Controversial “The Best Men Can Be” Gillette Ad Is Actually Brilliant

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Still from Gillette "The Best Men Can Be" ad featuring a father separating two boys who were fighting.

Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” short film is actually the culmination of a longer marketing campaign, and a good one at that. Cause marketing isn’t exactly new, but we have certainly heard a lot more about it over the last few years thanks to the Internet and social media.

It used to take a prohibitively expensive Super Bowl commercial in order for brands to drum up this much ruckus over an ad campaign, and so many brands would save their best stuff for the big day. Gillette, as seems to be becoming increasingly normal for brands, didn’t need a football game to capture the attention of the nation. And outrage, too.

All they had to do was have the audacity to use an ad campaign to suggest that it’s good for men to stand up to bullies, encourage compassion and peacemaking, and to not turn a blind eye or stand idly by if they see sexual harassment taking place.

The concept and tagline, “The Best Men Can Be,” isn’t exactly new. Gillette has been using the tagline “The Best a Man Can Get” for three decades now, and it ran standalone stories featuring fathers teaching their sons to be their best, like the one featuring Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin and his dad, throughout the 2018 football season.

And as I already mentioned, cause marketing, where brands use their ad dollars to also raise awareness for a variety of themes or causes, isn’t new, either. It varies in its subtlety, certainly, but it’s not as if Gillette has invented a new form of cultural communication. Ram Trucks did it when they used a snippet from Paul Harvey’s famous “God Made a Farmer” speech. Both Budweiser and 84 Lumber have taken on immigration. Focus on the Family did it when they made a pro-life commercial featuring Pam Tebow and her son, Tim Tebow, that aired during Super Bowl XLIV. Dove has done many, like their extensive “Real Beauty” campaign, some of which we’ve covered on this very blog.

The willingness of brands to use cause-related storytelling as a means to strengthen a company’s bottom line looks unlikely to go away in the near future. If anything, I suspect we will see more and more companies putting time and money toward aligning their brand(s) with causes that make sense to them.

Which is a double-edged sword. Triple-edged, even, if that were a thing.

Cause marketing as a part of pop culture, especially in an age of fake news and increasingly cautious consumers, will likely never escape the proverbial “sniff test.” Many consumers know inherently that, while probably truly important to a few people who work for the brand in question, most causes that brands get behind are being used in calculated ways. No matter how noble it may appear, the assumption goes, it’s still all about the Benjamins. If a cause turns out to be truly toxic to a brand’s cash flow, then that cause will be quickly dismissed, so why should we pretend to care about brands pretending to care?

Even so, our response to the storytelling of cause marketing campaign tends to be consistently inconsistent. When a brand’s promoted cause or social commentary happens to align with our own personal values, then we’re happy campers. “Hey, regardless of potential monetary motive,” we reason, “it’s nice that such a positive message is getting out into the world.” When an ad campaign runs counter to our deeply held beliefs, though, we cry foul. We want the brands to just “shut up and just sell me stuff.”

The best examples of cause marketing tend to feature two important characteristics: great storytelling and a cause that unites people. Which is why the outrage over Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” campaign, which seems to have both characteristics, is particularly fascinating.

The value that it espouses—that men are strong and that their strength is best used for helping people and upholding justice—seems at face value to be a universally acceptable theme. Who among us doesn’t think that a father should teach his children compassion? Who among us wouldn’t want our son to speak up and intervene if they encounter a man sexually harassing a woman? Who among us wouldn’t want a man to step in if he saw a child being bullied? The Gillette ad is a reminder that that is, and should be, how men act.

In spite of those positive and supposedly universal messages, reactions to the short film have been mixed. Some have praised it for depicting positive examples of masculinity to counter negative examples, but others are upset because they feel that it disparages masculinity as a whole, with some even decrying it as anti-male propaganda. If nothing else, this highlights the tricky nature of storytelling and cause marketing in a post-millennialist culture where everyone is tempted to hyper-individualize and subsequently validate in stone their own hot take on each and every story they encounter.

Here’s the thing, Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” campaign is an encouragement of and call to something that already exists and they aren’t trying to pretend as if they invented the idea of healthy masculinity. One only need look as far as the above-mentioned Gillette ad that aired frequently during autumn 2018 featuring Shaquem Griffin and his father as one small example of that.

Does a brand have all the answers to our society’s ills? No, only in God can those be found. Can a clean shave change the world? No, only God can. Can Gillette raise all of our sons for us? No, only we can do that (and only then with God’s help). But does that mean that Gillette (or any other brand) shouldn’t ever try to make a positive, encouraging difference along the way?

Why is the Gillette ad brilliant? Take a look around, a company that sells razors has nearly the entirety of the popular culture landscape talking about healthy masculinity and what it means to teach boys to be good men right now. The characteristics of a good man found in Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” ad — courage, compassion, and self-discipline — can all be found (plus a few more) in Focus on the Family’s article, “What Boys Need to Learn to Become Good Men.”

Good media discernment applies to all levels of media, not just the movies we watch, and so that means applying it to the myriad commercials we see. Not a one of us is always going to agree with the causes that brands choose to support, but in Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be” short film we have a powerful example of how a brand can use good storytelling to underscore the importance of men boldly taking on their mantles as fathers and role models who can help raise and shape a generation of strong, compassionate men (and, yeah, probably sell a few razors in the process).

Who wrote this?

Jake Roberson is Plugged In’s social media manager and strategist. He’s the father of four children and husband of one wife, and he quite likes life that way. He also likes writing about entertainment, pop culture, dadhood … and food. He’s also a former Guinness World Record holder for participating in the largest hacky sack circle. Catch up with him on Twitter @jake_roberson

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 7 months ago
So I guess it's safe to say not many people are commenting anymore on here. So I guess we finish out 2nd place.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Yeah, I think so bro. It was a good shot though!
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Yeah, it was! Oh well, maybe next time!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Oh i'm sure we will all be having a very similar discussion about some Super Bowl ad in the near future lol
-David the Clown  
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lol. True. Or it will be something controversial from the Super Bowl that will get people talking!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
I think the only way to solve the scourge of "toxic masculinity" is...
EFFEMINATE NINJAS!!!
-The Duke Of Popcorn
Anonymous 7 months ago
Yes! And they combat the even the slightest form of "Toxic Masculinity"

"I'm gonna work out" *punch*
"honey, i'm gonna got try to fix our car" *kick*
"Wow! I love football" *thwack*
"I'm gonna go hunting" *pow*
"I'm think I should grow a beard" *gets KOed and then handed a Gillette razor*

Thanks to these ninja's hard work, all the males in the world weigh no more then 95 pounds, talk with high pitched voices, and have impressive neck beards.
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Ahh what a paradise!
- The Duke Of Popcorn
Anonymous 7 months ago
That reminds me of that one "Hark, A Vagrant!" Strip where a bunch of "Strong Female Characters" single handedily end sexism by beating up a bunch of housewives for being stereotypical.

Hark, A Vagrant! Is solid gold, I tell you.

-Evan
Anonymous 7 months ago
If all the men in the world are gonna weigh no more than 95 pounds, 
they got a lot of work to do on me..... :)

-some guy
Anonymous 7 months ago
I wonder if there will be another new 'controversial' ad during the Super Bowl. Actually, the only reason I'm watching the Super Bowl now is for the ads lol.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
[removed] 7 months ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous 7 months ago
Hahaha! Personally, I want one of the following: Avengers: Endgame trailer, Star Wars IX trailer, Men In Black International trailer.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
I have actually never seen any of the Avengers movies, and I gave up on Star Wars a long time ago lol!
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
@a-non-mouse, I would give u a link, but they would take it down. Basically, its like a gamers skype and Instagram put together. You have to look it up.
Anonymous 7 months ago
OK cool.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Only, let me see, 47 more to go!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
BTW @some guy and @David the Clown 
What are some really good games I should check out?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
I would say Gears of War 4, but the player base is pretty small right now, so I would hold off until Gears 5 comes out this fall.
My brothers really like the Star Wars Battlefront games. 
They also like Call of Duty. I'm really not into that one though. I find it a little repetitive and slow, at least playing online. But the campaigns are decent.
Now, if you don't want to play online, and just play campaign, then Battlefield 4 is the way to go. It is similar to COD, but much more advance.

One of my brothers also really likes the Titianfall games. But they are pretty strictly online.

I kinda wish that we could DM each other lol. This is pretty off topic....
-David the Clown.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Any of u guys have discord? Totally could dm there

-some guy
Anonymous 7 months ago
No I don't have that.
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
I know I wish we could dm!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
What is discord @some guy?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
I'm number 100! WhoopWhoop!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
WE DID IT! YAY!!!
David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
They put back all the comments!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
I know!
Here we come 100!!!
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
very nice!!!!


-some guy
Anonymous 7 months ago
Guys let's try and pass the 100 mark today!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse

@David the Clown (I think we are the only ones trying to break the record lol!)
Anonymous 7 months ago
I think we'll get there homie!
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
@A-Non-Mouse

You guys are not the only ones trying......

btw Anyone play fortnite/overwatch/destiny 2?

-some guy
Anonymous 7 months ago
@Some guy.

I only play Gears of War lol!
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
I want to play Destiny 2 soooooo bad! Lol, need to buy a console first!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Wait, how many more comments do we need to make???

-some guy

Anonymous 7 months ago
About 70 now.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Update: The Article to beat is this one: https://pluggedin.focusonthefamily.com/about-show-dogs/ (Thanks to First Comment Guy for showing me this one!). The record to beat is 149 comments. We can do it! We are a little over halfway there! 

Here is a question if everyone answers we'll get closer to the record: 
Why did you choose the username you have currently? And if you are Anonymous why haven't you come up with a text name?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
In answer to your question:

I really love horror movies, so originally I named myself Davidiswise the Dancing Clown, named after Stephen King's Pennywise The Dancing Clown. And then it just became Davidiswise the Clown.
A while later I was making my Xbox gamertag, and Davidiswise The Clown was too long, so I just wrote "David the Clown" and I just started using that whenever I comment on any blogs or such.

Oh, and why did you ask if I worked at Chick-fl-a?
They have the greatest chicken of all time imo lol!

-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Oh you have an Xbox? Cool! What games are you into right now?

I personally have a PS4, but I really like Xbox too! (Superior controllers imo)
Anonymous 7 months ago
I currently only play Gears of War 4. And i'm really looking forward to Gears 5 coming out this year. I'm hoping that they revel more info on it at G3.
How bout you?

I actually have never played on a PS lol. I grew up with Wii and got an Xbox a little over a year ago, and a friend got me a live membership.
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Because you said, 'My Pleasure.' 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Also, I really like the origin of the name! 

I want to get a console but I can't decide between a PS4 (only because of the Spider-Man game) and an Xbox (Superior controls.)

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Ohhhhhhhhh! I get it now lol!
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
@A-non-mouse
Yeah, i've heard a lot of great things about that Spiderman game. 
I enjoy the Xbox though. You'll find pretty great online communities on it.
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

@David
I currently am replaying all the Uncharted games from beginning to ending, and I have  a platinum trophy in Spider-Man and I almost have a platinum in Horizon Zero Dawn.

@Non-Mouse
If you want great exclusives, go for the PS4 without a doubt. If you have a great internet connection on the other hand, you definitely ought to consider the Xbox One.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I love horror movies as well with the original IT from 1990 perhaps being my favorite one of all. But I also really love Cujo, Silver Bullet, the first Creepshow, every Friday the 13th except for 3 and 5 for some reason, the very first Nightmare on Elm Street, Hannibal, and Dr. Giggles. And though it's more comedic than anything I've also always loved Young Frankenstein.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Ah yes, so you are into the classic slasher films. 
The 1990 IT was very good. It was one of the first horror films I ever saw.
I've only seen the first 3 Friday The 13ths. But I loved them!
I personally liked the SAW and Scream sagas 
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
I made my name some guy because thats just who I am to answer your question

Anonymous 7 months ago
My father admitted to my mother after 23 years of marriage that he was gay, had been cheating on her with several men throughout their marriage, even when they were still dating, and used to verbally abuse my sisters and physically abuse both my mom and brother and me, and after getting divorced quit his job and disappeared off the planet for a good 15 years or so when suddenly he was found homeless in San Francisco. Finally my mom and us found out about it and then he was forced to pay us back child and spousal support for all those years he was gone until finally a few years ago he got in some kind of lovers spat and got hit on the head with something so hard he became catatonic, couldn't do or remember anything about his past life or marriage, and then just like that he died. Just goes to show you that not all men are perfect and some men like myself do suffer abuse along with the rest of their family.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Dude, that's awful. I'm so sorry...

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
I'm very sorry man. I would never claim that men aren't responsible for horrific acts, they certainly are. I have personal experiences myself that, although not near as destructive as what you've described, make me sympathetic to people who have been physically or mentally by men.
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
I think this might help all of us decide what is worth arguing about.....

https://babylonbee.com/news/should-you-be-outraged-a-handy-flowchart

-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
The Babylon Bee is not funny. It's time for Christians to accept that.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Nope. It's hilarious. I should know, I'm a clown
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
I agree with the clown!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Wow.  No kidding.  I heard this guy tell me 'It's like The Onion, but Christian."  I read a few Bee articles and was like "Dude, the only way you could compare this to The Onion is if you've never, ever read The Onion." It was like the 'comedians' on Fox -- completely lame and sophomoric. 
Anonymous 7 months ago
I am wondering something. Why are my fellow males so sensitive? I saw the ad. I do not understand the ruckus. To me, the people getting offended seem whiny and childish. Grow up! 
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

When Plugged In defends an anti male ad.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaotiOp45dg
Anonymous 7 months ago
>calling the ad "anti-male"
>using a JonTron reaction

Yup, this one's going in my cringe compilation. 
Anonymous 7 months ago
So many reactions!
I feel like i'm in a chemistry class or something!
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Oh have a sense of humor bro. First Comment Guys is hilarious. Keep it up hombre!
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
@David the Clown
Having to start a new comment because the old one about CFA got deleted. It was just that you said, 'My Pleasure.'

Also, I think the percentage of people talking about the article has now gone up to about %70 of the comments. 

I also think this is the most comments a Plugged In Blog post has ever gotten. 

And to tell everyone my opinion on the ad: I really don't care. I haven't seen it nor am I going to see it. You all are doing what Gillette had probably hoped for: Talking about their ad. Just a thought, but what if Gillette had good intentions in mind for the ad, but really didn't care as long as people were talking about their product? Hmmmmm... Interesting. 
Again, I haven't seen the ad nor do I want to waste time watching a Gillette short film or ad or whatever it is. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lol. Just fact checked something. So the article that has had the most comments while I've been reading this blog was 'Is a PG-13 Version of Deadpool a Good Thing?' That post got 45 comments. Now, this post has taken the lead with 54! Let's see if we can make it to 75 before the next blog post comes out! Lol.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Ahem...
https://pluggedin.focusonthefamily.com/about-show-dogs/
Anonymous 7 months ago
Oh yeah....I remember that one....
-David the Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Dude, we are of the same mind.
I too have't watched the ad, nor do I plan to. I couldn't care less. This is a complete marketing ploy. A company's #1 goal is to raise revenue, and this was a brilliant way to do it. Make a ad that they know will be controversial. And it worked. So good on them for that. But to pretend that it is anything more then that, is to not understand how a market works
-David The Clown  
Anonymous 7 months ago
My thoughts exactly. 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Possibly, but I could also see this hurting them since they are literally insulting men while trying to sell razors... To men
Anonymous 7 months ago
Yes, it could backfire. I honestly think that they are trying to copy Nike.Which had a pretty successful controversial ad, in terms of marketing.
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
A shame that Pluggedin supports this ad. Honestly, it's probably just because they're politically ignorant. Ah innocence, how I miss thee.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I'm sorry, this is just so funny. Some of you people need to get a productive hobby. Some of you need to take a breath and realize that this is not a life or death issue. I personally do not see this add or article as anti-masculinity or pro-feminine. However, EVERYONE needs to grow in accepting other peoples views on subjects. Not everything is black or white. However, if this article or add claimed something like God isn't real, maybe 10% of the comment effort would be excusable. Until we as a society can be able to have a civil discussion about topics, we will never get better. And this comment feed (ironically on a Christian website) proves just that.   

-Some guy
Anonymous 7 months ago
Sorry, but pretty much everything you said is completely false. Liberalism is taking control of America, and it is not okay that Christian websites like these are right in line with that. This ad is clearly anti-male and pro-feminism. Pretty much any website will agree with that, regardless of their political leaning.

Also, regarding this line, "However, EVERYONE needs to grow in accepting other peoples views on subjects."  Correct me if I'm wrong, but this seems to be pushing the liberal idea of "tolerance." I want to say this as clearly as I can, tolerance of evil (whether that comes in the form of feminism, abortion, homosexuality, or liberalism in general) IS evil. 

Also, while many people are understandably expressing their disappointment with this website, nobody (with the exception of the guy randomly ranting about football) is being uncivil. Fortunately we are able to stand up for our conservative values, and doing that does not automatically make us uncivil.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Ok. let me backtrack a little.

I am very (VERY) conservative minded. I am not liberal in any stretch of the imagination. However, I can see in politics, and in everyday conversations and interactions, that people don't respect others the same way we used to. Its seems like its always my way or the high way. 

I rewatched the add and reread the article. I still do not see how this could be anti-man. The Bible even promotes the main concept of the add.

 As iron sharpens iron,
 so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
 
Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. Titus 2:6

I am all for free speech and I love the liberties this country gives us. I know for me, personally, when I talk or debate about things that are close to my heart and standards, I can get overbearing and judgemental. There is a way we confront people who are living in sin in a loving way, and I believe that is something we all, Christians as a whole, need to work on. 

And on me being tolerant, my point was that it wasn't like idk, some gay couple was OPENLY promoted or something like that. When it comes to these micro issues, we don't have to be all up in arms about it. Also, I wasn't saying everyone wasn't civil. Thank you for those who did respond civilly\


-some guy
Anonymous 7 months ago
Painting everyone who thinks differently than you as "evil" is a very childish point of view.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I used to consider Focus on the family a source of good Christian ideas.But no more.This ad is anti- man ,and more specifically anti-white man.Will not consider FFC for advice concerning my family in the future.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Ditto. This seems like something (minus the out of place talk about God) that I would read at Vox or Huffpo
David J. 7 months ago
Jake:  You're bending over backwards to praise a radical feminist attack on men in general.  How else do you explain the narration in the ad that insists only "some" men are doing it right (i.e., a minority)?  The necessary meaning is that the majority of men are bullies, sexual harassers, domestic abusers, and so forth.  There's really no excuse for your apologetics here, except that you're more interested in being "woke" than truthful.  Counter-examples (if you'll let them be seen):  https://youtu.be/ECfhY-qKj-8 and https://youtu.be/x_HL0wiK4Zc.  C'mon, man.  Quit bowing to the god(dess) of feminism.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Since we all love these so much.....
https://babylonbee.com/news/striking-blow-against-toxic-masculinity-man-graciously-allows-wife-to-shovel-driveway
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Thank you for giving us our daily Babylon Bee news report!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
My pleasure sir!
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
If only we could post GIFs... 

BTW Do you work at Chick-fil-A or something Mr. Clown?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Hahaha! Yeah, that would be great! But for now, we shall have to settle with Babylon Bee links...

No sir I don't. I haven't had the time. I want to apply for a local college for classes this summer, so I've been working double time on schoolwork.
I'm homeschooled, lol

Why do you ask?
-David The Clown
denver baughman 7 months ago
How about we remember to show love and kindness in all things to people we don't agree with. I see a lot of angry people in this comment section and we should all show patience. I don't care which side is right or not but we should always show patience and love in our words. A man is not a strong dogmatic person but a servant. Jesus showed us what a man should be. A leader and a servant. A leader is someone who looks out for the needs of others not what they want for themselves. A man is not cookie cutter either. There are artists and sports player (I know there are more I am just showing the diffrent sides of the spectrum). Being muscular is not what makes a man but how he loves and serves others and leads. That is a man. 
Anonymous 7 months ago
Shhhhhh! Quitet!
I'm trying to feed the Outrage Machine.....
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lol.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lol, It's funny looking at these comments and realizing that only about half of them are talking about the article!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 7 months ago
Wow....you're right...
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Oh, and a side-note...
Congrats to Ben Shapiro and Joe Rogan for winning iHeartradio awards for best Political Podcast and Best Comedy Podcast, respectively.
Gotta beat the Pod Save America bros lol!
-David The Clown
Anonymous 7 months ago
Political correctness is fascism pretending to be good manners (and it's worldly culture) - but talking advantage of political correctness is worse!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Agreed -- the complainers here seem to be upset that the Gillette ad is not Politically or Religiously Correct enough for their tastes.  l
Anonymous 7 months ago
Take out "Toxic Masculinity" and "some men" and replace them with "Abhorrent Behavior" and "most men," and the ad portrays what this article says it portrays - a good message.  The best message about how a man should behave comes from the Bible.  By using the terms "Toxic Masculinity" and "some men," the ad plays into the current radical movement against men.  This movement is fueled by hate for men.
Kendall Litzsinger 7 months ago
Well men are domineering and controlling. My grandmother was a vicim of domestic abuse and that bible of yours is the reason there are not enough laws that protect domestic abuse victims. Men and women should be on equall footing, not one above the other. I know you being conservative probably cannot stand this word but EQUALITY MATTERS!
Anonymous 7 months ago
That Bible of ours is the reason that equality exists. America is built on Judeo-Christian values and Grecian philosophy, and then reinforced by Western thinkers such as John Locke . And America was the first of it's kind to practice a large scale Democracy. Before this, there were only a few independent Greek cities that attempted such a political structure.
Equality itself is built on the idea that all humans have God given rights (i.e "inalienable rights") So to pretend that the Bible is responsible for domestic abuse to be completely ignorant of the history and the founding of America.
So yes, equality does matter (equality of opportunity, not of outcome. This is attainable by minimal regulatory capitalism) 
Also, your statement about men being "domineering and controlling" is, to use the SJW term "sexist"
-David The Clown