“You’re a spineless, pale, pathetic lot, and you haven’t got a clue. Somehow I’ll make a man out of you.”
Believe it or not, that line is from a Disney song titled “Be A Man” from Mulan (1998); probably one of the most well-known Disney songs ever. You wouldn’t have noticed the line, as most people remember more iconic lines like: “(Be a man), we must be swift as the coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon.” Yet under what seems to be an inspiring training montage, there is a hidden lesson (if you can call it that)—what it takes to be a man.
Masculinity has been a hot topic in recent times, and has been a central point of discussion on social media.
In relation, when Gillette released its new advertisement, commenting if what “the best a man can get” is limited to bullying and harassment, the topic is now again up for debate. This type of masculinity, the commercial depicts, is branded as toxic masculinity.
Gillette had a simple message: Men can be—or should be—better. In return they got a massive amount of backlash; the YouTube video uploaded on January 13 has more thumbs-down than likes. This came, at least to me, as no surprise. As powerful men believe they are, we react furiously at slightest hint of imposition that we can—and should—change.
The reactions, however, only prove Gillette’s point: It’s time to change.
If you look up “masculinity” on Merriam-Webster, it is defined as “having qualities appropriate or usually associated with a man.” Looking back at the history of the world, the qualities associated with men are such as being conquerors (Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, etc.), strength & power (Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, etc.), and able to attract lots of women (Brad Pitt, Cristiano Ronaldo, etc.). Men have taken advantage of these qualities and revelled in them.