Gillette accused of sexism over 'pink tax' after company praised for tackling toxic masculinity

Company is facing backlash over its new advertising campaign

Chelsea Ritschel
Thursday 17 January 2019 02:13 GMT
Gillette shares powerful message about toxic masculinity with new advert: 'We Believe: The Best Men Can Be'

Gillette has been accused of hypocrisy over its new advert tackling toxic masculinity, with some complaining the brand is itself guilty of sexism.

It relates to the issue known as the “pink tax” where products advertised towards women cost more than similar products marketed towards men.

The latest campaign from Gillette attempts to address the #MeToo movement by showing clips depicting sexual harassment and mansplaining, with the narrator stating: “It’s been going on far too long.” The advert plays on the brand’s 30-year tagline, “The best a man can get” by using the phrase “The best men can be”

However, some have been left less than impressed. “I could have sworn Gillette just told us to stop treating women poorly. Look how they treat their female customers though,” one person tweeted alongside photos of identical razors advertised towards men and women, with the women’s version costing $3 more.

Another person also shared photos of the brand’s razors sold on Amazon, where a price discrepancy is evident.

“Me: The new Gillette ad is great. Also me: “Gillette why is an eight-pack of women’s blades $3-4 more than men’s?” they asked.

“OK so I’m all for the ideas in the Gillette commercial, I think it’s wonderful in theory, but a company can’t charge a pink tax and then use media to say they encourage gender equality and awareness, it doesn’t work like that. You don’t get both,” someone else tweeted.

The Gillette advert has been viewed more than 13 million times on YouTube and has generated both praise and critisism. Some have accused the company of “virtue-signalling” about an issue they may not care about, while Bernice King – daughter of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr – called the advert “pro-humanity”.

Others have called for a boycott of the brand over the “pink tax” issue. That would be similar to one the brand is facing from some conservatives, who have responded to the recent advertisement by throwing their razors away.

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A 2015 report from The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs found that on average “women’s products cost seven per cent more than similar products for men,” with the increase applying to a number of products, from scooters to shampoo.

The Independent has contacted Gillette for comment.

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