Gillette: The Worst a Brand Can Get
The idea that company executives in charge of a popular brand would systematically and voluntarily sabotage that brand may seem inconceivable to the average shareholder, but it’s a real and growing threat as power-hungry social justice crusaders continue to gain cultural acceptance and infiltrate corporate structures. The latest brand to show outward signs of this moral cancer: Gillette.
On Sunday, the Procter & Gamble-owned brand of men’s razors revealed it’s new “The Best Men Can Be” initiative, a benign-sounding twist on the company’s decades-old “The Best A Man Can Get” tagline. To introduce the program, Gillette released a two-minute commercial, which it pretentiously referred to as a “short film.” And while the company’s description of the initiative itself reads like many similar efforts at corporate philanthropy, the language and attitude of the “short film” exposed something unusually grotesque about Gillette: its executives harbor an utter contempt for their own customers.
And their customers noticed. As of press time, the video has received ten times the number of dislikes than likes on YouTube, so much so that the company has been vigilantly and repeatedly deleting top comments, which included sarcastic jabs such as: “Gillette: the best a cisgender soy boy can get” and “My wife’s boyfriend loved this. Thank you!”
To many men, Gillette’s “short film” produces a visceral sort of seething indignation. The video is titled, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be,” which at first didn’t seem like a nod to the anti-male #BelieveWomen mania, but after watching it, I wasn’t so sure. The “film” opens with men staring at themselves in the mirror, consumed in stern, self-reflective contemplation as audio clips from what sound like news broadcasts play in the background. First, we hear the word, “bullying,” followed by the phrase, “the #metoo movement against sexual harassment,” and finally: “toxic masculinity.” The narrator asks: “Is this the best a man can get?”
At this point, I heard the words, “fuck you” escape my lips involuntarily, but I’m sure that was just my toxic masculinity speaking. But Gillette wasn’t done. Before lecturing us men on how we really should make more of an effort to be decent human beings, they needed to make sure we had a clear understanding of how Gillette sees us now; a baseline, so to speak, so that our Cro-Magnon brains would have a point of reference for measuring improvement. So here’s the essence of masculinity, according to Gillette: men are bullies, we’re sexist jerks, and — if I understood the implication in one scene — we shoot-up schools full of innocent children. To make matters worse, apparently teenage boys enjoy watching television shows in which women wear bikinis.
“But,” as the narrator warns, we men had better cut it out because, “something finally changed.” School shootings are definitely out now, guys. Also, if two young boys are laughing and wrestling harmlessly in the grass at your neighborhood barbecue, you should pull them aside and lecture them about soy.
At best, Gillette’s “short film” is a preachy, condescending attempt at a public service announcement, delivered at the expense of its own customer base. Perhaps the company’s executives think of themselves as role models, and this is simply a crude attempt to condemn sociopathy and illustrate what they consider healthy male behavior. But if you’re a Procter & Gamble shareholder, don’t count on it.
More probably, this is just another example of social justice “convergence,” a term derived from John Stuart Mill’s 1861 book Utilitarianism and recently coined by conservative author Vox Day to explain how “social justice warriors” invade organizations — usually through the human resources department or some other oft-ignored ancillary function — and proceed to usurp the corporate agenda for their own purposes, which are almost always at odds with the health of the business. Day describes the inevitably corrupting influence of this infiltration as the “Impossibility of SJW Convergence” principle, which is that “the more an institution converges towards the highest abstract standard of social and distributive justice, the less it is able to perform its primary function.”
In other words, thanks for the lesson, Gillette; I’m joining Dollar Shave Club.
Originally published at medium.com on January 17, 2019.