Gillette, the best a woke savior can get
In the universe portrayed by the new Gillette ad, men have been oppressing women since the dawn of time and are still furiously at it, as we speak. It’s a story of our times, humming away, as the background noise of our culture.
In this world, patriarchy is like the weather, better on some days, but inescapable.
Then, in the midst of all this oppression, thankfully, Gillette offers a glimmer of hope: things are changing, some men have seen the light and have gotten over their testosterone poisoning.
A few decent guys are now the bulwark against a historically dominant flood of boorish, obsessively grilling troglodytes. They’re the chosen few who have overcome their toxic masculinity and it’s their heroic mission to get the rest of the mouth-breathing “Nice ass, baby” dude-bros in line.
The woke adult male knows not to let boys play fight, as it might run the risk of making them well adjusted male adults. He knows to ignore the scientific evidence that correlates the mental and social development of boys with roughhousing and physical play. He knows that in 2019 if they’re not a bit dysfunctional, they won’t fit in with the adulting crowd and won’t be able to empathize with all the mental health issues their friends will brag about on Tumblr.
The woke Jesus figure knows that only men bully and that movies like Mean Girls are sexist propaganda. Women are ethereal beings, incapable of things like social ostracism, reputation destruction, vicious gossip, or disproportionately pushing other girls to the brink of suicide through cyberbullying. No sir, no how.
The woke savior knows that talking to women is unacceptable in any public space, and will physically stop his more pre-sapiens bros from confidently chatting up women because that’s assault. He knows that meeting women is done exclusively through apps where 99.99% of women ignore him because he’s not a tattoo artist/jet fighter pilot who cuddles tigers in Bali. The fact that he mentions he’s a feminist seems to only amplify the echo of crickets in his inbox.
The woke modern man also knows that women can’t stand up for themselves in meetings, as they are perpetual victims of systemic oppression. He needs to both protect them and not mansplain. He, therefore, doesn’t ‘splain at all. He shuts up, awkwardly, and mainly avoids his female colleagues because they might take offense. He knows his place. As does this ad, where one perspective is enough for both sides.
The woke Messiah also knows all the latest scientific sounding advice from the American Psychological Association, that says: “The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful.”
Even though Stoicism is at the core of one of the most effective forms of therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, the nice modern man knows to ignore that and have long, marinating talks about his feelings to female friends who listen, but wouldn’t date him even if the Great Flood was upon us and they had to repopulate the earth.
Our super progressive guy knows that men aren’t evolved apes with millions of years of programming in how to navigate dominance/competence hierarchies. Men are more like blank slates, just itching for some benevolent social engineering and comprehensive guidance.
So, consequently, competitiveness and aggression are simply social expectations, learned behavior, and not based on having 10-45 times more testosterone than your average non-dude. These tendencies shouldn’t be accepted or integrated in a healthy way, they need to be stamped out as they are, according to the APA: “harmful”.
And what is learned, can be unlearned, because men are just like ladies with a bit more chest hair and a bad attitude. BuzzFeed’s Try Guys, for example, took this to heart and went one step further - they have unlearned how to even produce testosterone. Now that’s dedication to the cause!
Market research company Mintel revealed in a recent report that men are now portrayed in advertisements the way women were portrayed in the 1950s: they’re either stupid or pretty. Our woke man archetype thinks men deserve it because women get stereotyped in commercials all the time. He knows nothing is more progressive than shifting stereotypes from one gender to the other out of spite. He’s also happy to be the bumbling, football-shaped dad in sitcoms, as it’s a closer reflection of his life than 7 years in Tibet or any other nonsense hero’s journey.
The woke man knows that “boys will be boys” is outdated and that consequently, boys shouldn't be boys any longer. He’s stopped saying it repetitively, and he’s even left his suburban barbecue of oppression.
There’s a new game in town and it’s way better than the tired old stereotypes of dominance play, adventure seeking, and stoicism - there’s sitting still and there’s lots of medication for the childhood equivalent of toxic masculinity, ADHD.
Nip it in the bud, bud.
Feminism won its human rights battles in the West many decades ago. Now it’s morphed into an institutional blue-haired hydra, running on empty, and its thirst for outrage must be quenched. So, it’s playing the same record as it did in the 1950s, its golden age when the movement still had some legitimacy.
In the last few decades, men in the West have made immense strides toward building tolerant, peaceful and inclusive societies, the likes of which have never been seen either historically or anywhere else in the world. The outrage around this ad, like the outrage around much of modern western culture, is based on the fact that it pretends that progress didn’t happen and we’re in some internet era version of Mad Men.
It’s like still yelling at little Timmy for bedwetting, when Timmy’s now 37, a successful lawyer and just bought a new house.
Timmy is now tired of your screeching and for good reason.
Western feminism managed to ride the uninterrupted tide of one well-known sentiment: “Yes, dear, whatever you say”, staking a claim on areas that are now almost exclusively somewhere on the frivolous - hysterical spectrum. An obvious example being policing the space between men’s legs on public transport or their tone of voice.
And most good, polite and chivalrous men have let them do it. So much so that there are academic departments in almost every major university and popular magazines dedicated to having professional misandrists (or sadder still, professional misanthropes) wrack their brain to uncover how every object or occurrence in modern life is inevitably sexist, as this Guardian article - unwillingly - highlights.
It’s a booming business.
As a final suggestion, Gillette, why not continue the format of “Stereotype group X and offer benevolent ideas for improvement”? It would make a great series.
A natural start would be of course women, with all that terrible nagging, weaponized fragility, and their #BelieveWomen carte blanche for destroying anyone at the speed of a Tweet. Or may I suggest the Muslim community, who would be a great fit for stereotypes and benevolent improvements.
I won’t hold my breath for any sequels because oppression in 2019 is just like that anecdote about the drunk guy who lost his keys at night. He’s scanning the area around a streetlight for his keys when his friend asks him: “Hey, but where exactly did you lose them?”, he says: “Way over there, but the light is so much better over here!”
Western men are the only group who’s turned a permanent self-critical light on and they’ve been paying the price for it.
And women will only have crossed that final, coveted finish line to equality after they’ve bravely turned on their own light.
So, come over to this well-lit area, we have cookies.
If you want to watch a truly beautiful commercial, full of “the best a man can be” (and have a good cry) look no further than what Gillette was putting out in 2017: