I'm not sure if you have seen the internet reviews of the Gillette advert. If you get chance do watch it, don't read the comments, most are depressing.
It made me cry, in that good way.
I thought it was powerful and I felt it sent a strong message, yet seemed to be an apology from Gillette of the adverts of the past (though lets see the adverts of the future) and also where it shows men stepping in, I felt it was a strong message not just to men but to women as well to stand up for others.
However lots of people disagree and think it is patronising and causes harm and damage.
I decided I needed to understand the viewpoint of men on this topic, as it is aimed at them and do I truly understand their viewpoint?
I only had one negative reaction which was "I don't need a razor company telling me how to behave, its patronising" but they agree with the sentiment, the rest felt it was powerful and positive and it gave me hope. Yet me being me, I wanted to understand more.
I've pondered on this topic for a few days and realise there is a fundamental flaw that everyone is missing and that is that we are all individuals.
I have very strong values and beliefs about helping others and treating others correctly.
Anyone who knows me will know the following;
1) If I see animals escaped on a road I will do everything in my power to get the animals to safety, I will use my car as a blockade, I will put an animal in the boot of my car, I will help a farmer round up his lost cattle or sheep. I have been known to stop my car on a lane in the dark in a pair of heels and posh dress and run around herding cattle. - Why do I do this? I know the animals are terrified and I want them to get to safety and be unharmed and I also know that if you hit any animal in a car, bike, or whatever it can cause a fatal crash and I could not live with myself if I had not done something to prevent this. I also know that most people wouldn't do this.
2) If I see an animal injured, hurt, or being abused in anyway I will intervene. I will collect it and take it to the vets or will report it (though my reports to the RSPCA always fall on deaf ears so now I contact people I know who I think can help). - Why do I do this? Because we should not let an animal suffer and should treat them with respect. I know more people would do this, but most won't.
3) If I see a stranger crying and are on their own, I will go and ask them how they are check they are OK and will sometimes walk them home or give them a lift home. I would miss a train or a flight or whatever rather than leave them on their own. - Why do I do this? - because what if that person is feeling suicidal, what if that person is lonely? Then at least I can listen.
4) When children started breaking into the derelict school opposite my home I intervened. Mostly, me just shouting at them made them run off, one lot of teenagers still persisted to go in. I called the Police. Why did I intervene? - I know that the place is falling into disrepair and is dangerous and they could get hurt, but also just me shouting to them stops some children from committing their first crime and with it stops them doing anything else. I called the Police because I didn't want the caretakers, who are a fairground that have permission to put their caravans and trucks on this land to have to confront some drunk kids. I don't want them to get hurt. I know many people would not have intervened.
5) When I lived in a previous place and a load of youths were vandalising cars on the street I was the only one who shouted from the window. I gave them 60 seconds to stop or I called the Police, they told me to F off but then left. - Why would I do this? Because no one should have to wake up and find their property damaged, to find all their hard work trashed, but equally I bet only one of this gang wanted to do it and the others went along to not look like they weren't being "one of the lads".
I could go on and on but these are my personal values and beliefs, but I also accept they aren't everyones and I cannot expect others to do as I do.
Equally I am not perfect - when I go to London the homeless people on the streets fill me with despair there are so many of them. So I do nothing. Sometimes if I see a woman I'll buy them a drink, but most times I walk on by.
In my home town I buy the Big Issue from the lady on the street and I may see a couple of the local drug addicts down an alleyway, but my own self preservation kicks in. I know this is going a risk too far, yet it's likely they would not harm me.
So how does this relate to the Gillette advert. The ad is asking more men to step up and intervene when they see bullying, when they see harassment etc. And it's a lovely intention but I actually think that both men and women need to do this. But I understand why they will not. As a woman when a group of men is harassing a teenage girl do you intervene? Or do you think of your own safety? If you intervene are you interfering? If you don't are you allowing it to happen? For men do you intervene and risk being stabbed or attacked? Or risk being accused of being involved? What is the correct action?
There is no simple answer.
I know when I've been sexually assaulted or harrassed in the workplace and in public places that people have witnessed it, but although men stand by and watch it happen and do not come to my aid, woman don't either. Some of that on both sides is fear, and some is jealousy.
Yes, you read that correctly, because as much as we talk about this, there is a topic we often don't talk about there are women out there who love the attention and want it, just like there are men too. Some may say no this cannot be true but I've seen it. I've been to events in the past with work colleagues, sometimes I'd be with a group of women, these were work event's and I'll be honest (and this is my prejudice) I really didn't think that the attire of some of the women was appropriate for such work event, even if it was in the evening. I remember once, one girl her skirt was so short it didn't actually cover her bottom and revealed her thong, she spent the whole event pulling it down. These were often highly ambitious women and it couldn't be more clear about how they wanted to get the attention of the male senior management team, the problem was, they brought the attention to every woman in the room.
By the end of some of these nights these women weren't speaking to me and were giving me filthy looks. Why? Because although I wasn't wearing a short dress or revealing clothing I was the one who got the attention even though I didn't want it. It also often happened to other women who were dressed more demurely and weren't flirting.
I've had everything from being pinned against the wall by a drunk male colleague as I went to the toilets, or drunk male colleagues trying to "dance" with you all night(you know that type of dance where they want their dick pressed against your arse) (I go on the dance floor to avoid speaking to people). I was the one who's had male colleagues "accidentally" running their hand across my backside or down my neck and i'll be honest, I learnt in my teens to shut up and put up. I learnt I was the psycho if I retaliated and, I learnt very quickly that more women hated me because they actually wanted the attention and assumed I did too.
But I also get it.
We're brought up in a world where unless men are looking at you, you think you aren't pretty, you aren't valued. Everything on social media, in news, TV, films has thrust this down our throats.
When I got promotions I would inevitably get at least one comment about who I shagged to get it. I've had women comment to me when I have dared to complain about some form of harassment "say you lucky bitch, I'd kill to have him do that to me". So you shut up, because these women don't see it as complaining but boasting.
But I'm no angel, I've worked on shop floors running trials and the banter between me and a "hot" engineer would often get me through some tedious night shifts or 12 hour day shifts.
But on the shop floor I had power, I could tell them to F*** off and laugh and flirt knowing full well at the end of the shift we'd leave as mates and go home to our loved ones.
And if a nice looking bloke smiled at me with a twinkle in his eye, I'd probably smile back and I would feel more attractive for it. Perhaps that's my own self esteem but I would not be offended. Equally I know the difference between the nice smile and the blatant letch.
I encountered it on a plane recently where a group of German men couldn't make it any more clear they were talking about me. They' d had a few beers, they were being really letchy and my sixth sense kicked in. So I ensured I did not get stuck with them behind me in the aisle in the plane as we left and legged it through the terminal knowing I had no luggage and they did, so could get to my car and not be in a place where I was vulnerable.
It's an absolute minefield - when is a nice smile to say "hi, I like you" a letch, when is a gentle touch of your arm building rapport or assault.
I'll be honest, we all know what's acceptable to us and what isn't but others around won't know unless we tell them.
I have delivery drivers come to my house. Most chat, some longer than others, one calls me babe, another calls me darling, another calls me lovely - I feel safe with all of them bar one! He has only been to my house once but even if I see him driving around the village I step out of sight. I opened the door and he was stood there with his shirt undone to his waist and stood back and checked me out and then said "Oh hello, I think I need to accidentally make some deliveries here more often" - he made me feel dirty and feel sick, I wanted him away from me as soon as possible, but also didn't want to say anything as I was in my house alone. He knows where I live. Now chances are he was just being in his eyes "nice and flirty" like the other drivers and had he been a "hot" young good looking man would I have reacted differently?
Who knows? All I know is this isn't easy.
I know that I almost didn't publish this article, not because of feedback from men, but from women. The judgement that they'll ask what I was wearing? Was I flirting? Am I seeming arrogant and will some misconstrued this as me saying I'm some sort of good looking goddess that men love to be with! (My husband thinks so, but he's supposed too! I'm working on this for myself )
I remember reading in Psychologies a few months ago in Karla Newbey's Tantric Journey, of being judged and shamed by "friends" for flirting with a waiter and I really related to this, because I've tried to raise sexual assault and harassment discussions with other women, and that was how I was treated by my female friends/colleagues of the time and I soon learnt to never ever flirt or take a second look at a nice looking guy when I was with anyone.
I don't know about you but this year I want to be strong, toned, sexy and sassy, but not for anyone else just for me, it means I'll shine my light bright, but sometimes it feels wrong. I'm older and wiser now, but that inner voice that self doubt fairy can say horrible things to me and make me doubt if being strong, toned, sexy and sassy is acceptable in our current world.
So we can call out men, but let's get together as women and support each other too. Let's recognise we are sexual beings and lets listen with kindness and compassion. We will all do this in our own way, we will all accept and all be offended in our own way. We are all unique. And I have no idea how we solve the issues, but I do know that we are in a better place than before, I just hope we don't loose the fun in the world too.
Thanks for reading, I hope its been useful and apologises for being quite a long sobering one this week.
The Magical Mojo Coach xx