#8: Boys will be boys?!


Teens and young adults aged between 14 and 20 years.


Toxic masculinity


Watching the video along with a short pre-viewing and post-viewing discussion should take approx. 15 minutes. A teaching unit should be scheduled for the exercises.


This video is a Gillette advertisement from 2019. It went viral, so the press also commented on it. It serves as a good base for discussions on toxic masculinity and masculinity overall, as well as on stereotypes of boys and men that are ingrained in society. The advert provides the opportunity to discuss these matters critically and deconstruct stereotypes.


1 Watch the video together:

2. Group work followed by a discussion in plenary:

This video is an advertisement for Gillette. Watch other videos of the same brand on YouTube. What images of masculinity are portrayed?

3. Group work followed by a discussion in plenary:

“Pinkwashing” is a recent English term to designate brands using characteristics from feminist movements to make money. (There is also the term “greenwashing” to describe the same behaviour but using climate action as a façade.) What do you think? Is Gillette pinkwashing here? Do you think this is positive or not?

4. Questions for discussion in plenary:

This video was infamous worldwide. Gillette was inundated by hate comments and “dislikes” under its YouTube video. Why do you think this video provoked so much rejection and hate?

5. Find examples of “toxic masculinity” in your daily lives. Following this step, the participants can perform role-plays of the examples they identified. They can do this in smaller groups or in front of the group as a whole. How did the participants feel? Who suffers from this type of behaviour? What could be done differently? The role-plays about negative behaviour must be followed by role-plays portraying positive attitudes.

6. Questions for discussion in plenary:

Why do some boys demonstrate “toxic masculinity”? Where did they learn to behave this way? Do girls promote this kind of behaviour?

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