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In response to the much-talked about Gillette commercial that took direct aim at “toxic masculinity,” and the kinds of “boys will be boys” rationales that often follow bad behavior, a watch manufacturer has released an online advertisement on YouTube designed to counter its message.

Ilan Srulovic, founder of the Egard Watch Company, designed the ad to ask, "What is a man?” His answer comes in the form of a series of statistics, such as, “Men account for 93% of workplace fatalities,” “75% of single homeless people are men,” and that “men make up 79% of homicide victims” and that “nearly half of fathers denied visitation rights to their children still financially support their children.”

“There’s been a movement in society I feel that’s just been painting men with a broad brush,” Srulovicz told “Fox & Friends,” adding, “I just don’t feel like masculinity is toxic … I think masculinity can be beautiful.”

You can see the commercial at left.
KC's View:
I bring this up not just because I ran the Gillette ad last week with some supportive commentary, and I thought, in all fairness, I should run this one.

But after I made that decision, I got an email from an MNB reader who identified himself as James S. Woods, saying:

I will buy these watches….and no longer Gillette products.

I am not a toxic male and will not be lectured by Social Justice Warriors or Social Justice Companies….or you.

(I thought the James Woods name was a nice touch, since I pointed out in my original story that “semi-celebrities such as Piers Morgan and James Woods have threatened to change their brand of razors,” and that Morgan wrote online that Gillette “now wants every man to take one of their razors & cut off his testicles.” I also suggested that “when you start taking masculinity cues from Piers Morgan and James Woods, it is time to start re-evaluating your life.” I checked, by the way, and not surprisingly, James S. Woods probably isn’t the actor, since his middle name is Howard. But, as I say, a nice touch.)

Let’s be clear about something. When Gillette produced its ad, it had to be with the hope that by taking a stand that a) was relevant and b) would be seen as positive by a majority of consumers, it would sell more razors.

And now, by producing an opposing ad, the Egard Watch Company is hoping that it will be a) seen as relevant by potential and existing customers, and b) supportive of a position that many of them will hold. And yes, maybe sell some more watches.

Well, we know they’re going to sell at least one … to our friend James S. Woods. Not to me, though … but mostly because I think the Egard watches are kind of ugly. But that’s just a matter of personal taste.

I have no problem with the Egard ad … and in fact, except for timing, it could serve as a kind of bookend to the Gillette ad … because they both are rooted in accuracy, just showing different sides of the same coin.

I’d like to believe there are a lot more good and decent men out there than men guilty of the transgressions pointed out in the Gillette commercial. I’d like to believe that I’m one of them, but I’m not offended by what Gillette was saying … rather, I’m offended by the men who give the world “masculinity” a bad connotation. Which is why I’m okay with what the Egard folks have to say.

I’m not okay, however, with the idea that we should ignore or minimize the damage that bad men do. Ignoring toxic masculinity does nobody any good - these people need to be called out and shamed, as much as good men with good hearts should be celebrated.

It strikes me as a moral and ethical lapse to ignore or marginalize the damage that some men do, simply because they feel empowered because of their gender. Doesn’t acknowledging these men and their activities, and society’s acceptance of them, make us a stronger culture? I certainly don’t think it makes us weaker.

Maybe that’s a lecture. I’d prefer to think of it as a well-reasoned opinion.