Gillette’s Attempt to Help the #MeToo Movement


Zia Sampson, Managing Editor and Business Manager

The #MeToo movement is a powerful stance to end sexual violence against women that has been a political focus since late 2017, when Ashley Judd spoke publicly about being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. Since then, thousands of women have begun speaking out about their harrowing experiences with sexual assault, and many businesses have started to support the movement in their ad campaigns-to varying degrees of success.

The latest of these is Gillette’s new ad, “The Best Men Can Be“, has been met with extremely mixed reviews. The ad starts with men doing activities generally associated with toxic masculinity and news reels talking about the myriad of sexual assault allegations that have surfaced in the past two years, while the narrator asks a simple question: “Is this the best a man can get?”. It closes with men starting to break these aggressive stereotypes and make a stand before cutting to their tagline, “The Best A Man Can Get.”

Since it’s initial release on Jan. 13, the ad has stirred a lot of controversy. It has been under fire because of how heavy-handed the accusations it was making appeared. A lot of people are feeling like the ad is generalizing men, claiming that all of them aggressive and objectify women, while that is certainly not the case. On the other hand, others have praised the ad for knowing their audience and trying to make a point to that group.

Both arguments provide valid points, and the truth is that the ad does a little bit of both. It is amazing that Gillette knew they had such a large platform, and that they are using it to help a good cause. However, the first part of the ad does feel especially accusatory, so it is easy to understand how offense could be taken. The last half of the ad feels like a redemption, though, because it does acknowledge that not all men are prowlers or pigs. Not only that, but it gives them a chance to grow by calling out misogynistic and harmful behaviors.

So, is the Gillette ad too critical of men? Yes, they are a little too patronizing. However, they do address some important points and offer a solution. They could have identified the problem with more grace, but their message was clear.