[Discussion] Men talking to men about Feminism

This thread is for people who believe that when it comes to feminism it's important for men to listen to women and to talk to men.

In this thread we assume Feminism is something you wholeheartedly support or want to support. Questions about the validity of Feminism are for somewhere else.

SallyNasty wrote:

Jesus you guys are cynical. I loved the ad - I thought it was great. I hope to see more like it.

I work in marketing. You don't spend any of your precious and always-too-small budget on anything not expect a hefty return.

In this case Gillette spent a couple hundred thousand dollars to make a short film that's really an attempt at brand engagement: forming an emotional attachment between a consumer and a brand.

And when they talk about it internally or during advertising award ceremonies they won't discussing the issue of toxic masculinity. They'll be talking about how many YouTube views and social media likes and shares the ad had and how well it engaged the Gillette brand with younger consumers.

Regarding the ad: They're going to advertise anyway. I'd rather there be something to think about than another stupid name drop. I'd rather they add their voice to something that needs saying than another stupid jingle. Small pushes like this add up to larger changes. Great use of their advertising budget.

SallyNasty wrote:

Jesus you guys are cynical. I loved the ad - I thought it was great. I hope to see more like it.

Yes, it is a commercial, and the goal is to make profit. But, that does not mean that a commercial venture can't have a positive message. And as a message, this is an awesome one.

I was discussing this a little bit on Facebook with some people who were **very** offended by this ad, to which I said the following:

There is nothing bad about this video. It is pretty clear to me that it is not calling out "all men" or "all masculine traits" or anything of the sort. It is quite clear that bullying, harassment and beating people up is what is being called out as bad, and that, as men, we need to show the next generation those actions are **not** acceptable.

If you feel attacked by this video, then perhaps you need to take a long, hard look at what it is about the things you do that you feel is being attacked by this commercial.

I don't know about it being an awesome ad. "The best a man an get" shouldn't be "not being a jerk." Nor should it be "calling people out when they're being jerks." That sounds like a baseline, not the best. That said, better than commercials that popularize or justify terrible male behavior.

Any light shining on toxic masculinity is better than no light.

As a prefatory remark - I shave with a Gilette Mach 3 and I've been using that same razor for the 20 or so years I've been shaving. I think it's worth pointing out context of the Gilette trademark, "the best a man can get", has been around for decades.

That Gilette is capitalising on the growing awareness of toxic masculinity may well be a cynical marketing play. But even if it is just that, it's still got us talking about toxic masculinity, and that's a step in the right direction.

Things that others haven't mentioned in the ad - there's an example of mansplaining (board room shot where the woman is looking down in frustration), and there's an example of hypersexuality (the attractive woman walking past and the man restraining his buddy from pursuing her). It may provoke an eyeroll from the woke fellers here, but I think it's a good example to demonstrate blatant examples of toxic masculinity for the younger demographic and men who aren't part of the movement against toxic masculinity.

In times to come, it will be a useful clip to sit down with my son to go through each one, even if his present awareness might be limited to the bullying/assault examples.

Okay so this will probably be the most hipster thing I say this week, but Axe did this - and did it better, IMO - a couple years ago.

Given that dollar shave club seems to be eating Gillette’s lunch, I suspect they’re just after what they consider an untapped market.

There is a difference between Gillette and Axe; while Axe is selling the message that there are many types of masculinity, Gillette is focused on the lessons men impart to young boys. Perhaps the message “love yourself” is personally more impactful to me than “do better than baby boomers on your kids,” leading to my opinion that the Axe message was “better.”

(As a leftist, of course I would like to nationalize Gillette so that we could have razorblade shortages, but I do think that corporate advertising is the cruel, weak version of progressive propaganda we have in this timeline.

LarryC wrote:

I don't know about it being an awesome ad. "The best a man an get" shouldn't be "not being a jerk." Nor should it be "calling people out when they're being jerks." That sounds like a baseline, not the best. That said, better than commercials that popularize or justify terrible male behavior.

I didn't get that in their message. To me, they took the jingle they've used for ages to describe their products and turned it into a question, "Is this the best that men can get?" Seemed pretty smart. It shows where we are and asks us to do better.

Seth wrote:

Okay so this will probably be the most hipster thing I say this week, but Axe did this - and did it better, IMO - a couple years ago.

Given that dollar shave club seems to be eating Gillette’s lunch, I suspect they’re just after what they consider an untapped market.

There is a difference between Gillette and Axe; while Axe is selling the message that there are many types of masculinity, Gillette is focused on the lessons men impart to young boys. Perhaps the message “love yourself” is personally more impactful to me than “do better than baby boomers on your kids,” leading to my opinion that the Axe message was “better.”

(As a leftist, of course I would like to nationalize Gillette so that we could have razorblade shortages, but I do think that corporate advertising is the cruel, weak version of progressive propaganda we have in this timeline.

Arguably Axe has much more ground to cover given their ad campaigns prior.

I am willing to guess that Gillette focus tested this ad and was satisfied it will move whatever needle they are trying to move.

Even if this is just a cynical attempt to market to a growing demographic (people concerned about toxic masculinity), let's not forget that means that after carefully analyzing the data, this marketing company determined that this was a better way to appeal to the American public than the sexist, oversexualized advertisements that men's grooming products have traditionally used. That's a pretty damn good sign that we, as a society, are at least making some progress.

As always, let's remember to not make perfect the enemy of the good.

SallyNasty wrote:

As always, let's remember to not make perfect the enemy of the good.

YES!
It's been said in this thread, you shouldn't ask for a cookie or back pat for doing the bare minimum. On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with being encouraging and giving positive feedback when people do make improvements even if not as far as we want.

Judging by the reactions on the internet, I think Gillette's invented a Voigt-Kampff test. Just in time, too.

Rat Boy wrote:

Judging by the reactions on the internet, I think Gillette's invented a Voigt-Kampff test. Just in time, too.

"Have you ever retired a progressive by mistake?"

It must be a slow news week because the Gillette video is still getting articles on it and apparent outrage over it.

There was an earlier article I read saying that the video would have been directed on the statistical data that women do most of the grocery shopping therefore it was more likely to be directed at a female audience than a male audience.

I'm not sure that a lot of people understand what toxic masculinity is, so they don't even know what Gillette is aiming at. In my circles those who have been upset conflated toxic masculinity with plain old masculinity. Granted, there are a lot of people who think that toxic masculinity is the way our culture should be, but I don't tend to associate with them.

LouZiffer wrote:

I'm not sure that a lot of people understand what toxic masculinity is, so they don't even know what Gillette is aiming at. In my circles those who have been upset conflated toxic masculinity with plain old masculinity. Granted, there are a lot of people who think that toxic masculinity is the way our culture should be, but I don't tend to associate with them.

Yeah, I'm having trouble determining which people actually don't get it and those that SAY they don't get it. With enough discussion it becomes apparent, but when discussing with numerous people it becomes more challenging.

The two main objections I’m seeing are:

1. Fear that pop culture and media are pathologizing normal male behavior. For example, boys who want to rough house or who have a harmless fascination with guns. Or not allowing men to blow off steam around their male buddies.

2. Fear that boys and young men won’t be physically and mentally tough enough to survive in the more dangerous professions like the military, firefighting, police work, fishing and ranching, etc. This is not to say young girls shouldn’t also be tough, only that a lot of the jobs where you can be killed at any moment are dominated by men. There’s also the classic fear that if our sons are not tough enough to go up against America’s enemies in case of a major conflict where everyone is mobilized. It’s the classic idea that the Romans got soft and were easy pickings for the Huns and Goths.

I’m not that worried about point number one. Point number two does give me pause. I really struggle with that right balance of protecting my son who is very sweet and sensitive while preparing him for a harsh world that’s likely to get even tougher thanks to climate change.

jdzappa wrote:

I’m not that worried about point number one. Point number two does give me pause. I really struggle with that right balance of protecting my son who is very sweet and sensitive while preparing him for a harsh world that’s likely to get even tougher thanks to climate change.

Emphasizing his sweetness and sensitivity / teaching him the value of empathy IS preparing him for that future.

Collaboration and community are going to be better tools for navigating that future than brawn or might.

With my kids, it hasn't been an issue. The fear of "going soft" comes from toxic masculinity. It's bullsh*t which forces us into roles which don't reflect our true selves. Far more strength comes from truly knowing who you are and being secure in that. We get more from each other by respecting and using our differences than we'll ever get by forcing each other to be what we are not. Growing up with that, the cruelty of others (which often comes from not having that) bounces off. By knowing who they are and validating what they feel, they are prepared.

EDIT: By the way, I'm saying this as a father of a trans son. If there's anyone who needs to be concerned about a cruel world, it's him.

jdzappa wrote:

The two main objections I’m seeing are:

1. Fear that pop culture and media are pathologizing normal male behavior. For example, boys who want to rough house or who have a harmless fascination with guns. Or not allowing men to blow off steam around their male buddies.

2. Fear that boys and young men won’t be physically and mentally tough enough to survive in the more dangerous professions like the military, firefighting, police work, fishing and ranching, etc. This is not to say young girls shouldn’t also be tough, only that a lot of the jobs where you can be killed at any moment are dominated by men. There’s also the classic fear that if our sons are not tough enough to go up against America’s enemies in case of a major conflict where everyone is mobilized. It’s the classic idea that the Romans got soft and were easy pickings for the Huns and Goths.

I’m not that worried about point number one. Point number two does give me pause. I really struggle with that right balance of protecting my son who is very sweet and sensitive while preparing him for a harsh world that’s likely to get even tougher thanks to climate change.

I don't think rough housing and fascination with guns is harmless or normal. Blowing off steam of course is, but violence and anger as the only way to do so is not healthy, and this is how those seeds are planted.

Really fun segment with Steve Young on PTI yesterday. Yes, part of it is his unadulterated enthusiasm for Pat Mahomes. But the end of the segment, when he talks about other things he is jealous of, in relation to the modern game versus his day and age, is pretty good.

"You telling me I can just put the ball into the belly of a back and just wait and watch the safeties to see what they are gonna do? Come-on, it's cheating!"

He comes on at 11:35:

Teacher has a comparable likelihood of death/harm, right?

A lot of the jobs where you can be killed at any moment are dominated by men because of patriarchal assumptions about men having to be the one who plays the role of physical protector and other assumptions about the disposable-ness of lower class men's lives.

Yes there are tasks in all the jobs listed where raw physical strength is necessary, but those tasks aren't so common that we need only employ men in those professions. I know plenty of guys who spent their army careers sat behind a desk.

Broadly though maybe also we shouldn't be bringing up our sons (or any children) to be the kind of tough that puts them in harms way?

jdzappa wrote:

The two main objections I’m seeing are:

1. Fear that pop culture and media are pathologizing normal male behavior. For example, boys who want to rough house or who have a harmless fascination with guns. Or not allowing men to blow off steam around their male buddies.

2. Fear that boys and young men won’t be physically and mentally tough enough to survive in the more dangerous professions like the military, firefighting, police work, fishing and ranching, etc. This is not to say young girls shouldn’t also be tough, only that a lot of the jobs where you can be killed at any moment are dominated by men. There’s also the classic fear that if our sons are not tough enough to go up against America’s enemies in case of a major conflict where everyone is mobilized. It’s the classic idea that the Romans got soft and were easy pickings for the Huns and Goths.

I’m not that worried about point number one. Point number two does give me pause. I really struggle with that right balance of protecting my son who is very sweet and sensitive while preparing him for a harsh world that’s likely to get even tougher thanks to climate change.

Given I have no personal experience with small human management take this with the appropriate level of salt.

I will suggest that consider a message of tough =/= gruff. Basically yes the world will on occasion push you down; being tough is not measured by how hard you push back but rather how you persevere. In that light compassion has clear value, basically you'll get further making more friends than fighting enemies.

The idea that teaching empathy and communication skills makes anyone mentally or physically weak is complete bullsh*t. If anything, it's men who can't express or acknowledge their feelings who are emotionally and mentally fragile, to the point that they require women to perform emotional work to keep them from breaking down into maladaptive and harmful behaviors at the slightest sign of pressure. I've never heard of such nonsense in my life.

SixteenBlue wrote:
jdzappa wrote:

The two main objections I’m seeing are:

1. Fear that pop culture and media are pathologizing normal male behavior. For example, boys who want to rough house or who have a harmless fascination with guns. Or not allowing men to blow off steam around their male buddies.

2. Fear that boys and young men won’t be physically and mentally tough enough to survive in the more dangerous professions like the military, firefighting, police work, fishing and ranching, etc. This is not to say young girls shouldn’t also be tough, only that a lot of the jobs where you can be killed at any moment are dominated by men. There’s also the classic fear that if our sons are not tough enough to go up against America’s enemies in case of a major conflict where everyone is mobilized. It’s the classic idea that the Romans got soft and were easy pickings for the Huns and Goths.

I’m not that worried about point number one. Point number two does give me pause. I really struggle with that right balance of protecting my son who is very sweet and sensitive while preparing him for a harsh world that’s likely to get even tougher thanks to climate change.

I don't think rough housing and fascination with guns is harmless or normal. Blowing off steam of course is, but violence and anger as the only way to do so is not healthy, and this is how those seeds are planted.

At least partially, I think you are over assigning anger and desire to hurt to rough housing. There definitely are points where it becomes unhealthy and beating down on those who cannot fight back. However, physical play is not inherently bad.
It actually is the one issue I have with the commercial (other than it being made by megacorp), the playing by the boys did not seem that bad. But that is perspective. I have broken up my son and his peers (7 year olds, usually boys, but sometimes girls) from getting overly violent, but I also watch to make sure they get a chance to resolve issues themselves,

Guns should be able to just be a dangerous, but neutral tool. Unfortunately, I cannot get past the people who rub one off to the idea of being in a shootout.

The idea that the commercial might be calling out physical play is drastically misplaced, IMO. Physical play has rules. When you put your hands on another person in a dispute, that's not play.

LouZiffer wrote:

The idea that the commercial might be calling out physical play is drastically misplaced, IMO. Physical play has rules. When you put your hands on another person in a dispute, that's not play.

I mean the following as way to generate discussion and not as an attack.

Please define all the rules of childhood socialization and in a way children at various ages can understand them and generally implement them without significant oversight (From this I mean to avoid helicopter parenting versus laziness or neglect) from adults.

It is not difficult for play to go out of bounds, and while we do need to observe and teach our children, they have to be given the space to try out their understanding of the rules.
I am not defending "boys will be boys", but throwing out physical play outside of formal sports is not the correct answer, in my opinion.

Finally, youtube sucks as I was unable to find a non-reaction version of the video by searching youtube. I had to go through other sites first.

Hold on, there's so much that is wrong in the bullying scenes from that clip.

Like there's no physical of that kid getting chased by the mob of boys until right at the end where they corner him. Assault doesn't require physical contact.

Letting boys wrestle to the point one is in mount position and beating down the other is also ridiculously bad. Since when is violence the answer to dispute resolution?

There's a place for physical contact and to control aggressive tendencies. That's sports, martial arts, and the like. In controlled environments with rules.

Resilience and mental fortitude aren't things we should be teaching through aggression and violence. It's sending the wrong signal about what constitutes strength. It's signalling that the big tough guy is the ideal man.

lunchbox12682 wrote:
LouZiffer wrote:

The idea that the commercial might be calling out physical play is drastically misplaced, IMO. Physical play has rules. When you put your hands on another person in a dispute, that's not play.

I mean the following as way to generate discussion and not as an attack.

Please define all the rules of childhood socialization and in a way children at various ages can understand them and generally implement them without significant oversight (From this I mean to avoid helicopter parenting versus laziness or neglect) from adults.

"We use our words."

That's where we begin with toddlers. We learn the exceptions as we mature.

It is not difficult for play to go out of bounds, and while we do need to observe and teach our children, they have to be given the space to try out their understanding of the rules.
I am not defending "boys will be boys", but throwing out physical play outside of formal sports is not the correct answer, in my opinion.

I'm not.