Why Men Are Angry At The Gillette Video.
It's not surprising that men are angry at the Gillette video. After all, anger is the one emotion that masculinity seems to have appropriated to express our feelings. An unwritten rule of male domination. However, this article is not a vehicle to bash men's emotions. It's about time we expressed emotion collectively. It's time that we also do something with it. Unfortunately, it's always the same emotion. We don't seem to move passed that point. It's not that men are short of reasons to be angry, but so everyone else. Women too. Some are justifiable, some may not be. It was expected that the #metoo movement inspired people to create other campaigns, and in this case to take advantage of it.
Anger is the only emotion socially acceptable that men can express publicly.
Let's begin with the company that created the publicity stunt. Gillette is the epitome of patriarchy; a hierarchical corporation that for decades have been 'teaching' men how to adopt 'the successful male image' by simply using their products, as many other companies do. An infantile version of prince charming. Although it has, somehow, softened the message of 'how to be a proper man' with the illusory magnetism of its every day less sharpened razors, Gillette has been exploiting the image of the female body to exhaustion. This is portrayed by young, attractive female models employed to promote the company in tight and/or revealing outfits.
Their slogan: "The best a man can get"
The best a man can get written on a woman's outfit has a double meaning. Take all the time you need to figure that one out.
Gillette has never been a good teacher, and men have never challenged it until it turned 'against' us. Being angry is hardly a challenge! Without a change in policy or previous statement of Gillette's open involvement in a continuous campaign towards equality and/or its contribution to a change in education that leads, not only to respect the basic rights of women, but of the whole of humanity, the video seems and is, opportunistic. But not everything is black and white.
It has indeed helped to raise awareness of a global problem that has serious consequences on everyone, especially on women whom have been, and still are subjected to the sexual violence of men. Let's wait and see what happens if or when a senior employee is accused of sexual harassment or worse. Yes, the video is condescending, but what to expect from a leading figure of patriarchal society? We've been patronised all along. Why get angry now? Have you ever thought how does it feel for a woman to live in a society where the only well paid job they can get is to be paraded in an all-male-event?
Patriarchy is among many other things, a condescending force, which we've been feeding with our money, time and efforts by buying their products. With any amount of money spent to feed any corporation we're supporting the continuance of patriarchal society; although this is just stating the obvious.
Too bad that for so long we've turned a blind eye to the obvious because it's convenient until it becomes 'normal'.
The joke is on us.
We've paid for the video.
We've followed their 'teachings'.
And as usual, the patriarch is having a laugh at our expense.
That's a lot of laughing for a two-faced company which so far has instructed men in following and perpetuating the macho figure directly contributing to rape culture.
Being angry at the hypocrisy of Gillette is all too well, as a large number of men do not feel that they've been participant in the unfairly treatment of women or contributed in any way to rape culture. This might or might not be true. It's impossible to know. The overwhelming truth is that almost every woman alive has an account of abuse at the hands of men.
Being angry is just fine, and if you want to, be offended too. Let's have another childish tantrum! And when we're finished, let's buy more razors, as if shaving turned us into men.
What's not fine is to remain angry and do nothing to change the course of history. This anger should serve as an energy that gets men out of the apathetic state of being that believes that as I don't do it, I'm neither to be blamed for it, nor it's my job to do anything about it. It's up to us, every man, to create a change, so as to not only prevent fingers pointed at us, but to eradicate the problem from its roots, and this only comes through educating every man and child by example, sometimes intervening in despicable interactions between men and women that up to this day have been socially accepted and condoned by patriarchal society. Women have to be participant in such education too, as many live by and under the indoctrination of patriarchy.
Some other times it's as simple as to intervene in misogynistic conversations, of which we have all been either witness, participant or both. We can't deny the fact that the #metoo movement has exploded in our faces because we're responsible. Women are not screaming about men not doing the dishes or the shopping, but an endless number of sexual aggressions.
It's also a fact that every man's actions reflects on the rest of men; as it is that the consequences of such despicable actions lead women to distrust men, which is reflected in relationships. Most men are paying for the previous actions of men who have touched the lives of their partners. If this is not enough to do something about it, I don't know what is. To make this clear, it's not about how it is affecting you, but how it has marked your partner probably for life.
The system will never do enough to prevent or change such types of behaviour, as patriarchal society functions on the weakness of its subjects, being male or female. Any type of behaviour that allows anyone to be weakened or humiliated contributes to the weakness of the whole. Patriarchal society is not interested. The weakness of the individual serves its purposes.
As men, it is time that we face reality and accept that there's a problem. A problem that once it has been voiced has shaken the foundations of society and painted with shame the faces of many men. Not enough compared with the proportion of the problem or the number of victims or survivors. It is time to face the frustration that we cannot protect our closest female relatives from ourselves and from other men and do something about it.
If men were in the habit of sexually harassing other men in public or privately, the streets would be covered in blood.
It is women who carry the shame of men. It is women who feel such shame, because we, men, continue being angry, refusing to recognise in ourselves other emotions, which would make us stronger. We could begin with the humbleness of accepting the truth, the vulnerability that comes after that, and the shame and guilt that the patriarch so well taught us. Then we can return to anger and change reality.
Men being angry at the Gillette video, is like being angry at the company because we cut ourselves shaving with their razors, compared to the damage and lifelong consequences that women have to live with.
What anger does and has been doing all along is to prevent men from feeling deeper emotions. Anger suppresses all other feelings, such as guilt, shame or jealousy, but there are also emotions there: love, kindness, compassion, empathy. Leading our life with anger prevents anyone from being authentic.
The video is a true representation of what is happening, not only today, but of the types of behaviours that have been socially acceptable for centuries. In this sense, being angry is inexcusable. What's unfortunate is that continue we turn a blind eye to one of the most despicable crimes that affect the entire world and the consequences that carry for all of us.
Where there's a problem, there's also an opportunity for change and a solution. It's up to us to change it, to move on towards a healthier and more creative expression of masculinity. Or we can continue being angry for the rest and never question what we're really angry about.
What we've experienced with this video is the condescending cynicism of a corporation that has been following the unwritten script of the patriarch, instructing us in what today is being called 'toxic masculinity'. It's perhaps time we move pass the message of these corporations and we show that our best is better than their "best a man can get". We are better than that. And we know it. That's why men are angry.
It's also a rather cynic stance being angry at this video, as it is a sure way of invalidating the problem and the claims of women that all over the world have raised their voices to say that enough is enough.
Personally I don't see any reason for anger, with all the wonderful work that there's to do and what we can achieve with it as a collective. We've reached a point in history where we can't keep being blind by choice due to personal comfort and convenience. It's time to be creative, to embrace the new man, who is nothing else but the men we knew we could be all along.
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