America’s government remains shut down, Britain is in crisis over the Brexit saga and Australia is in the grips of a relentless heatwave.
But the issue gripping the world this week, prompting an outpouring of anger and calls for a boycott of a men’s grooming brand, is a new advertising campaign.
Gillette released a two-minute video on Tuesday surrounding the contentious topic of ‘toxic masculinity’, calling for men to be the best they can be.
The clip, attacked by male rights activists, media commentators and even a Hollywood actor, encourages men to shrug off expectations of manhood, from not showing emotion to being aggressive or violent.
A number of people are unhappy and have taken to social media in recent days.
British journalist Piers Morgan responded with anger, saying the ad made a generalisation that all men are bad, and led calls for a boycott of Gillette shaving products.
“I’ve used Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity,” Morgan wrote.
“Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men.”
On Good Morning Britain this week, he said the only people who would enjoy the ad were likely to be “radical feminists who love it because it portrays men as bad”.
Morgan’s fierce criticism prompted a wave of social media declarations from the company’s customers that they would discontinue purchasing their razors, with some even videoing and photographing themselves destroying their shavers.
“It’s hideous, ridiculous and disgusting,” one user wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “Gillette will never receive a damn cent from me. Absolutely dead to me as a company.”
It was one of thousands of angry responses.
One man even snapped himself attempting to flush his razor down the toilet, while another smashed his in a kitchen sink disposal unit.
Conservative commentator Paul Joseph Watson accused Gillette of “insulting most of your customers by insinuating they’re all would-be sexual abusers (and) creeps.”
The actor James Wood also attacked Gillette’s ad, saying: “Is there a razor blade company that sells razor blades? Just sells them and shuts up about any other nonsense. Just sells the damn razor blades?”
And closer to home, Newtown fire station in Sydney copped backlash for its sign board yesterday, which read: “House fires are toxic our masculinity isn’t.”
In a column in The Australian today, commentator Bettina Arndt said masculinity had been “condemned to death by 1000 cuts”, and called on the “silent majority” to stand up against the “constant demonisation of men”.
Sydney journalist Bridie Jabour shared some of the abuse she received, including offensive remarks about her toddler, after commenting on the advertisement during an appearance on The Drum yesterday.
One especially offended man labelled her a “militant feminist” and, on a picture of her family, described her young son as a “terrorist child”.
The official YouTube clip has been viewed more than 14 million times, with 726,000 downvotes far outnumbering the 345,000 upvotes received.
In a statement, Gillette said it wanted to present an “aspirational” statement for men, many of whom might feel they are “not at their best” lately.
“While it is clear that changes are needed, where and how we can start to affect that change is less obvious for many,” the company said.
“Our tagline needs to continue to inspire us all to be better every day, and to help create a new standard for boys to admire and for men to achieve,” the statement read.
Some of the responses have included violent, abusive or homophobic comments, which supporters of the ad say highlights the need for it.