The internet has been buzzing for the last few days over a new advertisement from Gillette. As of the writing of this post, “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be” has been viewed millions of times on YouTube. There is a huge backlash happening against Gillette for the message this video shares. On YouTube, the majority of comments have been negative. If you haven’t watched the video yet – here it is:
Are people right to be upset with Gillette? Is the backlash justified? I won’t entertain all the critical comments others have made already – you can find those online. For twenty three years, the organization I work for – Promise Keepers Canada – has been focused on helping and supporting men. The message in this video is not new. I am glad our culture is having a broader discussion about the state of men and masculinity. Here are four thoughts to consider in response to the Gillette video.
1. Men Do Damage Lives
I have read so many comments online talking about how this video is feminist propaganda and paints every man as a sex addict. Take a step back from your emotional reaction to a video and understand something – statistically men are doing a lot of damage to people. Fatherless families are more likely to face poverty and severe emotional challenges. There are numerous studies to show how pornography changes the way men relate with women and how lives are ruined by the use of porn. The most common users of pornography are … men. Sexual abuse is most often perpetrated by men.
In my world, I see the incredible destruction men can cause. Even some men reading this article will know they have done some things that have brought a lot of pain to others. This video is courageous enough to acknowledge the reality of what is going on in our society.
2. There Are Good Men
Fortunately, there are many good men in the world. There are men who are focused on being a great husband, father, and worker. In Canada, dads are statistically spending more time with their kids than ever before. There are men who have decided that porn harms women and children in multiple ways and so they avoid it. Men are mentoring others, bringing hope to broken lives, and protecting the innocent.
From a Christian perspective, God designed men to use their strength and masculinity to serve and bring life to other people. A godly man sacrifices himself for the good and well being of others. This video reminds us there are good men in the world and we need to believe there is a higher standard we can call men to live.
3. Accountability Matters
One of the ways the video shows us there are some good men in this world is the way men hold each other accountable for their actions. We too often laugh at the joke we know is inappropriate, or stay silent when we know a man is bringing harm to others. Men can help each other become their very best by speaking out and holding each other accountable. In fact, this idea comes from a book many have said is out of date – the Bible. Proverbs 27:17 teaches we can sharpen each other in the same way iron sharpens iron.
4. Fatherhood Matters
Perhaps my favourite part of the video is the message of how important the influence of a father is. If you are a father, you have a responsibility to model for your children what it means to be a great man. You also have an opportunity to shape what future generations of men will be like. Are you shaping your sons to bring life to others or bring destruction? Will they protect the broken and abused or will they contribute to even greater levels of brokenness?
I am so grateful for the men who are seeking to be great fathers. As a dad, no matter what age your children are, your influence matters. I wrote about this in my book “The Seasons of Fatherhood.”
Society too often downplays the importance and value of gender while still trying to call out “toxic masculinity.” You can’t have it both ways. If you want men to be the best they can be, you have to give men a vision of what it means to be a man. Downplaying gender does not help. If you want men to be the best they can be, you have to encourage, equip, and support them to become this man.
I know I’m not always a great man. I know there is room for the best to still come out. My guess is you know the same thing about your life. Here are some principles to give us hope and a path forward.
- Jesus gives us hope that our past actions can be forgiven and we can have the opportunity to write a new story.
- Jesus is a perfect model for what it looks like to be the best a man can get. When we want to learn how to be a great man, look to Him.
- Begin or keep training yourself to be the best man you can be. It doesn’t just happen – it takes work. Our families, communities, and workplaces need you. A great place to start is to begin accessing some of the tools and resources available from Promise Keepers Canada. Supporting men to be the best they can be is what we do.