I recently came across this brilliant commercial from The Man Company and have been full of admiration for its highly inclusive and well-thought-out messaging. The Man Company offers premium grooming products for gentlemen. However, what has enamored me is how sensitively men are portrayed in the advert. For over two decades in my Diversity coaching, it surprises me to no uncertain extent when I enter into discussion with organizations to develop a charter for diversity, that the discussions are still centered around women and there is a shallow need to understand the issues affecting men. Particularly men sharing their experiences of returning to work after battling prostate cancer, heart attack, shared parental leave, and anxiety, emotions and mental health pressures of maintaining a facade both at work and outside of it - this dialogue is increasingly missing from Diversity agendas of leading organizations or doesn't have a clear narrative. Let me be very clear, saying this I am also fully aware that there is no pretense in believing that women have more rights than men.
Instead, I feel strongly about encouraging men to communicate with themselves - what they truly want and need from life, their values, and true calling and then take that knowledge to communicate with those close to them, to build a shared purpose and direction to ensure their needs are met just like they fulfill the needs of others that are important to them.
I believe that there is a greater need for the right balance where neither of the genders feels left out or more privileged than the other. Commercials like these and inclusive messaging help in furthering the narrative that men can and are sensitive beings as well. Conversations and sensitization to this aspect as the commercial successfully delivers is a very important and necessary aspect of inclusion. As well, showing all men irrespective of their masculinity or embracing their femininity in a positive light.
We are all lucky and unlucky in a variety of different ways, and equality really means showing empathy for all as from the point of view of gender quality, men and women have different but equivalent needs in work and life.
And, so I am writing this post in appreciating and loving highly conscious and insightful men who embark on the introspective journey and recognize they too can be sensitive and show emotions and there is no stigmatization in being vocal about emotions and their heartfelt desires despite the conditioning and societal views about how they should behave and what they should do or not do. We all need to work on and fight the stupid taboos and images of toxic masculinity or telling men to "man up" is wrong on all accounts. There is a need for such commercials and dialogues where the projection of manliness and self-sufficiency needs to be questioned.
- Amit Anand
- Amit Anand