Two weeks ago, the company famous for brands like Crest and Old Spice released a new commercial for their Gillette razors. Most shaving commercials are all the same. Steamy bathrooms, attractive faces, and cheesy graphics explaining how a blade works. But not this commercial. This one was different.
Gillette used their ad to take a stand against what they considered a serious problem in America: masculinity. Imagine that. A company making millions off of hairy men, attacking manhood! Watch the commercial below:
Debates over gender roles consume American culture. Shows like Modern Family and The Handmaid’s Tale attempt to redefine what it means to be men and women. Regardless of whether more people bought Gillette razors, (probably not) the commercial still gained national attention. News segments and radio shows continue to either attack or defend its message.
So how should the Church respond? How should Christians talk about it with their relatives and neighbors? How should they talk about it on Facebook? Should all Christians swear off shaving forever? Should churches be full of hairy faces and fuzzy legs?
Here are three things for Christians to keep in mind:
1. The Commercial Doesn’t Attack Manhood, it Redefines It
The Gillette commercial did more than just attack masculinity. It redefined it. What does it mean to be a man? According to Gillette, it means hurting, demeaning, and abusing others. But that’s not manhood. It never was.
Not enough Christians and non-Christians fulfill God’s definition of manhood. It’s easy to point to Scripture to show what God says. But the world doesn't defines manhood by what they see in the Bible, they define it by what they see in men. For every person who defends the Gillette ad, there’s an ex-boyfriend, step-dad, or colleague who acted the same way they see men acting in the commercial. Christians should recognize that. It’s easy to defend manhood when surrounded by positive examples of masculinity. Not everyone shares that reality. Be gentle towards those who defend the ad. It may result from a history of hurt.
Not everyone reads the Bible, but everyone has people in their life that shape their perception of men. If you are a man reading this, you are one of those people. Share biblical truth by showing biblical truth. Make sure you are displaying an accurate definition of manhood.
2. Don’t Defend the Actions Shown in the Commercial
Gillette thought they were dealing with masculinity. But really, they were dealing with sin. The commercial didn’t show manliness. It showed lust, anger, disrespect, and cruelty. These are all traits exhibited by both men and women in different ways. Christians may believe that by criticizing the Gillette ad they are defending manhood. But to non-Christians it doesn’t look that. To non-Christians, it just looks like Christians are defending sin.
In conversations with friends and coworkers, don’t make little of what the commercial portrays. Sin is sin. Whether done by men or women. Young or old. Evil cannot be tolerated. No one should brush it aside by saying “boys will be boys.” Wrestling, rough-housing, and horseplay can be good for boys. That does not mean men or boys should react upon their anger by harming others. In the ad, when the man at his grill breaks up the fight between the boys, it’s assumed that the fight was in anger—not fun. Dealing with personal hurt by inflicting hurt on others shows weakness—not strength.
Christians should defend Biblical manhood. A good way to do that is to point out that the actions shown in the commercial are not just man problems, but people problems. The issue is not manhood or womanhood. The issue is “human-hood.“ The issue is sin. Never defend manhood by defending the sin men commit.
3. Defend Biblical Manhood by Exemplifying It
The world should celebrate manhood for the same it reason it should celebrate womanhood. God made men and women in His image. Attacking either manhood or womanhood means attacking part of God’s image. The Lord made both distinctly, and the world should celebrate those distinctions, not condemn them. Women should not be more like men, and men should not be more like women. But both men and women should be more like Jesus.
The world says masculinity is toxic. Under that mindset, one would imagine that homes and communities without adult male figures would do better. But they don’t do better. They do worse. Statistics universally show that children without a father figure suffer in school and are more likely to commit a crime. The world doesn’t need less manhood. It needs more of it. If you are a man, fulfill that need.
Every fifteen minutes, a new video hits the internet that invites people to become outraged. Sometimes it’s called for. Other times it‘s not. The Gillette ad is one of those topics that everyone will discuss for a few weeks and then forget. But while it’s still relevant, do more than just post an angry Facebook status. Love those who may have suffered from men not acting like men. Then, if you are a man, act like a man yourself.
The world needs men—not the kind of men shown on TV or in magazines, but the kind of men as described by God in Scripture. The world needs men who respect women. It needs men who love their children. It needs men who serve others, protect others, and defend others. It needs men who act like Jesus.
Resting in Him,