Gillette must have enjoyed the success of its apparently very controversial charge for men to be better, because now, they’re back with an ad that features a trans teen shaving for the first time with the help of his father.
Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, an artist and activist from Toronto, says in the video that “I always knew I was different. I didn’t know that there was a term for the type of person that I was.” He adds that, “I went into my transition just wanting to be happy. I’m glad that I am at the point where I’m able to shave.” CNN went to the trouble of reaching out to Brown “to find out if this was indeed his first shave, as the video implies,” but didn’t hear back.
I’m conflicted over how to feel about this. On the one hand, Gillette is a corporation that weighed the odds of (further) alienating a contingent of customers in the hopes that a mountain of press-generated goodwill would make up for the loss. On the other, it comes at a time when LGBTQ+ people need all the positive visibility possible as previously hard-won rights are rolled back in new and devastating ways each day. Moreover, Brown wrote on his Facebook page that,
With the help of Gillette, I was able to share an important milestone in every man’s life with my father.
This moment overwhelmed me during filming and again today seeing the ad since it’s been launched. I’m keenly aware of how blessed I am to be able to exist in this world being supported by my family in ways that all too often many of my trans brothers, sisters, and siblings who exist outside the binary are not always as fortunate.
I am confident that this ad will encourage many of my trans siblings and fill them with the knowledge that our existence in this world can be filled with the love and support we deserve.
Is my appreciation of this advertisement—which again, was created entirely for the profit of a multi-billion dollar corporation!—reasonable, or am I capitalism-perpetuating sucker? Will it make me buy a Gillette razor? (The answer, for me, is “no,” as I prefer to tear the hair from my body with wax because it reminds me that I’m alive.)
Just tell me what to think in the comments!