Positive Masculinity

If you click the link below, you’ll find the new advert (that’s, commercial, for my readers in the USA and Canada) from Gillette. Supposedly, it’s controversial.

According to some negative feedback, it’s “emasculating men” and “insulting” to men’s rights and labels all men as being terrible people…. hmm. Really?

Watching it, I see images from the past adverts as well as attitudes that are now outdated. The advert recognises what men were thought to be, in fact Gillette even uses some of its old marketing, which for the time, was geared in that direction. And that’s just it, we’re talking about the depiction of what “masculinity” and “being a man” was seen to be in another time.

What the advert does is challenge those preconceptions and asks us men-folk “Is this the best we can be?” In the present, we have children committing suicide because of bullying, we have women angry at being treated as second-class citizens as well as other women scared of being abused (by no means am I saying women are weak, I’m trying to say they’ve had enough and are fighting back at those who deserve to be fought), and of course, dickhead behaviour seems to be on the increase by just about everyone.

For anyone who has followed me for a while, you will know I have written about masculinity before, I have even given an on going talk on the Masculine Principle in Paganism, I say on going because it’s a talk that constantly evolves, but my conclusion, so far, is the same….. read them and find out. 😉 nb: those articles are old now and I need to retouch them from the last time I did the talk in 2018.

Personally, I found the Gillette advert inspiring and uplifting. As a gentleman myself, I have always believed that everyone should do better. I loved the message behind it: by being better, we can inspire others, in inspiring others, we can inspire the next generation, in inspiring the next generation, we can make the world a better place. At no point did I feel the advert was saying all men were the supposed cruel, evil beings that some men are claiming the advert says….. if anything, their reaction says more about them.

The advert isn’t asking men to be anything less, it’s not about being “Woke” it’s about doing the decent thing. It’s about challenging our behaviour and attitudes and being something better. It’s not telling us to be soft or weak it’s asking us to be better. It takes strength to separate a fight, it takes courage to call somebody out and it takes bravery to stand up for someone…. this is “masculinity” at its best.

It’s not even about leaving our problems for the next generation to solve; it’s telling us to make a stand. Now. Right now. Our actions define us and people take note of them.

People are loud when it comes to shouting about “Toxic Masculinity” it’s the buzz-word of this portion of the 21st Century. Yet there’s hardly any encouragement or even any push for “Positive Masculinity”. And this advert is just that. It’s not saying “All men are asses” It’s saying there is Positive Masculinity and it should be encouraged.

As far as I’m concerned, Positive Masculinity is being the better man, it’s calling out when someone else is being a dick (about race, sex, gender, religion) it’s standing up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves, it’s doing the right thing. It’s taking responsibility for ourselves, our children and the world around us. It’s also not falling into the trap of reacting emotionally to any criticism of our gender and adopting a victim mentality.

On my FB post for New Year’s I wrote a message about everyone being more kind in the world and I seriously meant this. Even if it means doing at least one kind act everyday, those acts of kindness can be infectious. The amazing thing is that there seems to be a call going on for this and it’s world wide. This gives me hope for Humanity as a whole. And the Gillette advert, whether you like it or not, is now part of that.

It’s not just men who need to do better, it’s everyone. We all need to be better in ourselves and be better with each other. And to paraphrase one commentator on Twitter:

If you feel ’emasculated’ because of an advert on TV, then you’re doing masculinity wrong.

Nb: as much as I salute Gillette for their advert, I’m not a customer….. I’ve been a Harry’s Razors man since Sept 2018, when I trialled their razor and found it a better cut than my Mach 3…. soz.

“Fire and Blood”

So, 2019, we meet at last. A new year, a new card drawn for myself at the very beginning of the New Year. And fortunately, the title of this blog isn’t really what the year has in store….. I just used the Targaryen family motto because I thought it was cool! And, y’know, Fire Dragon and all…… I’ll get my coat!

2018 had the card of Owl-reversed (Cailleach Oidhche) the card of Detachment, Change and Wisdom. Although, being reversed, it warns of not seeking detachment as escape, the potential death of something and beginning of another…. And that even though night is here, to look for the approaching dawn.

Detachment: Watching out for not escaping or withdrawing into myself, I made sure I kept in contact with friends, visiting family when possible. I was even approached by the Pagan Community for doing talks for them and rediscovered not only could I do this, but that I also had a respect and welcome within the community I hadn’t realised I had…. I figured my pursuit of acting had estranged me from them. I’m glad to say it hasn’t and that I have a good friend base within the community and have even been asked to perform a handfasting for at least one couple this year! In Nottingham’s acting scene, I got to work with some lovely people and good friends. I proved to myself that I am good enough to come joint second in a monologue competition and that people want to work with me. So no, no shrinking away for me.

Death of one thing….. actually there was quite a few. Artemis and I are no longer housemates, as she went to Lincoln. We atill meet up to play D&D and bug each other on whatsapp now and then. The Grove of the Corieltauvi lost our fellow Druid, Luch Dorcha this year. We lost our friend, but his memory remains and we shall honour him. However, the Grove of the Corieltauvi no longer exists. At least not as it once did….. I have also pushed for the death of my marriage. I applied for divorce at the end of November, my spouse had received, signed and sent off the paperwork. All I’m waiting on now is the Court to get back to work and do their thing. And Artemis lost her father as well, a kind and humorous man. So yes, 2018 was a year of things and people dying…. “Light is born, light dies, in dying there is rebirth, in birth there is dying, so it is, so it always is”……

The Approaching Dawn….. Devi and I celebrated our first year together, we stayed in a Hobbit House at the beginning of the year in North Yorkshire. We don’t get to see each other every day, so we spend as much time together as possible and most importantly, we make each other happy and are looking forward to more years and adventures to come. In my working world, at the end of 2018, I was informed that I’ll be moving to a brand new store in Nottingham, rather than bussing it to Derby and back everyday. This means I get at least one hour back into my day instead of using two to get there and back again. I came into my own at work this year. I know who I am, what my strengths and weaknesses are and I am proud of my current team. I m looking forward to my new adventure with Mr S, who will be my new boss. And I’ll be looking forward to that extra hour for myself too. It will make all the difference….. not to mention more sleep!

2019 – Fire Dragon

Transmutation, Energy, Mastery are the keywords to the Fire Dragon (Draig Teine) card. This card speaks of connecting with the inner flame (something I’m very big on), finding the courage and drive to face life’s challenges as well as focussing one’s energies to overcome obstacles and gain objectives. This is a card less to do with gaining power or going into anything with all guns blazing; and more to do with the lesson I learned: the element is actually about combining will with responsibility. For how can you work with fire if you have no sense of control?