Together they represent a new masculinity, one that’s sensitive, thoughtful, creative and unafraid to be who they are.”
Masculinity has certainly been the word of the week. Gillette razor-makers repurposed their famous slogan ‘The Best A Man Can Get’ to put out this ad challenging sexism.
It took some flak for portraying men in a negative light, but the 16-year-old (male) ballet and tap dancer we asked about it took one look and said, “Huh, high time.” Not because men overall are shown in a negative way, but because there is some behaviour “that could be improved,” he said.
“Probably my peers are the group that’s most at fault here because things that seem like just a bit of a joke can get out of hand.” Do the girls call the boys out on it? “Sometimes they do; usually they ignore it or go and cry in the bathroom. I haven’t actually put a stop to anything, but I think an ad like this is useful.”
As a little boy doing ballet, he himself was subjected to “lots of pink-and-frill jokes. Now I find there’s more weirdness around men being dancers at all than taking ballet classes. I’ve got one classmate who still doesn’t know I dance. He says men ‘shouldn’t be dancers.’ I just laugh to myself.”
A Spanish business owner in her forties said she found the Gillette campaign “valiente” (courageous). She winced at the 30-second point (boardroom vignette), saying, “I have girl friends telling me about this kind of thing all the time.”
Her (male) business partner crushed the notion that the ad shows men in a negative light. “No, there are all kind of guys there, some of them stopping the bad behaviours. I think it’s an optimistic ad. I like it.”
Practically alongside the Gillette ad’s appearance, 24-year-old pop star Harry Styles (formerly of One Direction) interviewed hot young actor Timothée Chalamet (‘Call Me By My Name’, ‘Beautiful Boy’) for this broad-ranging piece in Vice and i-D.
Like our teenage dancer, Styles grew up with a mother and sister. “I think there’s so much masculinity in being vulnerable and allowing yourself to be feminine,” he says, in the segment where he and Chalamet (referred to in the intro at the top of this blog) discuss modern masculinity.
“I would be so thrilled to know that the roles I’m playing are instigating change in some way,” says Chalamet, 23, on that topic.