The Gillette commercial has divided opinion and provoked boycotts of the firm by some men. Is it really that offensive or just a sign of toxic masculinity which men keep on denying?

Toxic masculinity. You’re already so tired of reading and re-reading this phrase in every feminist piece of writing, right? Well, that’s good. People should make themselves aware of one of the main causes behind women getting killed, raped and mutilated every year.

The Gillette ad, which has been in the news recently talks about toxic masculinity. The advertisement features news clips of the #MeToo movement, as well as images showing sexism in films, in boardrooms, and of violence between boys and asking men in the end, “Is this the best a man can get?” The way men reacted to it talks lengths about the very prevalence of toxic masculinity in the society. Who knew that a shaving ad which is asking men to hold each other accountable could provoke such a negative backlash?

What are men exactly complaining about? They believe that the advertisement emasculates men. Others are screaming, asking to leave men alone and not jump in the “Men are trash” bandwagon. There are a few who are stating that it’s a marketing strategy by the company to monetise the #MeToo movement and basically, cater to an audience which is self-aware and demand that corporations take a stand on social issues.

Do you see the problem here? Why do I have a feeling that the men that are offended over this ad are the very men responsible for the things that they are being called out for? How can being asked to not sexually harass women on the streets threaten you and your manhood so much as to boycott the company whose products define your manliness? Is it too feminine for you to not be violent? Well, boys will be boys, right?

Of course, there are men who’re doing their best to make this world a better place. Even the advertisement is not denying this. Nobody expects men to let go of their presuppositions and their deeply embedded, social conditioning which time and again, makes them think that they possess more power and privilege over others, overnight. It takes time, but small steps are necessary in this direction. Educating yourself and listening to the women in your life is one such step.

It was time that somebody talked about it, publicly. Yes, this was an advertisement by Gillette to sell its products but it did start a conversation around positive masculinity. The world is paying attention, and so are you. Isn’t that the reason why you’re reading this article? Well, now you’re thinking about it and maybe giving a thought or two about your own skewered, toxic masculinity and Gillette’s shaving blade too. Mission accomplished.

Feature Image credits- Paste Magazine

Disha Saxena
[email protected]

On 23rd of October, 2003 , a certain Mark Zuckerberg while trying to get over his ex girlfriend came up with Facemash, an internal website for students of Harvard University. 5 Years later, Zuckerberg’s creation revolutionized the way we all communicate with one another. Yes, we’re talking about Facebook. Initially only for students of various universities in the United States, Facebook is now used by people of all age groups and from all every corner of the globe.

If Harvard is proud of Zuckerberg, then DU too has a reason to be proud. Honey Arora, a technical expert has started www.networkdu.com , Delhi University’s first ever social networking website.

From connecting with old friends, watching videos or listening to music, to conducting polls and being part of groups and discussions, networkDU has it all. It is well and truly a website for students and by students. In her address to Higher Education India, Arora explains that besides providing entertainment and networking, the site also aims to help students with placements, internships and scholarships. NetworkDU also serves to provide campus related information such as locations of PG and Hostel Accommodation.

The site has witnessed a great start with more than 2000 people registering within 4 weeks. Out of those, 500 are DU Alumni.  The network is open to people outside of DU as well. Content like blogs, polls, videos and forums are freely accessible without having to become a member while listening to music or viewing the profiles of other members requires you to sign up first.

The site bears a slight resemblance to Facebook though its content sets it apart. A little more colour, vigour and energy would make the site more engaging and hence more popular. However it’s still a great initiative and we truly hope Arora can become the next Zuckerberg.

In this digital age, online social networking has taken the world by storm. It is an easy and effective way of finding and staying in touch with friends and family and the perfect forum for expressing oneself. Most importantly, it is the best place to waste any surplus time on one’s hands. Facebook, the ruling King of networking sites has seemingly come up with the most innovative, though unproductive way of doing so – quizzes!

Every Facebook member takes these sometimes funny, almost always unimaginably silly quizzes. They range from “What does your birthday month say about you?” or “What historical character are you?” to “When will you die?”, and “Are you girly, a perfect princess or a tomboy?” or something to that effect! The common link in all these quizzes is that it reflects a human need for attention, if not from people, then from computer programmes. Everyone loves being analyzed and branded as something, even if it makes them more like everyone else in a time when everyone wants to be different just for the sake of it. Take for instance the quiz which analyzes people on the basis of their birthday month; there are only 12 months as compared to the thousands of people who take the quiz. So many different people with so many diverse characteristics cannot possible be pigeonholed into 12 categories. However, no one minds this. Legions of people who take this quiz are a testimony to this fact.

Some of the quizzes are amazingly bizarre. “When will you lose your virginity?”, “How many children will you have?”, “What kind of butt wiper are you?” are just some of the examples. Most quizzes have questions that involve praising oneself. For example, in the quiz “What do your eyes say about you?”, there is a question which says “what do people say about your eyes?”. The options are “They’re very beautiful”, “They’re very scary”, “They’re very deep”, “They’re really pretty”, “They match your personality” and “People don’t really talk about my eyes.” It is clear that whenever someone answers a question like this, they obviously don’t go about conducting surveys. They can either choose any of the first six rather narcissistic options or they can choose the last one. If they go for the latter, the result of the quiz would probably be something like “Your eyes are unexpressive”. Most people know that and end up choosing one of the first six options and thereby praising themselves. This way they also manipulate the quiz to get the answer they want. So basically, people like being analyzed in the hope that the image the quiz creates conforms to the image they have of themselves or is something better.  Vanity in its starkest form indeed!

However, one thing cannot be denied. These quizzes are a lot of fun and a nice way to relax. So what if it involves all the above mentioned things? After all, everybody on some level already knows these things. Bring on the quizzes!