This morning, I learned about the new ad campaign created by Gillette to raise awareness about toxic masculinity in our society. My initial reaction to the ad was a positive one. I was very happy to see that the issue of violence as a prevalent factor of masculinity was being brought to light, and it brought a smile to my face. However, when I looked at the replies to this ad on Twitter, then on Youtube, and began to cringe uncontrollably at vitriolic response Gillette was receiving. many of which varied from “You’re saying all men are bad now?” to “Not buying Gillette ever again”
Often regarded as the most defining feature of masculinity, whether it be toxic, fragile, or otherwise, all centers around a man’s ego. At its simplest of definitions, the ego is the internalized creation of the self. It’s literally what defines who we are and governs how we react to certain situations, and how we interact with people. The male ego is often associated with toxic masculinity or fragile masculinity but is not limited solely to these archetypes. To really understand the role it plays, it’s essential to understand how it works, and how it’s not just limited to men.
The last several years have seen a rise in social media speaking up about fragile masculinity. Jokes have risen up about men needing to only get products or services that cater to traditional male stereotypes. A lot of men feel the need to defend their masculinity with acts of violence, abuse, or a display of logic that is relevant only to him; as if that would prove them right. But I think it’s time for all of us to have a serious talk about how damaged the perceived idea of masculinity really is. I’m not one to say ‘This is how things are, and this is how we should treat it’, But I would like to open up a dialogue with all of you about the issue of masculinity. Because whether directly or indirectly, all of us are involved in how it’s defined.