By positively portraying a trans man in a groundbreaking new commercial, Gillette is putting themselves on the frontlines of the cultural conversation around social justice and LGBTQ acceptance.
For most men, learning how to shave is a rite of passage, one traditionally learned from their father. Unfortunately for a lot of trans men, this is a passage that they usually end up missing out on, while their cis counterparts too often take it for granted.
Gillette sees a problem with that, just like we do. In a new ad campaign (released just in time for Pride month, how about that), we meet Samson, a trans man, and his father. Samson is seen gleefully shaving and recounting his joy to be able to finally shave, while his father proudly watches. As Samson repeats the steps his father instructs him, both men are smiling.
“I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy,” said Samson in the advert. “It’s not just myself transitioning, it’s everybody around me transitioning.”
It’s easy to wave this off as rainbow capitalism. The timing for it is certainly right. And honestly, I don’t think of razors as that big of a sponsor of the LGBTQ community — any more than I do Listerine or Budweiser, who certainly got their rainbow-striped bottles out, conveniently just weeks ahead of annual Pride month.
However, maybe that is the point. Coming from a cisgender perspective, I don’t look at shaving as an exciting thing as much as I a burden. To me it’s just a massive pain that sits on a perennial to-do list alongside washing my hair.
But that is also part of what this Gillette advertisement is a trying to get at. Whether a man first starts shaving when he is twelve or forty-two, it is a brand new and exciting thing. It’s something to rejoice in — the fact that you are finally allowed to join the boys club with your peers. And that’s exactly why it is even more special for trans men, who are somehow never included in this narrative. They finally get to do these things that their cisgender peers have taken for granted for so long.
Regardless of the intent of this commercial, whether it comes from a genuinely good place or is just another shill from capitalist businessmen who recognize that LGBTQ people and their allies buy razors too, the message of trans acceptance still comes through loud and clear. And you can’t help but appreciate Gillette for sending it.
From their commercial condemning toxic masculinity, which caused controversy when it was released earlier this year, to this groundbreaking ad promoting trans acceptance, it’s starting to feel like Gillette is truly living up to their slogan — they might really be the best a man can get.
Top Photo via Gillette