All of a (Shaving) Lather

Am I offended by the new Gillette advert? No.


Does it really bother me all that much? No.

So why write about it? Well, everyone else seems to have an opinion on it, so why not.

I saw it on twitter last night, but if you have no idea what advert I mean, you can catch it on YouTube.

On both platforms there are a lot of people going a bit nuts over it. At the time of writing the video has 289K dislikes compared to 53k likes and 77k+ comments, a lot of which are neither negative or taking the piss.

Honestly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about. The film is a bit… Meh. Not the sort of thing I’m going to remember in a week and certainly nothing to get upset over.

The general disquiet over it seems to be that it’s a bit ‘liberal leftie’, that it’s ‘virtue signalling’ and pandering to those who don’t buy razors by directly attacking those that do (i.e Men). I don’t really see that. But maybe I’m not looking hard enough or trying hard enough to be offended.

You see, for me, it’s the reaction this short film has garnered that is the interesting thing – certainly it’s more interesting that the film. The reaction speaks to the kind of society we are now and, let’s be honest, it’s not a pretty picture.

Let me discuss the film first.

I don’t think its core message is very different from the core message that Gillette has always championed. That of Respect.

Gillette is a company whose core product area is male grooming. And good grooming has always been more associated with men who are respected – with Gentlemen, if you like – that with men who are not respected.

Or, to put it another, perhaps better way – a well-groomed man will usually command more respect than a badly groomed man or one who is not groomed at all.

Just look at the way people react differently to the well-groomed Jacob Rees-Mogg compared to the rather less well-groomed Nigel Farage – even though men spout the same vile brand of xenophobic hate.

Sorry, got a bit Brexity there. Apologies.

For as long as I can remember, Gillette has used the slogan “The Best a Man Can Get” (complete with catchy jingle that’s now stuck in your head just like it is mine), and their ads have featured generations of men being respected because of the fine grooming they receive from Gillette’s blades. There’s also been a strong sense of ‘generations’ in the advertising – as if they’re trying to say that good grooming (and the respect that comes with it) is passed down from father to son. How many times have you seen an older man shaving next to a younger man (or boy) in a Gillette ad?

And is this film’s message really that different? Certainly it’s about respect – about respecting and being respected. And it’s about men teaching the next generation to be better men. Okay, there was no real need to namecheck the #metoo movement and the use of the phrase “toxic masculinity” by a company whose product essentially relies on masculinity for its purpose is probably not the best idea, but really, is there anything wrong with showing a man stepping in to tell another man he’s crossed a line or stopping a fight between two boys?

But in the end, like I said at the start, it’s all just a bit… Meh.

The reaction though… Man, the reaction!

We’ve actually got people trying to organise a boycott, not just of Gillette products but of other products by the parent company, Proctor & Gamble.

That’s insane! It’s a fucking advert for fuck’s sake! Why are you getting so damn upset over it? And what, exactly are you getting upset over? Do you think men shouldn’t step up an intervene when friends cross the line or boys are fighting? Really?

It seems to me that this not about the actual content of the advert, but more about the use of the term “toxic masculinity” and the namecheck of #metoo at the start.

I think what’s happening is simply that a lot of people who consider themselves to be on “The Right’ see this as P&G pandering to “The Left” and they don’t like it.

I think it’s more that a marketing department is taking a calculated risk that associating themselves with one political position will win it more customers than it loses them.

Because that’s what this is ultimately about – winning customers and making more money.

“The Right”, of course, is a varied church, but a it’s clear that a lot of the people getting outraged by a razor advert are the same people that use terms like “Cultural Marxism” and “Snowflake” when talking about “The Left” and I do find it odd that the very people that accuse their political opponents of being too easily offended (and offended by everything) are themselves so quick to take offence over something so trivial.

Honestly, I’m more offended by Willy Boly’s sending off against Man City last night – Never a red card, in my opinion and would only have been a yellow at most had it been one of City’s players on one of ours.

Sorry, got side-tracked again.

Where was I? Oh, yes, trivial offence.

Maybe it’s me? I implied in an earlier post that I think I’m mellowing into my middle-age rather than charging head-first and gammon-faced into it, so maybe this short film should worry me or disturb me more than it does.

I blame James O’Brien.

But like I said (again)… Meh. I’ll have forgotten its content by the end of the week.

It certainly won’t stop me buying and using Gillette razors. I have no particular affinity for them – I’ve used Wilkinson Sword and Tesco own brand in the past too. And I won’t stop aiming to be the best man I can be and trying to teach my son to be the same. He’s thirteen now. And he’s just starting to get a shadow on this top lip. I don’t think it’s quite time for him to be scraping it off every day like I have to (except when I choose to let it grow on a semi-regular basis) but he’s not far off. The time will soon be here that I have to buy him that first shaving kit and teach him how to lather up and shave with the grain first and against it afterwards.

And, honestly, I’m dreading that day as much as I’m looking forward to it.

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