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”
A couple weeks ago, as I perused through my Facebook feed, I found a link posted by a friend of a friend. The link described a website known as Bellesa, which was a porn site specializing in porn aimed at women. I didn’t take it seriously, at first, since I knew every porn site had a “For Women” section. However, upon reading further, and going to see the site for myself, I was very surprised to see how wrong I was.
Everyone, from those who raise us at early boyhood, to the women we pursue, all play a part in our behaviors, and yes, our egos. Of course, we’re becoming much more aware of the cultural stigma of boys being taught to always ‘man up’ and not to show emotion, but it’s more than just our upbringing, it’s those around us during adulthood who play a role as well. If you think back, there has probably been several instances where you, or someone you know, has made some dramatic exclamation about the opposite sex. Whether it be a guy who rolls his eyes, muttering, “Women, huh?” or a lady groaning in frustration, shouting, “Ugh, MEN!!!” What this does is further build up the stigma of every person of the opposite sex only ever behaving in a particular fashion. “He can’t help it, he’s a guy” or, “What more can you expect from a man?” they all play a role in creating this image of what a man is supposed to be like.