Gillette backlash: #TheBestAGirlCanBe

If you’ve seen the Gillette advert, you’ll know it is part of a campaign to challenge men to reject sexism through raising awareness of its harm. When this was released, the BBC reported that its video had 23,000 likes.

And 214,000 dislikes.

This was no surprise to us…

People experience discomfort when they hear things that challenge who they are, and what they believe. This discomfort acts as a barrier to logically weighing up the validity of an argument and making a judgment based on facts, where the facts are many people’s daily realities.

This discomfort pushes us to instantly seek comfort through protecting our biases i.e — interpreting the world through a lens from the dominant messages we have been taught.

This acceptance, reinforcement and lack of challenge of these toxic (yet normal) messages, further entrenches inequalities. We live in a society where girls face the effects of these messages every day. When 35% of UK girls wearing school uniform have been sexually harassed in public — even walking to school is not safe. Not only do they face the consequences of these messages (like shame) but they internalise them too, as evidenced by the detrimental impact sexual harassment has had on girls’ confidence and self-worth. It’s imperative that they know this is not OK, and will no longer be ignored. We need change now, and fast.

Because these messages are so deep rooted, being able to recognise and push past discomfort, is in itself a radical act. We need to engaging people in critical thinking to understand and challenge the root causes of inequalities by working with:

  • Leaders to develop their capacity to design more equitable systems and grow powerful new leadership for transformative change
  • Young people who are most affected by these messages, providing girls with the power to reject invisible and normalised messages.

With the ever growing support of senior leaders who are willing to invest in girls, we are building an exciting peer-led movement that supports young people across the country. We can’t shield them from the inequality they already face, but we can provide them with the tools to reject toxic messages and know #TheBestAGirlCanBe through developing a growth resistance mindset.

I’d love to hear what you think and if you are working on this area what you are currently doing.

Twitter: @MitaDesai42

On a mission to double the number of Young Trustees by 2024