New Delhi: Wearing a beard or staying clean shaven is a man’s prerogative. But a new campaign by Gillette is making some men feel this “fundamental” right is being violated. Thousands of men have ganged up against the latest Gillette campaign — Shave India Movement, Women against Lazy Stubble — terming it mental harassment. Some of them have lodged a protest with the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). They have also called for a boycott of all Gillette products to “discourage” companies from creating campaigns that “spread hatred among genders” and “hurt religious sentiments.”
“In the Gillette campaign, men who do not shave or those who wear stubble are shown to be lazy, so their women have every right to detest and demean them,” said Mumbai-based PR Gokul of the All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA). “Gillette also tags this campaign as women on the warpath. We feel it portrays men negatively and tries to curb their choices” said Mumbai-based PR Gokul of the All India Men’s Welfare Association.
Proctor and Gamble (P&G) claimed that the campaign was based on research findings. “Serving men since 1895, their well-being is at the heart of every decision that Gillette takes. In that spirit we respect all ideologies, communities and opinions that men have. WALS is a creative expression of research findings by AC Nielsen which state that a majority of women prefer their with a men clean shaven look. Our campaign is not an imposition of such views on men who feel differently or wish to grow facial hair out of choice. Our endeavour is to provide superior quality shaving products to men who wish to shave,” said P&G spokesperson.
Men disagree. “The thoughts expressed in the campaign do not represent the views of the average Indian woman. It has a commercial interest and there is every reason to believe the views are bought off. The campaign ignores researches that prove it’s men with the stubble who attract women,” said Virag Dhulia, a protestor from Bangalore.
“By calling men with stubble lazy, P&G have made a communal statement,” said Myth Kumar from Bangalore. Terming the campaign in bad taste, the Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid said, “Sikhs and Muslims wear beards due to religious reasons. But their wives do not complain. Companies should be careful of religious sentiments before running campaigns,” said Bukhari.
“Stubble certainly looks sexy. But the reason why some men do not keep one is that it is itchy and the corporate world prefers the clean-shaven look,” said Amrish from Mumbai.