Gillette and 21st Century Chivalry

Who says chivalry is dead? Certainly not Gillette. In fact, Gillette is calling men back to chivalry. They are calling men to rise above the stereotypes and hold accountable any man who lives by them. However, there seems to be quite a bit of backlash from hundreds of people on twitter. Many, in fact most, from men. Many, in fact most, from what I would consider to be the more “conservative” men. Todd Starnes for example heads his op/ed “Does Gillette Want Men To Start Shaving Their Legs Too?” One only needs to look at the comments on Twitter to find the many photos of razors in toilets or trash cans, calling for a boycott of Gillette.

Back in the day of kings and knights and squires, there was chivalry. There was an expectation upon the nobles to live with courage, valor, and generosity. Often we hear of the “knight in shining armor,” coming to the rescue. They were expected to treat women with a certain decorum of respect, even if her behavior warranted otherwise. Chivalry was what men aspired to ever since. They would open doors, put coats over puddles, pull back chairs, stand up for a lady’s honor. It was the most masculine thing a man could do. Gillette seems to be calling men back to chivalry, albeit a 21st century chivalry.

They are calling on fathers to get involved in their children’s lives and teach their boys that bullying is not okay. Because–as the commercial says–boys become men. At some point, what they have learned in boyhood they will act out in manhood. I remember my dad only spanking me once in my entire life. I had gotten into a fight with my nephew (who is one year older). We were going at it in my room and without knowing my dad heard, walked in, and swatted me once on my rear. Then he swatted my nephew. We were both so stunned because he never had done anything like that before. He looked at us and with a stern look said, “knock it off,” and walked away. That was all it took. It was the only fight I got into in my life.

In this commercial, we see men holding other men back, protecting women’s honor, teaching their sons to act better than their instincts, and protecting those being bullied. It’s what we used to call chivalry. Gillette is not calling for the feminization of men, but for masculinity of old. They are calling for men in shining armor to rise above, have courage to stand up when others look the other way, treat others with valor, and be generous with their strength.

Paul wrote, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love,” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ESV). That what God calls us to do. Gillette’s message is not all that different in my eyes. No, they are not a “Christian” company, but as far as I can see (I’ve watched the commercial several times last night and this morning), what they seek men to be and do is in line with these words from Paul.

As always, I would love to read your comments. Maybe you think I am wrong. Please let me know. Maybe you agree; I’d love to read your thoughts as well. If you like the article, feel free to share it with others.

2 thoughts on “Gillette and 21st Century Chivalry”

  1. I just wrote about this too… I’m fascinated by the backlash. I think it has less to do with this actual commercial and more to do with the whole cultural messages that (men = bad, women = good) and people, conservative men especially, are exhausted by it. The commercial isn’t calling out all men as bad, but they take it that way because there’s a lot of messages nowadays that glorify women and demonize men. It’s funny how people kind of get the context mixed up… because I agree, if this were shown in a church mens Bible study it would be applauded.


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