What is the best a man can get?
It is a fair question to ask and it is the slogan for a brand of razors that have sparked a bit of controversy regarding their ad against “toxic masculinity”.
I watched Gillette’s commercial and to be honest, I found that there was little I disagree with. Men should hold other men accountable. Men shouldn’t objectify women but instead, defend their honor. Men are protectors and warriors and should be using their natural strength for good and not for evil.
We can all agree on that, right?
Yet Gillette’s new ad has received a heavy amount of backlash, claiming that it is an assault on masculinity and drawing the ire and condemnation from certain media organizations and (not surprisingly) other companies that sell products for men.
I believe where Gillette misstepped is they began their campaign with the phrase “toxic masculinity” which is a buzz word for masculinity, in general, is bad. To be masculine, in this prevailing culture is to be viewed as a threat, dangerous to women and should be immediately suppressed. In fact, men are expected to conform to a standard of feminization. The bold, adventuresome spirit that once defined the American male is now replaced with effeminate mannerisms and docility.
No longer are boys encouraged to fight dragons, play soldier or jump their bikes instead what gains recognition is when a boy wears a dress and pretends to be a girl. The sad reality is androgyny rules the day and we are suffering for it.
Men today and the generation that follows are confused about what is it to be a real man and can we blame them? When masculinity is viewed as a harmful social behavior by many in academia and the media portrays an outright disdain for manhood is there any wonder why there is an identity crisis among men?
The Bible celebrates manhood and condemns any distortion of it. For example, in Deuteronomy 22:5 we see that God forbids men from wearing women’s clothes. Why? Because the lines that separate gender shouldn’t be crossed. God created men to be men and likewise, He created women to be women. Even though both genders possess equal value in the eyes of God, they aren’t and never will be the same.
So, what is the best a man can get? Or what is the epitome of masculinity? It is true that society has been wrong in how they answer that question. Manhood is not defined by promiscuity or exerting strength to a corrupt end. Neither is it being overly sentimental, effeminate and passive.
True manhood looks like Jesus.
Christ is the pinnacle of masculinity and in the gospels, he certainly doesn’t match the image of a wimpy, thin, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jesus that we are so accustomed to seeing.
Jesus is a man of bravery who refused to buckle underneath the pressure to please man. He spoke the truth even when it was unpopular to do so. So courageous is this Christ, that he went to the cross, facing the agony and bearing the wrath of God for people’s sins.
Christ is a man of love because it was love that kept him on the cross. It was love that motivated him to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk. 10:45). Not only that but he is a man of compassion, looking at beleaguered, helpless people and offering them rest (Matt. 11:28).
Jesus could have easily thrown the weight of his authority around—he is God after all—but didn’t, instead, he sacrificed himself, laying down his own life for the life of his people.
Sure, there are toxic elements that come about from a twisting of masculinity. Yet, true masculinity is self-sacrificing, heroic, brave and compassionate.
The best a man can get is not from a corporation that produces shaving products. The best a man can get is to be like Jesus and that’s the kind of men we need today.