstrate excuses for bad behavior. The video then turns around by showing men committing acts of heroism and states, “It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best.”
As the company deals with an overwhelming amount of criticism, those of us on the receiving end must ask ourselves, is there anything actually toxic about masculinity?
Oxford dictionary defines masculinity as “qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men.” In reality, masculinity isn’t “toxic.” Is it toxic for a woman to be too feminine? Or for a kid to be too childlike? How can we say that a man showing too many characteristics attributed to men is bad? The truth is, we can’t. In times like these, as the fight for equality rages on, saying masculinity is toxic is hypocritical. I’m not saying there isn’t anything wrong with the behavior of some men today. Some men, not all. The continuous cases of sexual assault prove that masculinity hasn’t always provided the desired outcome, but saying all the wrongdoings by men are because of masculinity isn’t at all accurate.
In truth, the only thing toxic about masculinity is what masculine is defined as. When you look up its synonyms, it shows muscularity, toughness, and ruggedness. As long as the definition of masculine stays as the amount of strength a man possesses, no one will ever be defined as “the best men can be.” It is then that masculinity becomes toxic. An ad like Gillette’s can claim that “the boys of today will be the men of tomorrow,” but as long as “the boys of today” are competing to be the strongest, nothing is ever going to change.