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Gillette ad isn’t anti-men, it’s anti-toxic masculinity – and this should be welcomed

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Gillette ad isn't anti-men, it's anti-toxic masculinity – and this should be welcomed
Nicola Bishop, Manchester Metropolitan University

Gillette’s new ad – “The best men can be”, which plays on the razor brand’s long-held motto, “The best a man can get” – is powerful and emotional, a carefully-spun narrative about the role models young boys see in their daily lives. It tackles bullying, sexual harassment, inequality in the workplace, and sexism on screen, by promoting courage, humility, responsibility, and kindness. It says all of these behaviours make up that complicated construct, “masculinity”. And it challenges viewers to question what sort of behaviour defines manliness.

The mutiny against Gillette’s ad reinforces why we need movements like #MeToo and shows how painfully little distance we as a society have covered since it began. In the wake of various high-profile allegations, #MeToo called out unsavoury behaviour that was somehow condoned by society – behaviour that increasingly comes under the umbrella of “toxic masculinity”. Yet Gillette’s ad, which recognises this drive for change and wants to take positive action, has been met by a major backlash.

The YouTube video of the ad had more than 200,000 comments just a few days after going live. The numbers of likes have hit 387,000. More tellingly, the number of dislikes exceeds 796,000.

Angry comments cover a range of issues with the advert: from those who declare they will never buy Gillette again, to the belief that boys need “rough and tumble” to develop healthily, and that society is falling apart because men are simply not “manly” enough anymore. Others claim that only women are hitting “like” and that this is further evidence of feminism sticking its nose where it has no vested interest: men’s toiletries.

Challenging stereotypes

On Twitter, these arguments were fuelled by Piers Morgan, who declared he would no longer buy Gillette products, complaining that society should let “boys be boys”. In The Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff drew attention to Morgan’s clearly limited understanding of the message of the advert: the call to reimagine what masculinity can be rather than sticking with outdated notions from the past.

The same obsession with “masculine” stoicism and the “stiff upper lip” makes men more likely to die from cancer and is a factor in why men under 45 have the highest rate of suicide. Presumably those who ask Gillette to leave masculinity alone, don’t want asking for help to be a part of it.

Various commentators have labelled the film “anti-men”, with diatribes aimed at Kim Gehrig, the British director whose work includes the “This Girl Can” campaign, which celebrates women of all shapes and sizes and encourages them to exercise. Gehrig is accused of being a woman directing a film that raises issues about masculinity. One Twitter user compared it to a man making an advert for tampons (which surely has been the case for the majority of female toiletries since television – or even advertising – began).

Others point out that the video uses stereotypes of men. Not only is this not a novelty for representations of women in, say, perfume adverts, but the ad asks viewers to deconstruct how stereotypes are formed and why they persist.

‘Pro humanity’

More worrying is that the advert is read in anger as a diatribe against all men, rather than being, as activist Bernice King points out, a call for being “pro-humanity”. It is taken as a direct challenge to masculinity that is intended to “feminise” men, and the anger this has promoted is worrying because the “feminine” behaviour encouraged in the film is being a good role model for young men around you. Stopping a gang of kids beating up another kid is apparently feminine. Like telling a bloke to stop catcalling a woman walking down the street.

Right-wing commentators see the advert’s interplay of boys fighting in a yard alongside news stories about sexual harassment as a campaign against men. It isn’t. It is a recognition that 21st-century masculinity incorporates and sometimes validates both of these behaviours and a lot more; it is complicated and multi-faceted and everyone is individual. But surely we can accept that there are aspects of modern masculinity that aren’t helpful. As comedian Robert Webb made clear in his recent book How Not to be a Boy, toxic masculinity damages everyone, men and women alike.

Critics ignore the explicit message of the advert, which is that gender is culturally constructed, and that we all have a responsibility to shape the future of our society. It isn’t an attack on boys, or an attempt to stop them “being boys”. It’s about letting boys be any kind of boy they want to be. More importantly, it’s about letting them care.The Conversation

Nicola Bishop, Senior Lecturer in English/Film and Television, Manchester Metropolitan University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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‘Game of Thrones’ star Sophie Turner: “I love a soul, not a gender”

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'Game of Thrones' star Sophie Turner: "I love a soul, not a gender"
HBO

Sophie Turner, known for her roles as Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones and Jean Grey in the X-Men movies (including this year’s Dark Phoenix), spoke about love in a recent interview with Rolling Stone.

More specifically, in the article, which focuses on her and GoT co-star Maisie WilliamsGrowing Up Game of Thrones,” Turner spoke about the way she loves. She revealed that she “never thought she’d get engaged so young, or at all,” adding, “I was fully preparing myself to be single for the rest of my life.” She is currently engaged to singer Joe Jonas.

Related | Little Mix sings under massive rainbow flag during performance in Dubai

She goes on to say that she believes her soul to be much older than her age (22, in case you’re wondering) and that she’s “lived enough life to know” when she’s found the person she wants to be with.

“I’ve met enough guys to know — I’ve met enough girls to know. I don’t feel 22. I feel like 27, 28.” When pushed to elaborate on the “girls” part, Turner continued. “Everyone experiments. It’s part of growing up. I love a soul, not a gender.”

Turner didn’t label her sexuality one way or another.

'Game of Thrones' star Sophie Turner: "I love a soul, not a gender"

The final season of Game of Thrones premieres April 14 and Dark Phoenix hits theatres June 7, 2019.

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Just 55% of Americans believe LGBTQ people “face a lot of discrimination”

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Just 55% of Americans believe LGBTQ people face a lot of discrimination

With rising support for marriage equality and the LGBTQ community comes a bit of a distorted view on the issues of discrimination those within the community still face.

According to a new report from FiveThirtyEight, “only 55 percent of Americans believe that gay and lesbian people face a lot of discrimination in the U.S., down from 68 percent in 2013.”

But those numbers may be skewed, depending on how the person responding is surveyed. According to the same article, a 2014 report “found that Americans were 14 points less likely to say gays and lesbians experience a lot of discrimination when responding to an online survey than when a pollster called them.”

Related | Tumblr’s traffic takes a dive after its ban on adult content

What’s more, an increasing number of Americans seem to be believing the idea that fighting for LGBTQ rights is largely unnecessary. A 2017 Gallup survey found that 46 percent of people do not think “news (sic) civil rights laws are needed to reduce discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.” A 2018 survey from PRRI revealed that 49 percent believe the U.S. “has made the changes needed to give gay and lesbian people equal fights with other Americans.”

It’s nice that people believe LGBT citizens have been given the rights to make them equal with other Americans, but it’s simply not the case, especially when you consider that new rights don’t always mean increased acceptance. In fact, anti-LGBTQ hate crimes rose 3 percent in 2017, according to the FBI. Of the 1,470 victims who “were involved in 1,249 separate bias incidents,” close to 60 percent were against gay men and 25 percent were against “a mix of LGBTQ people.”

The number of hate crimes in the U.S. against those in the LGBTQ community has increased every year since 2014.

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Bill Tamlyn is the gay Instagram daddy you need to follow

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Bill Tamlyn is the gay Instagram daddy you need to follow

Bill Tamlyn is many things: a father, a model, and a certifiable Instagram daaaaaddy. In terms of shirtless men, he ranks up there with the best of them.

The 52-year-old single-dad from Minneapolis, Minnesota, who boasts over 29,000 followers on his Instagram account, told Gay Star News in an interview last year that “he juggles fatherhood with a demanding modeling career” and hits the gym almost every day.

Related | 19 adorable photos of @dadsnotdaddies, Instagram’s hottest parents

With regards to his sons, he said, “For all I’ve taught them, I feel like they’ve taught me even more.”

Excuse me while I soothe my non-existent ovaries.

Here are a bunch of his best and most thirst-trap-worthy Instagram photos:

View this post on Instagram

Got your back // 📷 by @nich_thomas

A post shared by BILL TAMLYN (@billtamlyn) on

I think I can speak for everyone.

Bill Tamlyn is the gay Instagram daddy you need to follow

Related | 12 hottest men on Instagram for you to drool over all day long

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