Of Razors, Corporate Responsibility, Virtue Signaling, And “Toxic Masculinity”
Gillette, a subsidiary of the multi-national corporation, Procter and Gamble (P&G), has released a controversial new ad ostensibly exercising the new ethos of corporate responsibility to instruct men as to what genuine masculinity is and how they ought to behave. If the intent of the ad was to stir debate, it has been successful. There are varieties of advertisements but we may fairly lump them into two categories: sales and branding. This ad clearly belongs to the latter category. It is intended to position Gillette as a socially aware, sexually enlightened, up-to-date company.
Before I criticize the ad—and there is much to criticize—let me assure you gentle reader that this no brief for bullies or brutes. I have mostly avoided engaging with the “biblical masculinity” movement. At least some of the more public advocates of (e.g., Mark Driscoll) have demonstrated that they have not a clue as to what Scripture requires of men. I have no sympathy whatever for the “biblical patriarchy” movement nor for a theologically and historically sloppy “Eternal Subordination” arguments of some complementarians. The “Biblical patriarchy” movement is typically attached to the theonomic ethic, i.e., the unbiblical and un-Reformed view that the civil laws and punishments instituted under Moses are still in force and ought to be executed by the civil magistrate. That is a flat contradiction of Westminster Confession of Faith 19.4:
To them also, as a body politic, he gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.“Patriarchalism” is a loaded term that signifies different things to different people but by it I mean the mistake of not accounting for the progress of redemptive history. There was a divinely instituted patriarchy under the period of types and shadows (the Old Testament), which expired with the rest of the types and shadows. Jesus is the federal head of all believers. There is a “headship” principle to be observed in the church and family but there is no longer a divinely sanctioned state-church or a theocratic state. In 1 Timothy 2:11–15, Paul grounds his principle in creation and in Ephesians 5:22–33 in grace. We will return to the latter passage next time.