Another Controversy Soon Forgotten

I feel like Eminem, responding to MGK.

Whether this ad is an attack on men at large. It is not. It is addressing the known issue of men abusing women through sexual harassment and assault, and men abusing men through bullying, and men being passive about these two issues.

Whether women are sexually harassed often. Judging by the experiences I have listened to, yes they are.

Whether this is surprising. Knowing the heart of Man, it is not.

Whether the #MeToo movement is a noble thing that has done much good in world, both in bringing to light the dark deeds of dark men, and in bringing hope and healing to the hearts of many women. Indeed, it is.

Whether men need to take responsibility and lead their sons and the ones around them. They do.

Whether it is good to be reminded of this. Always, it is.

Whether it is important to consider the truth of words given, whatever their source. It is. Humility demands it, and humility is founded upon the fallibility of every person. That is, all men can fall.

Whether the ad strictly says anything everyone does not agree on. No, it does not.

Whether the question of whether a razor company should lecture us is important. It is not. They will do what they will, and we are to do what we will. (With twinkling eye) though, it could be said that if we are uproariously upset by a mere commercial, than perhaps it is true that we have been emasculated.

Whether we ought to allow ourselves to be controlled by guilt trips. Of course, we ought to defend our liberty of conscience for our own sake, the sake of others, and the sake of Justice.

Whether the line between a guilt trip and an admonition is blurry. It is.

Whether a lecture from a razor company will stop rapists. This is called a straw man attack, and it is one of the less subtle fallacies.

Whether this ad was motivated by marketing. It was run by a corporation, therefore it must have been, and not in small part. “Virtue signaling” is the term to know, and the form it takes here is always worthy of suspicion.

Whether this ad was entirely motivated by greed. It was not, for humans are more complex than that, and we all know it.

Whether we know the hidden motivations of this ad. We do not. We can merely guess them.

Whether Gillette is hypocritical. Of course, they are. They point to this truth themselves in the commercial, but this confession is not thoroughly effective, as the extent of their historical sexualization of women is downplayed, which is an essential aspect of the masculinity they decry. Not to mention the pink tax on their women’s razors. (In sardonic voice) not to mention the problematic assumption that masculinity is linked to the male body, an idea thoroughly destroyed by Judith Halberstam.

Whether toxic masculinity exists. Of course, it does. Further, it is of course profoundly harmful to the individual, to the ones around him, and society at large.

Whether we agree upon the differences between toxic masculinity and healthy masculinity. We do not.

Whether healthy masculinity exists. It does, and is necessary to the good functioning of society.

Whether we agree upon what traditional masculinity is. We do not.

Whether healthy masculinity includes warrior-likeness, leadership, virtue, boldness, kindness, compassion, wisdom, strength, humility, love, peace, gentleness, guardianship, joy, patience, and self-control, among others. It most assuredly does.

Whether there should be talk of toxic femininity. Of course, there should be, for it is a great evil.

Whether this invalidates talk of toxic masculinity. Of course, it does not.

Whether this ad’s history is inextricably linked to the idea of identity politics, whose ideological roots are found in Marxism and class warfare (in this case, gender warfare), and is therefore entrenched in profound political debates. Undoubtedly, yes.

Whether a full discussion of this ad can be easily divorced from larger things such as the recent APA article on toxic masculinity. I say heartily, that it cannot.

Whether the outrage provoked by the ad stemmed from the ad or from the context in which the ad sits. The context in which the ad sits, namely, the phenomenon which has been termed a “war on masculinity.”

Whether “boys will be boys” is a useful phrase. It clearly depends on what this phrase is being applied to. It is not true that this phrase justifies rape, as it has been used in the past. It is true that this phrase helps remind us that testosterone is a normal and good part of men’s biology, and important to society.

Whether “boys will be boys” is usually said as an excuse for wrongdoing. It is.

Whether this ad is full of nuance. Clearly, it is.

Whether profound appreciation or outrage are equally to be expected. Indeed, they are.

Whether these differing responses should cause us to stop and listen to each other, and grow more unified in the process. Unquestionably so.

Whether we think we already know what the other side is thinking and why they reacted in the manner in which they did. In most cases, we do.

Whether we respect the reasons we imagined for the reactions of the other side. In most cases, we do not.

Whether we actually know why another person feels and thinks and behaves the way they do. Perhaps, but there is only one way to know for sure.

Whether this ad should have been controversial. It should not have been.

Whether this blogger is surprised this ad was controversial. He is not.

Whether this blogger is grieved by the needless controversy. He is.

Whether this blogger is in danger of pride and arrogance. He most certainly is.

Whether this blogger wants to think about this ad anymore. He does not.

Whether this blogger would rather listen to Rob Inglis’ narration of The Return of the King, borrowed from his local library. He would.

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