Oh boy. How much more polarised can we become, without actually relocating to the dwindling icebergs at opposite ends of the planet?
Is it really so horrific to suggest that men set a good example for each other and for boys, even if the message comes from a company like Proctor & Gamble?
Yes, this is about the Gillette advert. Razors, toxic masculinity, and online hissy fits.
When Gillette used their latest marketing tool to suggest that men be the best that they can be – rather than razors being the best a man can get – tremors from the backlash could be felt on Mars.
Such has been the outpouring of outrage at the idea that respect, accountability and good role modelling are positive male attributes, YouTube liquified under a tsunami of bile.
Last time I looked, there were 263k YouTube thumbs up for the advert, and 609k thumbs down. (Because that’s where we are now – discussion around gender, humanity and cultural evolution reduced to stabby little thumbs pointing up or down.)
Uploaded photos of waste baskets filled furiously with shaving products.
#BoycottGillette, shouted men on Twitter, threatening to grow protest beards rather than use Gillette products.
You’d think P&G had been advocating the use of their razors for the forcible shaving of newborn kittens.
I’m making the assumption that everyone in the galaxy has seen the advert by now, but if you have been in a self-induced Brexit coma – and who could blame you - it highlights sexual harassment, aggression, and the myth that boys will be boys.
It does not suggest employing Gillette razors to shave your son and put him in a tutu; it merely suggests that, post #MeToo, men and boys might wish to think twice before catcalling women, groping women, talking over women, and beating the crap out of each other because it’s what boys and men do.
The crux of the message – apart from buy our razors – is that men need to hold other men accountable. That’s all.
Not that men need to prostrate themselves at the feet of femdoms, or line up to castrate themselves with newly purchased razors.
No. All that’s being called for is the casual feminism of, say, Andy Murray; a low key but automatic allegiance to equality and respect.
This is not radical feminism, or even bog standard feminism. It is just good manners.
The raging men affronted by this call to being a bit nicer to women and to each other are the very ones for whom this advert was designed.
The angry, the insecure.
Those walled in by a tired, reductive version of masculinity, and how much lighter life could be without dragging the toxic rocks of conditioned attitudes and behaviour with you throughout life.
A new study from the American Psychological Association reports how “components of traditional masculinity” include “emotional stoicism, homophobia, not showing vulnerability, self-reliance and competitiveness”.
Stoicism and self-reliance are marvellous if you are shipwrecked on a desert island, but not much cop in everyday life.
Boys do and must cry.
76% of all suicides are male. Men perpetrate 78% of violent crime and 92% of domestic violence.
Obviously not all men are violent nutters.
But the volume of raging male reaction to the Gillette ad idea is grim.