The Gillette razor company has recently put out a new ad that shows a dad teaching his transgender son how to shave for the first time. This ad has obviously struck up some controversy, but it's ads like these that are important on a few different levels. Here's why:
The ad demonstrates a level of inclusivity that has been hard to find in the past. The subject of the commercial is a young, black transgender male. Advertisements like this help to lend a voice to marginalized communities, such as the black LGBTQ+ community, which has been severely underrepresented throughout history. Lending that voice is one of the most important steps that we can take in the movement for equality. By releasing a commercial such as this one, Gillette is basically saying "We see you and you matter" to the transgender community. Where other companies fail to market towards marginalized and underrepresented communities, Gillette says that those communities are important and they matter enough to be marketed to. I think that cisgendered people (people whose gender identity and biological sex correspond) often don't think about the ways that simple, everyday things that they do can be monumental for a transgender person. The first shave for a transgender male can be even more meaningful because maybe that person has finally been on hormones long enough to grow facial hair. This ad gives the world a chance to see the way the transgender community experiences the world differently. Something that can come so naturally and without thought to a cisgender person, like growing facial hair, doesn't always come so easily to a transgender person. The commercial ends stating, "Whenever, wherever, however it happens, your first shave is special," basically validating the experiences of the transgender community.
What I like about Gillette is that they take the gender roles that are placed upon their largely male audience, and they turn them into something more positive and inclusive. The company has also put out other ads like this one. One of them takes the Gillette slogan, "The Best a Man Can Get," and shows that men are only at their best when they speak out and use their power for good. The commercial shows men standing up against bullies, breaking up fights, and stopping catcalling/sexual harassment, stating that "It's only by challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best."
I do have a little bit of an issue with the timing of the ad release though. Since June has become Pride Month, companies have been known to slap a rainbow on their products and call themselves LGBTQ+ friendly, simply to profit off of the community. I am not going to assert that this is what Gillette is doing by any means, but I just want to point out and also remind everyone that if the company you are buying from only supports Pride during the month of June, and keeps quiet every other time of the year, then they are likely just using Pride to capitalize off of the LGBTQ+ community. Just keep an eye out, and do your research when looking into companies that support the LGBTQ+ community all year round. Happy Pride!