Friday, January 18, 2019

We Believe: The Best Men Can Be

I am a mom. A woman. I have 3 young boys. One day they will be men. This week the internet and television exploded after Gillette published a short film asking men if this is the best men can be. I've watched this advertisement-film many times.

If you somehow have failed to view this 1-minute-and-50-second film,  titled "We Believe: The Best Men can Be,  I suggest you view it to judge for yourself.

Image from Gillette short film - We Believe: The Best Men Can Be

This film is about men and their responsibility for their role in our society. Society is made of men, women, and people who are non-conforming to the binary genders. In society, all people have responsibilities to improve the lives of each other, themselves and the future generations which is not worthy of protest. This film shows us the worst side of the typical man in America. If you are a woman or non-conforming person, this is sadly what dominates the interaction with "men". Men are at the top of the pyramid in our society.

The film starts out with a middle-aged man staring at himself in the mirror.  He is the proverbial man in the mirror, Micheal Jackson sang about. You hear the newscaster shout "Bullying" which is common in our schools and workplaces. Just take a look at these tales of bullying at schools and this racial bullying example from GM manufacturing plant against black workers..

Then the newscaster says, 'The #metoo movement", and yes, yes, many men, even the majority of 'men' scoffed at the #metoo movement as some crazy liberal feminist nonsense, but it is an outcry for women and men to tell the survior stories of sexual misconduct that has gone unacknowledged and were often hidden.

Then a narrator asks "is this the best a man can be?". Example after example of 'men' behaving poorly blazes across the screen, bullying, sexual harassment, mansplaining, looking the other way, allowing physical boundaries to be crossed, chanting "boys will be boys", as otherwise good 'men' take steps to stand up for what is right.

At 53 seconds as Terry Crews says "Men need to hold other Men accountable". Right there is where men who don't represent the best of men get angry.  Is it because they find in themselves that they are the ones telling "women to smile'? Are they angry because it is not appropriate to follow a woman as she goes about her daily business and cat-call her? Are they the Harvey Wienstiens of the world? Are they the 'grab them by the pussy' type of guy talk and do they find being told this behavior is NOT very appealing to either men or women? Are they the men telling the next generation to Man up and not be a pussy? Did this short film cause them to look in the mirror and see a reflection they didn't like?

As a mother, it is my responsibility to teach my 3 boys to be better than their father. It's probably his responsibility too, unfortunately, he has allowed all the bravado of the US Marine Corp and its toxic masculinity to become less than the best of men. I've never subscribed to the 'boys will be boys' mentality and at times have argued loudly with my own mother for saying that to me about my former husband and to my boys in regards to their behavior. Men are not awful and they don't need to be harmful to other men or women around them to show their masculinity. Boys will be exactly the type of men we teach them to be. We want our men to be masculine, to stand up against the wrongs in this world for those that don't have a voice. We want our men to be honorable the way a Boy Scout instills trustworthiness in strangers. We want our men to know they are the one man that has the power to change this world. They are the men that can be the best.

This short film-commercial is not a video decrying men as the awful, horrid beasts. This short film is a reminder that Gillette believes in the Best Men Can be. If this short film-commercial makes you buy more razors from Gillette, then it is doing its job. If this short film-commercial makes the men around you stand up for what is good about men then it has done its job. If this short film-commercial makes you angry as a man who wants to condemn Gillette and buy another brand, then maybe you should ask yourself what about this commercial angers you...

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