When US TV host Graham Allen saw the viral Gillette ad on his screen, he was far from impressed.
The #MeToo-inspired campaign, which first aired during the Super Bowl, famously tackles toxic masculinity by encouraging men to “be the best they can be”.
But while countless people around the world support the ad’s important, touching message, it has also sparked widespread backlash, with many men claiming it unfairly tarred “all men” with the same brush.
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Graham Allen, who hosts the Blaze TV program Rant Nation, is one of those men — and he decided to hit back at the razor company by arming himself and his two sons with guns to make a statement.
He shared the confronting family photo on Facebook recently, with the caption: “Practising our ‘toxic masculinity’ … Hey Gillette does this offend you?! I’ll raise my kids the way I believe they should be … thanks for your advice.”
Unsurprisingly, Mr Allen’s family photo also went viral along with the original clip — but most Facebook users were keen to point out the glaring problems with his stance.
Dozens claimed the original Gillette ad had nothing to do with guns in the first place, and so Mr Allen’s argument was moot.
Others said Mr Allen’s decision to arm his two sons while his daughter posed empty-handed alongside them proved the point Gillette was trying to make.
“I like Graham, but this isn’t what Gillette was getting at. Toxic masculinity has nothing to do with guns. It has to do with the fact that some men try to hold power over their SO (significant other) simply because they are ‘man of the house’ …” Facebook user Mary Kathryn Calles posted, while Justin Haight added: “Specifically not putting a gun in her hand because she is a girl is the definition of what that commercial was about.”
And many more labelled the post “stupid”, claiming it was an extreme reaction to a simple message to treat others with respect and basic decency.
“The adult response to someone saying ‘hey be nice’ is ‘okay’ not ‘arm the children’,” Facebook user Tiffany Dawn wrote, while Piper Jaqua posted: “So sorry you’re triggered by an ad telling you to be a decent human.”
“I’m sorry but this is so stupid … That commercial was about raising boys to not be bullies and sexually harass women…..Said nothing about hillbillies and guns,” Lindsey Adcox added.
Mr Allen’s photo has attracted moire than 100,000 likes, as well as tens of thousands of shares and comments.
The Gillette video, titled We Believe: The Best Men Can Be, features moving examples of bullying, mansplaining, catcalling and sexual harassment and other common examples of aggressive behaviour before calling on men to take a stand and lead the next generation by setting a good example.
But it has proved to be hugely divisive, attracting 25,912,883 views on YouTube — but 1.2 million “down votes”.
Many have even called for a boycott of Gillette products in general in response.
“Bullying. Harassment. Is this the best a man can get? It’s only by challenging ourselves to do more, that we can get closer to our best. To say the right thing, to act the right way,” the company has stated in response to the commercial.
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