An Open Letter To Men Irreparably Traumatized By The Recent Gillette Ad
Dear Manosphere (and Piers Morgan):
It has come to our attention that you are extremely distraught over a recent ad from a razor company. An ad that encouraged you to take said razors and slice off your own testicles with them so that you will be better suited to live in modern society and delight us all as members of a castrati choir. An advertisement that demanded you be "weak, spineless, sobbing wrecks" instead of the manly men you were meant to be. An advertisement that demanded you wear pink all of the time whether it goes with your complexion or not. An advertisement that chastised you for historically fighting in wars started by other dudes.
An advertisement about hating men (white men in particular) that declared barbecuing to be evil and toxic.
An advertisement about how it will soon be illegal to even have a penis.
Now, I've looked and looked and looked and I cannot find this advertisement you are talking about. All I can seem to find is this one, from Gillette, which merely suggests that it would probably be good if you didn't go around sexually harassing women, being shitty to them in meetings, letting your kids beat up other kids because "boys will be boys," or otherwise being assholes.
We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) youtu.be
You have also felt attacked by a recent guide published by the American Psychological Association that either, as Piers Morgan claims, "stated that male traits like 'stoicism', 'competitiveness', 'achievement', 'eschewal of the appearance of weakness', 'adventure', and 'risk' are bad and should be expunged," or discussed the ways in which some men might have issues negotiating who they are as an individual with cultural expectations of masculinity. Because that might be a thing some men might want to talk about in therapy, a place where people traditionally talk about things that have been a problem for them, personally.
Getting upset about "toxic masculinity" is like reading an article about alcoholism and taking it as an attack against all people who drink alcohol, or reading an article about treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and going "What? It's bad to be neat now? I'M A BAD PERSON BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE CLUTTER?" You can be neat. You can drink alcohol. And you can be as stereotypically manly in your life as you like -- unless it causes problems for you and others around you. No one is out there saying you cannot like "adventure," okay? But if you're only going on adventures because you feel the need to prove your masculinity that way, that's weird and maybe something you might want to work out with your therapist. Dig?
There is no reason to become weak, sobbing, spineless wrecks about this, fellas. It's a commercial and some psychological guidelines for therapists working with men who may have certain issues. If it doesn't apply to you, if you're doing okay, it's not about you! However, if you are Piers Morgan, if you are a participant in one of the many manosphere forums, if you are angrily commenting on YouTube that a razor company is trying to murder you for having big muscles or whatever -- it probably is about you. It probably is affecting your life and the lives of those around you. And you should seek help. For real.
This has been going on for a while now, and when I say it's been going on for a while now, I don't just mean since the term "toxic masculinity" was invented. I mean for pretty much all of recorded history. At least since Ancient Greece! There has yet to be a time when some men did not look back on previous generations and go "Now those were real men! Not like today, when all the men are total wusses!" Listen to the theme song of "All In The Family" if you don't believe me. Or watch this clip from Dark Victory in which Humphrey Bogart -- a manly man if there ever was one -- laments in a bad Irish accent that he was born too late, because he's a man's man and all he knows is fightin' and ridin' and actin' like women are just being melodramatic when they are trying to tell him they have a brain tumor.
Dark Victory (1939) - Humphrey Bogart - Bette Davis youtu.be
It would be super cool if we could all just move to a place where no one had to be anything in order to be a man or to be a woman, and we could all just be ourselves so long as ourselves were not assholes.
The proposition that people not be assholes is not a new one either. In fact, for many years, people even attended charm schools in order to learn things called "social graces." They learned how to introduce people to one another, and not chew with their mouths open, and maybe even learned that it is rude to yell "Hey sweet tits!" at a lady walking down the street. This only seems new if you are the kind of person who has never actually paid any attention at all to things that happened before you were born. If that is the case -- have you considered that you might not be the right person to lament the way things "used" to be?
I propose a deal to all of you. You can keep doing all the toxic masculinity you want, if that is what appeals to you. You just have to do it all by yourselves. In your own rooms. If it matters this much to you -- and it's clear that it does -- it should be something you are able to enjoy and delight in without annoying other people or needing them to react to you in the specific way that you find most pleasing. If you wish to say obnoxious things to a woman, make it a woman on TV who cannot hear you or your bullshit. Or like, find a woman and pay her to be interrupted by you and told to smile, if she consents to doing that, for money. Get a blow-up doll and tell it to make you a sandwich to your heart's content. There are myriad options here, whereby you can continue to be the worst and yet not have that affect anyone else's life. Go full MGTOW, if you will. Then you can commiserate on the internet with other weird men who don't think it's fair that they be expected to not be horrible, at which point I will make fun of you here on Wonkette.
Either that, or you could just not be assholes.
Love and light,
Robyn Pennacchia, Professional Mocker Of Men Who Suck
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse