What is the meaning of toxic masculinity, and why did Gillette fail so badly with it’s ad campaign? After hearing the news I felt the need to try and understand and explain this, and the motivations of Gillette a little bit more. I also want to point out why this idea of toxic masculinity is mostly complete nonsense.
Gillette has reportedly lost $8 billion in sales after their idiotic advert, that was released earlier in the year. Negativity generalizing your customer base, turns out, is not a good business move. Who would of thought!?
What’s Toxic Masculinity?
Toxic masculinity refers to a type of limiting, even harmful aggressive masculine behaviour, which is believed to be culturally or socially taught to men. It’s believed to be partly the result of conformity, reinforced by masculine stereotypes or social norms.
There are a few legitimate points to this, however those who support this cause get more wrong than right. For example it attributes and links play fighting to violence and anti social behaviour. It also suggests these supposedly taught toxic masculinity norms encourage suppression of emotions, and also links suppression of emotions to mental health issues among men, including depression and various personality disorders.
They Are Wrong!
Play fighting among boys (play) is actually a vital part of development, they learn from it, and it helps to form bonds with others. Most of the social scientists don’t agree that there is a connection between play fighting and aggressive or antisocial behaviour. If play fighting is the result of male stereotypical influences, then why do animals also play fight? Even Rats play fight, as was discovered by Jaak Penkseep (neuroscientist) who discovered a play circuit in rats, in other words, the desire to play is embedded into the rats biology. Humans desire to play is also believed to be biologically built into us.
There is also very little evidence that supports the idea that mental health issues in men is caused by suppression of emotions. This idea largely comes from those that don’t acknowledge the biological temperament differences between men and women. If they don’t acknowledge that, they’re ignoring some of the most dominate findings in psychology and social science.
The roles of men and women are very different when it comes to social status and hierarchies. One of the biggest reasons for the rise of mental health issues in men, plus violent crime is the inability to climb up the status hierarchy, due to its steepness, which provides a lack of career and relationship opportunities for some men. Serotonin levels are directly linked to a persons position or rank in the status hierarchy. The lower the status, the lower those serotonin levels will go, which is a big cause of depression in men.
Another big cause of antisocial behaviour in young men is the absence of a father. So the claim is that young men develop toxic masculinity, partially learned from other men, including their father. Yet the evidence suggests, fatherlessness is one of the biggest causes of criminality in young men.
The Gillette campaign was based on ideas that are not supported by the vast majority of social scientists. So not only did they alienate a huge portion of their consumer base, they also did it based on ideas that are not supported by the vast majority of the research and literature on the subject.
They listened to radical leftists and social justice warriors who aren’t experts in the field, and they paid a heavy price for it, $8 billion in fact.