By David Futrelle
Gillette’s new ad challenging toxic masculinity has got a lot of people talking. Unfortunately, most of them seem to be angry dudes attacking Gillette for challenging them to be “The Best Men Can Be,” and using the ad as an excuse to call other men “soy boys,” cucks, sissies, pansies and f***ots.
The ad, which took on an assortment of related issues ranging from bullying to sexual harassment, has gotten 5.6 million views on YouTube since it was released Sunday. It’s also gotten more than 400,000 “dislikes,” nearly four times the number of likes.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is. I have mixed feelings about giant corporations trying to position themselves as progressive entities, but the ad itself is pretty good, as these things go.
So what are the online, er, critics saying? I spent a while reading through some of the reactions on Twitter, where the video was also posted, and, well, let’s just say that, just as comments on any article about feminism prove the need for feminism, Tweets about videos challenging toxic masculinity prove the need for videos challenging toxic masculinity.
Let’s start with Jeffrey here, who conveys some of the flavor of the response with this weird attack on Ana Kasparian of The Young Turks, who appears briefly in the video as an example of a journalist talking about the #MeeToo movement.
But most of the attacks weren’t misogynist attacks on women; they were, rather, misogynistic attacks on the allegedly insufficient masculinity of the Gillette executives behind the ad, and on those the ad was designed to appeal to.
Did I say men? I meant “soy boys.” Or at least that’s what the commenters meant.
Apparently, all the excess testosterone in these manly men’s systems has rendered them incapable of original thought. These aren’t the most creative of people.
Still, some eschewed the “soy boy” insult in favor of assorted old-school insinuations of inadequate manhood.
Others mixed-and-matched old and new school insults with gleeful abandon.
Others descended into straight-up homophobic attacks:
Others went with everyone’s favorite transphobic slur.
Such an inventive play on Gillette’s famous slogan “The Best a Man Can Get.”
And it’s not like anyone else thought of that joke. Oh, wait.
Yes, I’ll have the combo, please.
On second thought, I’ll have one with everything.
But perhaps the strangest contribution to this whole debate that I ran across while, er, researching this piece by bumbling around on Twitter came from our old friend Stefan Molyneux, the culty Canadian “philosopher” and YouTube blabber, who had this observation about the ad:
Stefan is suggesting, in a sly if not-quite-plausibly deniable way, that the ad is somehow going easy on Jewish men and exempting them from the “toxic masculinity” accusations, almost as if there were some big Jewish conspiracy on Madison Avenue to go along with the one in Hollywood.
How do I know this is what he’s getting at? Molyneux is an increasingly open anti-Semite who pretends to oppose anti-Semitism; he regularly tweets regurgitated anti-Semtiic talking points and, in a tweet the other day he explicitly denied that he has any Jewish blood in him. Which is evidently a big concern in the circles he hangs out in these days.
My question, of course, is how he can tell that none of the guys in the ad are Jewish. I mean, there are a LOT of boys and men in the ad, and it kind of seems statistically likely that at least a couple of them are Jewish. But evidently Stefan’s Jewdar is better than mine.
Turns out Stefan wasn’t the only one thinking about Jews. So were these guys, and they weren’t quite so subtle as Stefan in their tweets.
(I’m not quite sure how this fellow decided she was Jewish; I found no indications as to her religion online. “Gehring” is a German name but as far as I can tell not one specifically associated with Jews. Not that anti-Semites are big on accuracy.)
So I guess the problem isn’t just that a lot of men are poisoned by toxic masculinity. I guess a lot of them are also Nazis, who turn every discussion into an opportunity to talk shit about Jews.
I mean, we knew that already. But how convenient to be reminded of both facts so colorfully in this little collection of tweets.
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