“Whenever, wherever, however it happens – your first shave is special.”
That’s the heading for a Gillette Facebook post of their newest advertisement. The twist in the ad is that the special first shave is that of a young woman who believes she’s a man. As she’s shaving, “Samson’s” father watches and offers encouragement. The ad ends with Gillette’s newest slogan for men’s razors, “The Best Men Can Be.”
The transgender-identified woman in the ad is Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, a Toronto-based actress and artist. Brown’s website says, “I am blessed to be gifted from birth with the gifts of necromancy, narcomancy and mediumship. I have used these gifts to assist me throughout my life, and especially with coming to terms with my gender identity.”
Necromancy refers to the general practice of sorcery, but also to the practice of communicating with the dead. Narcomancy has to do with divination – seeking special knowledge – while asleep, and mediums claim to speak with the dead or to have spirits speak through them. Evidently diving into the occult and communing with ancestors were part of what led Brown to believe she is a man.
Last year, Brown performed in a play, Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, which toured Ontario schools for over a month and teaches children about “gender identity.” At one elementary school, the play was sponsored by the school’s Gay Straight Alliance. Youngsters watched as a nine-year-old girl, played by Brown, decides she’s really a boy.
Gillette’s Facebook post has garnered 1.4 million views and 4,400 comments, most of them approving. This may be because Facebook allows Gillette to moderate the comments, whereas YouTube is a more open forum. When news groups posted the video on YouTube, it received 2-6 times the number of dislikes to likes.
This is the second time this year Gillette has released an ad that’s more about a social issue than about their products. In January the company released an ad addressing “toxic masculinity” which challenged men “to say the right thing, to act the right way.” The ad prompted widespread negative reactions – along with some positive responses. The long version on YouTube has twice as many dislikes as it does likes. Apparently most men don’t want to be preached at by the company that makes their razors.
The newest ad, while it doesn’t bash men for being men, is problematic for a number of reasons. Most obviously, it suggests that a woman can become a man.
That’s something we know to be false. Every cell in “Samson’s” body is female. Sex isn’t something arbitrarily assigned to newborns, it’s something we recognize and acknowledge. Clothing, puberty blockers, male hormones and surgery don’t change a woman into a man. Gillette has bought into the faulty gender ideology that says a woman who thinks she’s a man really is one.
Our Judeo-Christian heritage teaches that God created two kinds of humans: male and female. He made us in His image, and both masculinity and femininity reflect something of God’s character. Both male and female are valuable and good, but they are distinct. Modern gender ideologies blur the lines between male and female and suggest that those differences really don’t matter.
As you’d expect, science affirms our belief that humans are sexually dimorphic. Sexual dimorphism means that the two sexes are different – beyond our reproductive organs. Those differences are not just a “social construct” but are rooted in our biology. One area where these differences are most obvious is in sports – and it’s more than just testosterone that makes the difference.
In an article for The Stream, Heither Zeiger catalogs some of those differences that directly affect sports performance. Here are just a few:
- Men and women have different hip structures, which affects our center of mass and how our bodies move as we walk, run, cycle or swim.
- Men tend to have more fast twitch muscle, which is useful for sprinting, while women have more slow twitch muscle, helpful for distance racing.
- Men have larger internal organs, which means their heart and lungs take in more oxygen.
Male-female differences go beyond the physical and are deeply rooted in human nature. Social research demonstrates that there are distinctions that occur across cultures. Again, these are not “socially constructed,” but arise out of innate masculinity or femininity. For example, men generally tend to take more risks, to be more active and aggressive, and to initiate more. Women tend to be more relational and caring, and to value intimacy, connection and security.
Taking testosterone or having a double mastectomy, both of which Brown has done, doesn’t turn her into a man. The Gillette ad doesn’t tell about the permanent, disfiguring effects of surgery and testosterone to a young woman’s body, including the development of facial and body hair; decreased fertility and possible sterility; male pattern baldness for those so pre-disposed; and a deeper voice. In addition, women who take high levels of testosterone are at risk for the development of diabetes, stroke, blood clots, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease and other serious health issues.
Gillette’s celebration of transgenderism also overlooks the sad truth that many who struggle with gender confusion often come to regret their use of puberty blockers, hormones and surgery to “transition.” They realize that these really don’t turn them into the opposite sex. Because they haven’t dealt with the underlying trauma, spiritual issues or mental health issues that led to gender confusion, many who “transition” remain distressed, depressed and suicidal.
With their celebration and endorsement of transgender ideology, Gillette disregards the truth and does a deep disservice to those struggling with gender confusion.
Focus on the Family has a number of resources for men and women struggling with gender confusion, for their family and friends, and for those wanting to learn more about transgenderism in our culture.
This is the first article in a two-part series on Gillette’s new advertisement featuring a woman – who believes she’s a man – experiencing her first shave. You can access the second article here.