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Thank you, Gillette

The+Gillette+advertisement+features+footage+of+men+at+a+grill%2C+repeating+the+words+%E2%80%9Cboys+will+be+boys.%E2%80%9D+This+mantra+is+frequently+used+to+justify+the+sometimes+inappropriate+actions+of+young+men+and+boys.
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Thank you, Gillette

The Gillette advertisement features footage of men at a grill, repeating the words “boys will be boys.” This mantra is frequently used to justify the sometimes inappropriate actions of young men and boys.

The Gillette advertisement features footage of men at a grill, repeating the words “boys will be boys.” This mantra is frequently used to justify the sometimes inappropriate actions of young men and boys.

Courtesy Gilette

The Gillette advertisement features footage of men at a grill, repeating the words “boys will be boys.” This mantra is frequently used to justify the sometimes inappropriate actions of young men and boys.

Courtesy Gilette

Courtesy Gilette

The Gillette advertisement features footage of men at a grill, repeating the words “boys will be boys.” This mantra is frequently used to justify the sometimes inappropriate actions of young men and boys.

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Two girls walk under the rolling autumn sky, the breeze whipping hair around their heads. Laughing, they notice a car full of boys approaching them. One of them pops his head out of the window.
“Hey ladies,” he jeers and winks.

The girls continue on, heads down and red-faced. When they sense the situation has passed, one shakes her head and laughs of embarrassment and anger. They hasten their pace, eager to be back in the comfort of their homes.

But the sound of a car startles them out of their stupor. Heart rates quicken. The same group of boys are back, yelling again.
Then, womanly instincts kick in. Eyes on the ground, up flies the middle finger. Wait for them to pass.
Shame.

This is a situation all too familiar to most women, and some men, too. But it shouldn’t be like this. It doesn’t have to be.
Far too often in our society, expectations of “boys will be boys” perpetuate a culture of toxic masculinity that negatively impacts both women and men. Toxic masculinity is the negative expectation that society bestows upon men, defining manliness with things such as “violence, sex, status and aggression,” as said by Teaching Tolerance. Oftentimes, it is overlooked, but in the era of #MeToo, conversations about this have become more frequent.

The most recent conversation starter about toxic masculinity in the United States is the Gillette ad. Featuring rolling news coverage of sexual assault and men dismissing women in positions of power, it paints a picture of how life is most of the time.

The boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow.”

— Gillette Advertisement

In the United States, one in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When you Google the word “mansplain,” over 1,420,000 results appear in less than a second.

But these statistics do not mean in any way that all men are bad, or that all men act this way. They do, however, show that gender inequality is still a major aspect of life in the United States, and toxic masculinity can often be found at its roots.

Oftentimes, though, change can happen on a small scale before the rest of society catches on. Like in the Gillette commercial, about halfway through, the ad paints a picture of how life can, and should, be. Men start holding their friends accountable. Fathers start teaching their sons.
If one of the boys in the car on that fall day had seen the Gillette commercial, or had his father set an example of respecting women, or his friend had not encouraged him on, he might have not felt empowered to degrade women. He might have kept his head inside the car, and proceeded on.

He definitely would have saved two girls embarrassment, shame and fear that still occupy a corner of their brains today.
And although one commercial cannot change an entire society, and is most likely just trying to sell more razors, it can illuminate the less than perfect aspects of it. It can start conversations, and provide an example. Like the ad says, “the boys watching today, will be the men of tomorrow.”

All views shared in the Opinions section of The Chatterbox belong to their respective authors, and may not represent the views of the publication as a whole.

About the Writer
Isabel Nissley, Opinions Section Editor

Opinions Section Editor

In her third year as a Chatterbox staff member, Isabel Nissley is ecstatic to work as the section editor of Opinions. She hopes...

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Thank you, Gillette