I'm going to begin by making a disclaimer statement. Sadly, I feel it is a necessary measure in these times before I am allowed to express what is simply an opinion.
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way denying that there is a problem in our current society when it comes to rape and violent crimes. There are very real statistics and evidence to back this up. I am also in no way against men telling other men to pull their heads in when it comes to others behaving badly. I am simply making a comment on the behaviour of society and the issues I have with the ad itself and the political statement behind it.
Now watch the actual ad above before reading the piece below so you know what I'm talking about.
OK, now that's out of the way I can begin my piece.
The fight for equality between the sexes has been raging on for centuries. Unfortunately, whilst there has been tremendous improvements there are a number of problems that are still limiting total equality.
For example, although the number of women on the Board of ASX 200 listed companies has risen from 8.3% in 2009 to 26.2% in 2018¹, the fact remains that 1 in 2 women will experience sexual harassment in their lifetime and 1 in 3 women have already experienced sexual violence since the age of 15¹.
These are frightening statistics. They are a complete justification for why incredibly large numbers of women are scared of going places alone, of travelling on public transport at night, of talking to strangers or even running through quiet streets. Because these statistics tell us we should be afraid, they remind us constantly that it could be us next.
But why aren't men afraid of doing any of the above listed activities?
I mean if you look at the statistics 1 in 6 men experience sexual assault before they are adults and 1 in 25 men will experience sexual assault after the age of 15³.
Sadly, however, as a society we discount these numbers because although they are 'bad' they are not 'as bad' as the statistics facing women. We choose to morally side-line males in these types of cases because the evidence tells us we should be focusing on women first.
But would it change your mind if I told you that of males who have been raped, 90-95% do NOT report the crime⁴.
Wouldn't that in theory skew the evidence? Probably result in an increase in the number of males who will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes? That would make men almost just as risk to these awful occurrences.
And yet according to society and according to ads such as the new razor ad by Gillette, it's masculinity to blame.
Men are the problem.
They are the perpetrators of bullying, the driving force behind justifying women being raped through the statement 'boys will be boys', the reason domestic violence statistics are always so high, the reason women are supposedly limited in progressing through the corporate ladder and much much more.
I mean at least that's what the ad implied.
The ad appeared to state that masculinity is a violent, toxic overbearing problem.
It tried to imply that the biggest issue facing women today is the existence of men just doing what men do: wrestling as kids, giving each other a hard time, shaving, even existing.
But I am not afraid of men.
I am afraid of rapists.
I am afraid murders. .
I even spent most of my primary school years being afraid of other people bullying me.
These atrocities don't discriminate. They aren't gender based evils. They are actions taken by bad people, men and women alike.
Masculinity is not to blame for rape, evil PEOPLE are to blame for rape.
Masculinity is not to blame for bullying, evil PEOPLE are to blame for bullying.
And yet according to our society it's OK to paint 50% of the population as 'evil' because of a hormonal difference in their bodies.
This ad by Gillette is simply another piece in the puzzle that is this 'war' for equality except now women are utilising propaganda to further the 'agenda'.
As a woman, I am over it.
I will not stand by in silence as an ad dictates that although 'some men' are sticking up for women the rest are contributing to felonies simply by existing.
I will not stand in silence while an ad uses this as evidence of men being driven by their toxic masculinity:
That is not an example of toxic masculinity, that is an example of how even trash people can make it to the very top of the corporate ladder.
Because they can. Trying to make a claim that issues such as the one above will stop happening if all men realise how awful they are is nothing short of ignorance to the bigger problem.
You cannot teach children that bad people don't exist or worse that they are the bad people and society wants them to fix it.
After all, isn't that how the ad ended? A sweet message telling the next generation of boys that if something isn't done to stop them they'll probably all end up awful pieces of trash like the one shown above? Great message Gillette.
But in reality this isn't an ad for razors, this is another company jumping on the feminism band-wagon and vilifying men for while attempting to come off as "woke."
Except this time it's backfired. Apparently men are tired of being vilified for crimes they haven't committed.
Take a look at the like to dislike ratio. Almost double the people that liked the ad disliked it.
I can understand why.
This is not an example of men being angry over nothing as the media has attempted to portray. This is men standing up for themselves, refusing to be labelled as evil simply because of their gender.
Because men need help too.
Men are statistically far more likely to die in work-related accidents, are far more likely to go to prison, are far more likely to get involved or be affected by violent crimes, are more likely to commit suicide and don't get me started on the likeliness of men getting custody of their children in family court.
You want to fix societies problems? Don't blame 50% of the population for them.
All this ad truly achieves is adding fuel to the fire that is the division between men and women. We are more fearful of one another now than we have ever been before.
Show me the equality in attempting to slowly breed out the masculinity in men, for what? What does telling men they can't be men anymore actually achieve for the progression of equality?
You cannot tell society that in order for us to be equal men must lose primary aspects of what makes them men so that women can prosper.
I don't want that.
I don't want to walk around in an environment where men are scared of what I could do.
Equality is realising both men and women are facing terrible problems. Acknowledging these problems, treating them as of equal significance and then working together to tackle them.
Equality is not blaming men for the problems that affect women and then telling men that they not only need to fix their own problems but that they also need to fix ours.
That's not fair or right or just. That is dominance and it needs to stop.
But so long as ads such as this one continue to be approved and released equality will not occur, because no man wants to feel shamed into silence.
No man should have to wake up everyday and feel guilty for being a man.
I stand for equality and fairness and so I too #StandWithMen
You want equality?
End the vilifying of men and start vilifying rapists, murderers and assholes, then see where we are at as a society.
1. Australian Human Rights Commission, Face the facts: Gender Equality 2018, (2018), https://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/face-facts/face-facts-gender-equality-2018#fnB22
2. Parliament of Australia, The gender composition of the 45th parliament, (2016), https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/FlagPost/2016/August/The_gender_composition_of_the_45th_parliament
3. SAMSSA, How many men are sexually assaulted, (2019), http://www.samssa.org.au/resources/surviving-adult-sexual-assault/how-many-men-are-sexually-assaulted.aspx
4. Foreman, B. (1982). Reported Male Rape, Victimology: An International Journal, 7, 235-236.