Publisher’s Point: Gillette’s Gargantuan Gaffe

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

Most folks know that 50 years ago I was a radical feminist who had publically announced that I would “never be any man’s baby machine.” This was particularly idiotic, as well as disingenuous, because all my life I had wanted to be a mom of 4 kids, and my dream was to have two boys and two girls. In 1968, if Gillette had produced their new “boys will be boys” ad that is creating such a stir, I would have loudly hollered, “Right on!” And, as a side note, I did get my heart’s desire and more when it came to being a mom—kids, step kids, “kids-of-the-heart,” all because of mercy and grace.

In 1970, I had the spiritual equivalent of a head-on collision with the Son of God, and let’s just say He didn’t blink. I have been in His ICU ever since, and most days His nurses, docs, and therapists say I am making great progress! I am deeply grateful for their intensive care of yours truly, as well as the results, but sometimes I am a bit dense. I get upset when I feel like I have been duped, which was exactly the case after Lynne Hart greeted me when I walked into the Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful office with, “Have you seen the Gillette ad that is so controversial?” “No,” I replied while I put my stuff down, and she hit Play. We watched it, and for the first few seconds, I thought, “What’s the big deal? Speaking out against various forms of socially negative behavior is a good thing.” Then came the scene portraying the backyard BBQ-ers, complete with the politically correct and mandatory levels of diversity, chanting, “Boys will be boys will be boys.” I looked at her with an incredulous “Wuuttttt?”on my face.

Then two things happened: I began to read some of the comments from understandably offended men, and I discovered that in 2017, Proctor & Gamble had produced a psychologically similar ad directed toward law enforcement, with the endgame of increasing sales in the black community. This resulted in a true “I-could-have-had-a-V-8” moment, when the only appropriate thing to do would be to slap myself on the forehead. Man, did I feel like a doofus! The first time I saw the ad, I missed from the get-go the ad-makers’ slicker-than-snot, completely outrageous and unacceptable attack on half of the planet’s population! I am incensed at the accusation which posits that masculine men are automatically toxic due to the actual level of testosterone that is part of their makeup. Or, as I once heard someone say, “Men are evil, throw rocks at them.”

In fancy terms, this is known as “misandry,” which is the opposite of misogyny, or “women-hating.” It is defined by Oxford as, “dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex).” Its etymology is from the Greek language using the same linguistic construction as “misogyny,” and interestingly didn’t come into use until the late 19th century. Here you have the root, “andro” rather than “gyno,” and “miso” simply means “hate” in both cases.

Time for the necessary disclaimer: I am not a fan of bullying, sexual harassment, or anything else unbiblical or criminal. Most reasonable men and women aren’t. But, can you imagine the reaction if Venus razors for women (which, hysterically is also owned by Gillette, er, Proctor & Gamble) produced an ad that showed women at large as the current equivalent of the movie, Mean Girls; or women who voluntarily pay to have their innocent pre-born girl children aborted because they would rather not be pregnant and miss their ski trip; or moms who commit murder so their daughters can be on the cheer squad; or women who facilitate the trafficking of other women under the guise of getting them modeling jobs; or female cyber bullies who inspire their female classmates to commit suicide? If such an ad portraying women at their very worst tried to guilt me into thinking that I and my gender needed to “be better” so they sell more razors, I would feel a spiritual obligation to pitch a sanctified hissy fit.

P&G, do not stereotype, distort, pervert, vilify, or erase men’s “man-ness” in order to boost your sales, and don’t do anything comparable to women or black people. It’s insulting, and you might just end up nicking yourself.