By Carmen Schober
Well…the Gillette ad happened a few weeks and then the Covington smear, so that means I have to write about them.
(Rule #1 of Blogging: If a scandal is saturating the internet, you must write about it. If you want to be a better blogger than I am, you should write about it much sooner, but your increasingly bossy ten-month-old baby will make sure that doesn't happen.) So, many days late here’s my spicy take on the topic of toxic masculinity.
I’m not going to nitpick the details of the Gillette ad because there are plenty of pieces out there that explain why it’s dumb and just as many defending it. You can read those if you want to. My main issues with it are the same issues I have with most virtue-signaling, which are:
1. It seems disingenuous.
Does anyone actually believe that Gillette wanted to “spark a conversation” about masculinity? I’m doubtful. It seems far more likely that they wanted to go viral, sell razors, and get high fives from the woke crowd. And congrats guys, you did it. You’ve come a long way since plastering your brand on sexy butts.
2. It sneakily perpetuates the false message that “men are the problem.”
If you’re paying attention, then you’re hearing that message loud and clear. Skim the archives of HuffPost, CNN, The Daily Beast, and The New York Times, and you’ll find piece after piece after piece deriding men. Talk to women (and “allies”) on a college campus, and you’ll hear the same talking points over and over and over again about the evils of men. White straight men, in particular, through their contempt, is slowly making its way to white gay men and straight black men (because "progressivism" progressively destroys everything it touches.) And honestly?
I’m so tired of this.
I’m tired of the whole “this group good (women/minorities), this group bad (men/white people)” approach to life that's become widely accepted under the disguise of "social justice."
I’m tired of pretending like there’s a significant percentage of American men who actually believe that “being a man” means being an asshole.
I’m also tired of trying to work out the mental gymnastics it takes to believe that American women are helpless, oppressed victims of the patriarchy when we are, on average, more educated, have more political representation than ever, earn the same pay or more for the same job and hours worked, and have the same rights as men in the U.S. and many more than people all over the world.
Most of all, I’m tired of people who claim to be interested in "justice” lumping together entire races and sexes as villains and heroes. If you truly believe that white people deserve to be treated wrongly because they're white, or that men are inferior to women, then you are a racist and a sexist. And if you feel extreme dislike, disgust, or ill will towards someone because of some superficial quality (like their skin color or genitalia), then you are full of irrational hatred (like these people.) Yes, you can rationalize your racism, sexism, and hatred with feminist, intersectionalist, Marxist ramblings, but in the end, all you’ve done is make a fancy word salad to justify your bigotry.
Here’s the reality: It’s not about white men. It’s about everyone.
Everyone’s a little bit toxic. I am, and so are you. Both sexes are toxic. There are toxic parents and toxic kids. There are toxic teachers, toxic advertisers, toxic journalists, toxic politicians, toxic neighbors, and toxic friends. There are people who make toxic music, toxic movies, toxic art, toxic media, and spread toxic ideas. Sure, some people are more toxic than others, but is there really anybody out there bold enough to claim that their actions are always motivated by the purest of intentions and their existence radiates goodness at all times?
Nope. Even the most “socially-conscious” among us spread toxicity. They just do it under the guise of caring about justice. Consider this:
If it upsets you that a white teenager smirked at a Native American man, but you don't mind that a group of Black Hebrew Israelites (classified as racist terrorists by the SPLC) were calling kids racist and homophobic slurs...do you really care that much about racism and homophobia?
If it angers you to see a group of smug-looking young men in a video, but you're not horrified that droves of influential people used public platforms to call for their deaths...do you really care that much about harassment and inciting violence?
And if you think white men are fair game for unjust behavior because of their skin color and sex...are you not perpetuating a toxic mindset that will only lead to more toxic behavior?
Instead of making excuses for your particular brand of toxicity, let’s just acknowledge that everyone is toxic. Even marginalized people and the people who claim to care about them. Even victims of injustice (who, by the way, can come in both sexes, all skin colors, and every economic class.) Everyone.
That's why Gillette’s ad falls flat, as does pretty much any approach to social justice that insists on slippery standards for different groups based on their sex, race, and class. Alternatively, the Biblical take on equality, which is that all people are toxic enough to be damned but loved enough to be saved, offers a much more compelling approach to justice and forgiveness. The visionary Christian minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood the path to true justice, which is not virtue-signaling or warping public perception to vilify one group and victimize another. It is understanding the universal depth of sin and fighting back with love. He said: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars...Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
I’m not concerned about toxic masculinity. I am, however, deeply concerned about toxic humanity. Specifically, I’m concerned about our seemingly unshakeable tendency to vilify the “other,” whoever that other may be. Today, social justice warriors do it in the name of “love trumping hate,” and I’m not sure if there is a more laughably ironic statement given their behavior towards those who oppose them. If love is ever going to trump hate, you actually have to stop hating -- and that includes those who you think are your enemies.
Photo courtesy of:
Sources (in order)