However, saying such comments can cause hysterical reactions such as .......
- Really?!? "Intolerant social justice warriors"? Are they too intolerant of neo-Nazis? "Which is better or worse" how can you even group them together..? !? !
Toxic femininity is not the same thing as simple “sexism,” but sexism and toxic femininity are certainly partners in crime. Sexism says that a woman is too frail or docile to play a contact sport; toxic femininity says that you don’t want to play football anyway, sweetie, you would look horrible and sweaty in the helmet and pads. Sexism is focused on robbing women of status and rights; toxic femininity is about defining womanhood so shallowly that a woman feels de-gendered by basic human acts or neutral preferences. Both factors lead to women being compressed into impossibly tight, uncomfortable shapes. One is the carrot and the other is the stick.and more
I received a lot of toxic-femininity-based advice as a child and teen. I was told that not wanting to have children made me unacceptably unfeminine. Classmates said that my voice was unsuitably low and, worse, that I used it in a masculine way: I sang like a boy, and I declared things with flat confidence. I didn’t care about makeup throughout my middle school and high school years until some particularly vicious acne started to rear its head and I embraced powders and creams as a way to cover it up. I didn’t carry a purse.
People worked very hard to remedy these things for me. Friends gave me late-night makeovers that made me cry, parents and grandparents gifted me with handbags and bottles of beige stuff, peers looked deep into my purple under-eye circles and asked me why I had them. They were all trying to help, dispensing practical advice for how to win in a system that ought to have been dismantled rather than gamed.
It was all toxic femininity. It was a cultural disease. It was nobody’s fault. And everyone around me suffered from it too.
Do you know who isn’t taking to Twitter to complain about the Gillette ad? Those of us who have been bullied, beat up, and sexually victimized. When I watched the ad, I didn’t see tanks gathering at the border of masculinity. I saw myself, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes.
When a distraught young boy is shown being held protectively by his mother with text bubbles that read “Sissy” and “Everyone hates you” surrounding them, I was transported back to my high school track team, which I eventually abandoned because I was tired of being called “faggot” and “queer.”
When a teenager is shown running from a pack of boys who eventually catch him and begin beating him, I flashed back to a pack of junior high bullies who slowly started tormenting me with spitballs and eventually worked their way up to punching me in the back of the head whenever they walked past me.
In the eighth grade, I skipped school for three weeks, not because I didn’t like my classes, but because I was scared of the bullies and too ashamed to talk to anyone about it. I have wonderful parents, but I didn’t want to feel as if I was letting them down. I kept quiet.
Many of the hundreds of thousands of complaints against “The Best a Man Can Be” come from men who feel that the ad, which was directed by a woman, paints all men as bullies, sexist, or predators. I’m not an advertising expert, but it’s clear to me this ad isn’t calling you names. It’s asking you to be an example to your children by not calling other people names. This ad is not trying to emasculate you; it’s asking you to treat people with respect.
I do have one gripe with the ad. I wish it had debuted during the 1989 Super Bowl rather than the original “The Best a Man Can Get” ad, which was a halcyon vision of sweaty feats of athleticism, featuring Wall Street bros with women as arm candy and father-son bonding. If the younger, more timid 1989 version of me had seen the new ad, perhaps I would have spoken up. Maybe I would have fought back or been able to help a close friend who was bullied to the point of suicide.
I can’t turn back time, so instead I’ll defend Gillette against the naysayers who are somehow offended by its positive message. This soy boy is no longer afraid.