COLUMN: Cut it out with the ‘Not all men’ argument

Gillette commercial can be a watershed moment for self-improvement

Here is the problem with your, “Not all men argument” — it accomplishes nothing.

Recently, a tragically predictable backlash to a viral ad by Procter and Gamble for their men’s Gillette shaving projects has taken over yours and my social media feeds.

The overall message of the video speaks of pervasive toxic masculinity in our society that has led to bullying and sexual misconduct — only to name two of the many issues.

The hurt feelings over the ad have come from mostly males who feel the video unfairly targets males as aggressors and their dialogue has often included men’s rights activists and alt-right tropes like “virtue signalling”.

Here is the problem — using the excuse of, “Not all men” does nothing for victims and fails to recognize that toxic masculinity is poisoning our society for people of all genders.

The point of addressing problems with masculinity is not to accuse every male of being a sexual predator. The intent is to recognize that we have condoned bad behaviour from male culture by using old adages like, “Boys will be boys” and other systemic viewpoints that can ultimately lead to negative outcomes for everyone.

Here’s a hard truth, all men need to look inwards and think about the ways they have treated others in the past. If you come out of that personal exercise thinking you have always been a good person in every instance — then you are doing it wrong.

Humanity is not infallible and the only way to self-improvement is taking a humble approach to your own behaviour.

Although I am not a Christian or religious in any way, one of my favourite Christian lessons speaks of being humble in the eyes of the Lord.

In this light, it is time for all men to show some humility and support for those who have been mistreated in our society. This is important because the victims of toxic masculinity are not just marginalized groups but also include many perpetrators.

The video doesn’t accuse men, it says that we can all be better. This is patently true.

The “Not all men” argument is not useful because all men have played a part in propping up a system that has supported a brand of masculinity that has always had winners and losers.

I have been guilty of toxic masculinity and need to continually strive to correct my behaviour to support people. If you look into your past and assume you have done nothing ever to hurt another individual, than your pride has blocked you from looking hard enough.

Another lesson in life that I ponder on essentially states that pride comes before the fall.

Don’t let pride get in the way of us building a more compassionate society for everyone.



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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