Gillette and the Double-Edged Blade of Shaming

Don’t Let Valid Criticisms Detract from the Message’s Importance

Aaron DeBee

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Gillette has recently released a new advertising campaign decrying toxic masculinity, and it’s proving to be surprisingly controversial. By the time my coffee hit the bottom of my cup this morning, I had a social media message from a friend wondering what I and a few of his other friends thought the opposition to such a beneficial message might be.

There were already a substantial number of responses when I logged on to consider the question, and they did an admirable job of outlining some of the potential complaints. Across the internet, I learned, a number of frustrated men were pledging to boycott Gillette in protest.

The frustration with Gillette, it appears, tends to fall into one of two major categories. These criticisms of the corporate equality and sensitivity movement are not exclusive to the Gillette issue, and this isn’t the first time they’ve come up.

THEY’RE USING CRITICISM AND JUDGEMENT TO PREACH SENSITIVITY

One of the problems that has arisen from the social push for widespread acceptance is that it necessitates not accepting those who are not being accepting. In order to correct unacceptable behaviors like bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, and more nuanced toxic behaviors like man-splaining, it seems we need to explicitly criticise the group of people guilty of those transgressions.

Many of us don’t see a problem with that because we believe that those harmful practices are inherently “wrong.” Some, however, view it like yelling “Be quiet!” as loud as one can. The “snowflake” name-calling was disappointing when it was aimed at people advocating kindness and acceptance; it was heartbreaking when some of those same people later took opportunities to fire back “Who’s the snowflake now?!”

THE SENTIMENT ISN’T GENUINE

We’re citizens of a capitalist country, we’re adults, and it’s 2019. As much as we’d like to believe that everyone’s interest in equality, acceptance, and fair…

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Aaron DeBee

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor, veteran, Top Rated on Upwork, former Medium Top Writer in Humor, Feminism, Culture, Sports, NFL, etc.