I heard an ad on the radio for Buffalo Wild Wings. If you are unfamiliar with this chain, it promotes itself primarily through three words: Wings, Beer, Sports. The commercial that I found myself listening to was focused on those last two. It suggested that men should drop on by their nearest location to watch the playoffs rather than hanging at "your place." Which they suggested might mean sitting on the couch, rubbing knees and/or elbows which would be "uncomfortable." Instead, they promoted the idea of five dollar pitchers of beer and your own personal stool to avoid any discomfort from closeness. Because any drunken brawl should begin by gnawing on extravagantly spiced poultry bones and guzzling beer from your own private homophobic perch.
At least that was my personal takeaway from the ad.
Contrasting mightily to this radio bit was the commercial I viewed online from Gillette razors. For a minute and a half, no razors are sold, just the slogan: The Best A Man Can Get. Images of harassment and brutality are confronted by men choosing to stand up to the problem, asking "Is this the best a man can get?" The message seems to be "not yet," and encourages us all to take a stand against what has been labelled "toxic masculinity."
Perhaps not surprisingly, a number of people (mostly men) chose to take offense at this message. James Woods had this to tweet: "So nice to see @Gillette jumping on the 'men are horrible' campaign permeating mainstream media and Hollywood entertainment. I for one will never use your product again." Mister Woods was not alone in his disapproval. Hindu chaplain and futurist A. Mathura tweeted, "I won't be buying Gillette and other P&G products again. A company that has built its empire thanks to men buying its products for decades now dares to spit on masculinity in the new commercial. I'm done! #BoycottGillette."
Spit on masculinity? Sexual harassment is all a part of men being men, boys being boys. Intimidation is all part of growing up male? I can get behind the notion that Gillette may have been motivated by factors outside the ideals that they are promoting, surely promoting positive values will help drive sales. But what about those men who are defending their "spit-upon" masculinity? I guess we'll have to save them a stool at Buffalo Wild Wings.