This week, Gillette’s ‘We Believe: The Best Men Can Be’ advert saw marketing tides turning and embraced how far we’ve all moved on from traditional gender stereotypes.
Addressing the damage that toxic masculinity can cause, here at GLAMOUR HQ we saluted their forward thinking. So why on earth have PETA just released an ad in which men are sporting oversized vegetables as swinging genitalia, with a tagline of “Traditional masculinity is DEAD. The secret to male sexual stamina is veggies”?
Posting a tweet about the new advert, global animal rights organisation @PETA also attached an article on their website claiming, “The APA links toxic “traditional” masculinity to violence - which is also deadly to animals. Why men should go vegan”. In the piece it states that the American Psychological Association connects “traditional masculine ideology with traits like bullying and violence - two major red flags for animal abuse”.
But this absolutely does not mean that those of us who eat meat are violent bullies. Surely, tenuously linking how damaging toxic masculinity is to perpetrators being meat-eaters can only be described as completely irresponsible? A message which could be very confusing for adolescent boys, it goes without saying that this advert will be seen by kids. Which also highlights another reason why the ad is both bizarre and totally inappropriate for its wide-reaching audience. In fact, I’d argue PETA are trying to bully people into veganism with bizarre scaremongering tactics.
Back to the prize marrow and thrusting banana, PETA playing “give it, you want it, I take it, I got it” as the background music doesn’t add much appeal either. Toxic masculinity debates aside, it’s both reductive and boring to say that the only way to get men to go vegan is by appealing to their sexuality. A sexist, misogynistic angle, the ad implies a bloke’s lifestyle and views are simply driven by sex. And, it doesn’t make the vegetables featured seem very desirable either. To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll look at a carrot in the same way ever again.
The overall reaction to the new PETA ad has understandably been one of confusion, with an outraged Twitter user posting: “WTF was that? I think @peta just ensured I’m not able to have any of the veggies I just saw in this ad. Might have to go on a complete meat-diet after eating this”.
Beginning with a sweaty leering guy looking at the camera, men of different ages enthusiastically gyrate throughout the video. Seemingly impressed women ogle their vegetable wedding tackle and the whole thing is just plain weird, not to mention ironically animalistic. The campaign focuses on large genitalia, with a highly sexualised, outdated theme. It’s got to be said this is a totally desperate ploy on PETA’s part to promote their brand.
There are of course many merits to veganism and vegetarianism, and we’re not denying that. A fair few of us have been enjoying Veganuary and I’ve never been a big meat-eater in general. Veganism undoubtedly has so many health and ethical benefits for both us and the planet. Plus, ultimately it is down to individual preference. But why paint men as sex-crazed beasts with a one-track mind while promoting this dietary choice?
The conversation continues over on social media and another tweeter comments: “PETA’s new ad campaign features men dancing around with veggies attached to their junk. This ad is honestly cringeworthy”.
As the mum of a young son I salute the new Gillette advert, here's why...
Yes, you could say that no publicity is bad publicity, and we are all talking about this ad watched by millions. But, it does seem to be having the reverse effect to what was presumably intended on its audience. One (male) viewer commented online “PETA’s ad on vegetable masculinity was really thought-provoking… it reminded me I needed to marinate the steaks for dinner tonight”. Someone else states “now men are gonna boycott vegetables”, while another adds “thanks for ruining vegetables, I’m gonna go get me a steak now”.
A complete ad turn-off, this video isn’t doing veg (or men) any favours. Haven’t we moved way past the totally dated ‘sex sells’ ideology by now? Back to you, Gillette.
Speaking to GLAMOUR, PETA’s Director, Elisa Allen, said: "The video – which was first released back in 2012 – was tweeted as a light-hearted way to engage with the discussion around "traditional masculinity", something that PETA has long worked against and made fun of. Machismo leads men to want to dominate other living beings. It's the reason why certain men go trophy hunting, get involved in dogfighting, post pictures on our social media of hot dog–eating contests, run with the bulls, and – yes – eat meat (because even though the world is rapidly changing, some men still cling to the archaic idea that eating meat is "manly"). We want to challenge that notion and let men know that what they actually get from eating meat is an increased likelihood of suffering from heart attacks, cancer of the prostate and colon, high blood pressure, and impotency – and it seems that last one is sometimes all they care about!"