The first time I watched the Gillette ad on toxic masculinity it brought a tear to my eye. The ad says in a very visceral way what so many of us, including myself, are saying here at the Good Men Project–article after article: “The boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow.”
The most hopeful thing about this ad has nothing to do with Gillette, however. Your takeaway message shouldn’t be, “Ugh! Look at Gillette using a nod to positive masculinity just to sell their razors!” It shouldn’t even be, “Look! Gillette is doing its part to create positive social change using their platform!” The real message of hope, here, is this:
Look! Our society has changed so much that a huge company saw they could make more money by talking about positive masculinity!
Of course, they’re trying to make money off of social trends. That’s what companies do! Sure, the ad is sparking conversations around the country, and that’s wonderful! The real value in this ad, though, is that it’s a litmus test for what’s going on in society. We are working for change, and change is happening!
That doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels, mind you. Our work is not done. Then again, it may never be. There isn’t some “ideal society” destination that we will ever reach. The journey there will always be a work-in-progress–a state of flux. It’s not a place in time that we can get to, easily: it’s a state of action and intention that we need to cultivate, daily. If we are all doing our part to bring about positive social change, then we are working with “ideal society” energy and have, in a sense, arrived. When our momentum slacks off, we ebb away from that energy, requiring us to amp it back up, again.
My point is that our work will never be done. This truth shouldn’t get you down, however. Just keep doing your part and I’ll keep doing mine. Know that society will never be perfect, but it will get better. We just have to do the work to make it so.
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