I recently watched the video created by Gillette, called “The Best Men Can Be” whose razor-sharp commentary on toxic masculinity has raised a few hackles among men. The original tag line, “The Best a Man Can Get,” was created by advertising agent Michael Shevack. He has been a friend since the late 1990s, if memory serves, and a “mensch” (Yiddish for “good man”) himself. I have since viewed the ad a half a dozen times as the takeaway messages were clear and gave me reasons to cheer at the bold statements.
The narrative was that in the face of #metoo, men are being encouraged to show up, step forward, stand up, and speak out against aggressions micro and macro in form. Bullying boys chasing a peer while hurling invectives at him, a man groping a woman, men catcalling, and two boys fighting, are all images which flash across the screen.
The “boys will be boys” mentality has reinforced bullying against those perceived as weaker/feminine/vulnerable and has now come under closer scrutiny than likely any other time in history. This paradigm has permitted the “locker room talk” that sets the stage for abuse and assault of both women/girls, men/boys.