It is that time of year again! No no it’s not that time that all your friends seem to be breaking up but you’re in a loving relationship making you slowly resent your stability. It’s the time of year that corporations come out and exploit identity politics for the sake of profitability! This time it’s Gillette using the ideas of toxic masculinity and the me too movement to sell razors. Let me start by saying I’m not for the idea of toxic masculinity. For that matter I’m not for the idea of toxic femininity. I’m not for any ideology that is comparable to the Chernobyl incident. I’d be against toxic socialism or toxic capitalism or as its know today…capitalism.
Arguments based in identity are mostly pointless. Believing things like one a person with one set of genitalia is supposed to cook indoors and another is supposed to cook outdoors is limiting the potential of our species. It’s not that the male ego is fragile, it’s that humanity’s ego is so fragile that we have to give weight to ideas like gender to dominate each other rather than work together to create a better world. To say the future is either male or female is to say the future is extinction. I mean the future is probably extinction but we’re not in control of that. Nature will decide and it will probably choose based Darwinism. And that is an idea that uses both genders! Mother Nature and Father Time have to work hand in hand to make evolution happen!
Gillette is capitalizing on the belief that men are all aggressive, horny animals that have either committed a me too or are constantly about to. These generalizations are easy to get people to react and sell to. But generalizations aren’t always true. The people that have tried to be better than average or change it always end up getting attacked for something they’re not. Almost every girl I’ve ever dated has been more aggressive than me. I also know plenty of men that are not this traditional view of the hunter gatherer man and women don’t find them attractive.
The issue is aggression and a sense of entitlement that leads to negative & harmful behaviors. That comes with all types of genders, skin colors & sexual orientation! Just ask anyone that’s worked a customer service job. But ideas like dignity, kindness, compassion also transcend identity politics. Turns out abstractions don’t care what’s in between your legs or the amount of melanin in your skin!
At the end of the day, Gillette knows that the trend of the macho man & the delicate flower of femininity is coming to a close and so are their profit margins. What’s en Vogue with the kids these days is supporting honest, moral & ethical companies…or at least ones that claim to be. Also beards are en Vogue. Hipsters are on the rise and someone needs to sell them beard trimmers & razors. And hipsters don’t want those new fangled electro razors. They want to feel all 12 blades slice through each hair.
The point being is the mere fact that this ad exists is proof that social dynamics are shifting. And it didn’t happen because of a commercial. At this point the only thing commercials do is create controversy from a reactionary populous. The reason these guys came out with an advertisement like this is because they need to keep up their funding and be relevant. We changed the paradigm to redefine what gender identities are and can be; not the corporations.
Gillette, much like Pepsi using Kendall Jenner to address police brutality or Nike using Colin Kaepernick’s protest, is like the kid that sleeps through most of the group project and then comes in with a flashy outfit, smoke machines & a light show the day of the presentation to take credit for the hard work done by others. And because of my critiques of corporations using wokeness as a marketing tool I’ve been accused by ideological purity from the left, which some deem is counter productive. But this is from the same group that blocks & unfriends people that voted differently than them instead of reaching out to find out why. But this isn’t about ideological purity, which I do agree in a lot of cases is counter productive. It’s about making sure that we don’t forget that we made change happen, not the corporations.
What I do find fascinating in all this that liberals and leftists will make excuses to say that a corporation should be forgiven for saying nice things and doing the same old crap over and over again but can’t seem to forgive their family members over a vote. At this point we’re treating corporate entities better than people. And we wonder how phrases like “Corporations are people” & Citizens United get passed.
The reality is that the upcoming generations aren’t looking for a job in the corporate sector. This generation is trying to find meaning for themselves with their work, what they wear, who they interact with and so on. Corporations are finally recognizing that trend and are countering it by picking a social issue and picking a side to capitalize on the idea of needing meaning. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw another company counter the Gillette ads. Norellco might come out with an ad campaign that says “Hey you put that dick where you see fit!”
If they really cared about this issue they would’ve come out made policies within their corporate structure to give maternity & paternity leave with pay! Or look into harassment issues within their own corporate spheres. Or drop the price of female razors. Or stop adding more blades to razors and improve razor technologies. Gillette’s statements are about how they’re ads and social media presence will put forward a better message about masculinity but doesn’t address whether or not they’re making actual policy changes within corporate structures or encourage other companies to be better equipped to handle identitarian issues.
This is all a distraction. Most issues concerning identity are. Whatever you identify yourself as tell me politely and I’ll respect that. What you do with that identity is more of a concern than the identity itself. If you’re a man or woman, and you use it to control, castrate and dominate, then you’re just an asshole. And assholes appear in all genders, in all colors and want to fuck everything.
At current there are parts of the world that don’t have clean drinking or bathing water. People don’t have healthcare. There are citizens who can’t afford food. Hunger, thirst, disease & poverty don’t care about your identity. Malaria has never said “woah woah. I can’t infect this body. I mean it’s a straight white male. I know because the white blood cells are super white and erect. I’ll just wait till he comes in contact with a brown person.“ And corporations care even less about your identity than malaria. They’re only looking at their bottom line & we’re walking, talking piles of cash to them.
Corporations will create more ads like this to make sure we’re distracted and divided. Don’t let them divide us. Buying a razor or a shoe won’t make you a better man. Treating each other with respect, dignity, compassion & being patient with each other regardless of identity will make us all better humans.