MEDIA WATCH: Gillette – the best a progressive can get?


In the eruption of anger over the Gillette advert, there seems to be a lot getting missed.

Of course the message that men need to think about their behaviour towards women and to challenge each other when they see harassment is valid, timely and needs amplification.

But there are also real question marks over corporations being the bearers of these messages.

The irony of a corporation that has used hyper-masculine imagery for 3 decades to sell their product now criticising men for buying into that hyper-masculinity seems a tad on the nose.

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I was personally pretty cynical towards the Gillette advert and wrote it off as corporate woke wash, but watching in disbelief at Roastbusters wanting to launch a music career this week forces me to put that cynicism aside and acknowledge the deep need for the message Gillette is pushing.


I just don’t know if corporations can actually be part of any real solution the way I don’t think Macdonalds can be relied on for dietary advice.

The 2016 Amnesty International report into the use of Palm oil in products for Gillette’s parent company, Proctor & Gamble, from Indonesian production plants is incredibly damning in terms of environmental damage, worker abuse and ironically discrimination against women…

…so while I applaud the message and think many mens anger at being reminded of our basic obligations of decency is insecurity and perception of a loss of identity, I still have great difficulty seeing corporations as part of the deeper solutions we require beyond the immediacy of this moment.




  1. Gilette imo managed to simultaneously insult men and women with that ad. Men in that the very act of being masculine (i.e. a man) is somehow “toxic”, and women in that being non-masculine are somehow too weak to protect themselves (so much for the much vaunted equality message). Hilariously the top rated comment on the Gilette video was someone who said something like “my wife’s boyfriend really liked your ad”, which Gilette pinned and replied to with “so glad he enjoyed the video” (unfortunately now deleted).

  2. I have to ask..? Is..? Is that judith collins and paula bennett out walking?
    Life as become so strange.
    My mum. She was one of 12 kids who grew up in poverty during the depression years then she became a farmer. I have photographs of my mum. A gorgeous young thing wearing a polka dot frock and winged sunglasses. And if any bloke had tried to bully her she’d a slipped out, found a claw hammer, then would have gone back in and smashed his front teeth out.
    There was a cop in Mataura once who learned of a fellow beating his wife and kids. Constable Jim Brazier, I think his name was.
    He went around to this fellows house at ‘tea’ time when he knew the fellow would be at home after the pub closed. He went inside, dragged the fellow out onto the lawn and beat the fucker up with his cudgel in front of his wife, kids and the neighbours. Was quite the thing to see, apparently. There was no more bullying and from that point on, the fellow lived a quiet,sober life.
    An Aunt, one of mums sisters, was being bullied by her husband too. He’d come home from work with a crate of big beer bottles and get pissed while listening to the radio in the ‘sitting room’ while my aunt did the cooking. She had 11 kids to him and worked tirelessly to keep her family intact. He was a baker and that was all he was. He stood by a production line and watched a machine bake bread.
    After a particularly violent start to the evening and as he was swaggering off after a bought of punching she grabbed a stout block of macrocarpa firewood from beside their coal range and knocked him out cold with it from behind. She told us later that she stood over him for quite some minutes desperately chocking back the desire to keep on going…
    After he died, which gave my aunt some well earned peace in her dotage, she and her kids gathered around as they solemnly and ceremoniously flushed his ashes down the toilet. He’s now at rest somewhere out there in the estuary in South Invercargill. When I’m down that way, I sometimes go and take a pee in there, in memory of dear old B.
    Gillette are soulless capitalists, as are they all, who would cynically exploit anything for a dollar and don’t deserve such coverage. I’ll be buying a different kind of razor to deaforestate my wattles from this point on.

    • [In my best Soy Boy voice i.e. with a full on lisp] “Everything you say sounds like doubling-down on the very toxic masculinity we’re fighting against. Why couldn’t they just have hugged it out?”.

    • Great stories CountryBoy, we come from a time before safe spaces and triggering. What you sort of implied with the collection around the toilet was that, as now there is love amongst the disfunction and violence. I suspect some will say that your memories prove that the past was somehow worse, not so, we are as bad today. And where once a cop did a vigilante act, today the media savvy SJWs swing into retributive mode. Nothing much has changed.

    • No thanks. The link titles (“anti masculine propaganda”) was enough to put me off. Fuck it, Iain, if some blokes are so fucking insecure they can’t take a bit of criticism and home truths, from an advert for chrissakes, then those snowflakes have way bigger problems.

      Jesus, are we men so bloody fragile that criticism of bad behaviour is taken as an attack on our masculinity? I don’t think so.

      Shout yourself a fucking latte and chill, Iain.

      • We let transnationals have Santa and the Easter bunny. I’d suggest not letting them have young adolescents males as well. Just a suggestion.

    • Dunno why men get so defensive. If you behave decently and don’t punch women for not cooking your fucking eggs, then you got nothing to be wound up about. My self worth and identity as a bloke is not so fragile that criticism of bad male behaviour turns me into a snowflake in need of emotional support.

      If guys can’t take criticism, they need to ask themselves WHY that is. If a simple advert is enough to send them into flurries of anxiety and insecurity, that’s a fairly damning indictment of their characters.

      Time for a beer. And a game of rugby and a bet on the TAB. Maybe a cappuchino afterwards.

  3. I am so tired of ‘woke’ jargon. Please write,as you are well able, in clear, literate English and dispense with these stupid cliches. It’s doing my head in.

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