Gillette – The Best A Man Can Get?

{Also features on The M Word}

Let’s start by stating the obvious about all publicity – generally speaking it’s probably safe to say that all publicity ends up as good publicity, true?

It certainly seems to be true for Gillette anyway, who have managed to get the world talking about their recent ad which aims to wipe out sexism and promote equality. Taking phrases like ‘boys will be boys’ and highlighting how boys should be boys, but just respectful ones.

I’ve written about this topic before – here and here – it’s a topic I feel strongly about especially in relation to the fact that I am raising two boys, and I will be doing my level best to make sure they feel equal to everyone else. I think Feminism is assumed that it’s something only for girls, that it’s only girls who need to be taught that they can be anything or do anything, but boys need to know that this is also NORMAL – they should not feel like they’re doing anyone a favour by agreeing to that, or allowing it, it should just be as normal to them as it is to know that they too can do whatever they put their minds to without gender playing a part.

So with that in mind – I love the ad. I think the message it portrays is completely accurate, and completely necessary. The #MeToo movement IS happening, boys ARE taught that they shouldn’t display emotions, and most importantly, if you KNOW something is wrong you should ABSOLUTELY stand against it, even amongst your peers. Especially amongst your peers! I really hope I can teach my sons to be able to do this, to have the courage to do it because of course it wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. I’ve seen comments online where, I suppose it’s coming from a place of feeling threatened, men are unhappy with the idea as if it’s about something being taken away from them, rather than being given to all of us.

Photo by Samantha Sophia on Unsplash

However.

There’s a definite conflict happening here from Gillette. As much as I like their ad, and think well done Gillette, you’ve risked alienating a massive proportion of your audience and customers here for a really important and necessary cause, (for publicity let’s not forget) but let us also not forget that women grow hair too, and therefore, women might also want to use your products. Gillette might be more associated with men as a male brand, but they of course realise that women don’t naturally have bare legs and bare armpits and bare anything else and so they market at us too.

And here’s the conflict – if they’re all about feminism and equality then why are their products for women all in the typical pink, feminine, soft wishy-washy colours? And worse, why are they all priced higher than the same products for men? This happens across almost any product that is sold to both men and women, so it’s hardly a surprise, but when you’re shouting so loudly about how you’re all for equality, then maybe actions speak louder than words!

Let’s take a look to prove my point. This morning I went on to one of the main supermarket chains website and searched for Gillette. First up is shaving gel.

Gillette – The Best A Man Can Get is a hefty discount
  • Aimed at Women – Satin Care Sensitive Skin Shaving Gel – €1.44 per 100ml
  • Aimed at Men – Classic Sensitive Skin Shaving Gel – €1.25 per 100ml

Hmm. Next up is razor blades –

I think we can tell which is aimed at men and which one is aimed at women. One is €1.98 per blade and the other is €3.00 per blade..!!!

It’s not shocking because it’s not new, and yet it is shocking because it’s just sickening. And yet, it clearly works because women are obviously spending more money on the same product just because it says the word ‘satin’ or because it’s a nice colour, and basically because the marketing is working and convincing us that our hairs shave differently to men’s hairs do. This problem occurs across lots of products – even to pens..!

So on the one hand, Gillette need to do as they say really and for me to be completely impressed, stop charging women higher prices for sexist reasons. On the other hand, the ad does attempt to teach a very important and necessary lesson, and we can only hope that in the end feminism and equality are the real winners out of it all.

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The Day We Went To Zog’s House

This post is a collaboration with, and is sponsored by Chill.ie

I was given the opportunity recently to take a look at these e-books, put together by Chill Car Insurance which gather together a collection of suggested places to drive to within Ireland. They group them into categories such as, ‘Ireland’s Most Beautiful Drives’, and ‘Hidden Drives Ireland’, and even one with helpful tips on driving in the winter.

One of the books, Irish Cultural Drives, which has a section of suggested places to bring the family, includes places like Dublin Zoo, or the Doolin Caves. But actually, when I spotted The Rock of Cashel listed under the cultural section, it inspired me to bring the boys there and make it a day of adventure for them.

We had never been before, and it just so happens that one of Rian’s favourite books is Zog, by the author of The Gruffalo. Zog is a dragon who goes to dragon school and learns all the basics of being a dragon, like flying and breathing fire, and rescuing princesses from castles… and what better place to hunt for Zog than the Rock of Cashel?

His little face when we told him where we were going….eyes lit up, and the questions came fast. ‘Will Zog be there? Will we see him? Does he fly up high? WIll Princess Pearl be there too?’

It was an easy sell. If there’s one thing I’ve realised recently is that at this age (four and two), they really don’t care where we are, or where we go, as long as they can come too. Whether it’s a trip to the shop to do the weekly grocery shop, or a walk around the block, or our favourite walk in the woods, they really don’t care. Obviously I love to see them outside and running around as much as possible, especially this time of year when the weather isn’t great, so this was a good chance for us to go somewhere new.

When we got there, as expected on an overcast, cold day in  January, it wasn’t too packed with tourists which we were glad of. Rian spotted the castle as we drove into the town of Cashel – ‘I SEE THE CASTLE MAM!!’ There was no sign of Zog yet though, so we decided after the hour long drive to go for a bite to eat first in Cashel as I’m pretty sure it’s harder to find dragons on an empty stomach.

After a delicious lunch in a cafe called Bowes & Co (highly recommend a visit here!) , off we went to The Rock.

After a bit of a confusing and unnecessary loop around Cashel town centre – twice! – before we eventually found the right turn, we parked the car and walked up the hill. Rian was on constant lookout for Zog… so far though no luck. I started to wonder how he’d take it when it turned out we weren’t actually going to see him, and was wondering about just how clever I actually was, when we got inside and the OPW staff member greeted us.

‘Excuse me, is Zog here?’

Straight in, no messing around. The OPW lady, whose name was Julie-Anne, looked slightly confused. ‘Ehhmmm… hmm. Let me see…’ and she looked at me for guidance, looking slightly panicked! ‘Zog is our favourite dragon from one of our favourite books… we were wondering if he’s home at the moment?’

Full credit to Julie-Anne. Without skipping a beat she said ‘OHHH Zog? Yes Zog lives here! Come over here and I’ll show you where his bedroom is’.

She led us into the main part of the ruin. ‘Look up there, do you see those windows high up? That’s Zog’s bedroom’

Rian’s little face couldn’t believe that we were actually where Zog lives. Susan showed him various things, like if you look out this window here, sometimes you can see him whizzing by, but he flies so fast sometimes you can’t always see.

‘So is he home then?’ The moment of truth. Julie-Anne looked at her watch. ‘ oh no, not at this time, he’d be out looking for his dinner now’.

I looked at Rian wondering how he’d take the news.

‘Oh right no problem, maybe we’ll see him tomorrow then!’ And that was that!

We spent another half an hour or so just walking around and taking in the beautiful views, even on a dull grey day. The kids were able to run around themselves without making too much noise, full of adventure and wonder, something that I hope lasts forever but of course it probably won’t.

But maybe some of the magic will always linger regardless, memories of the day we went to Zog’s House.

My Guide to the New Year

I feel a bit sorry for January, it kind of got the short straw when the fun months were being dished out. I mean, each of the other months have something nice in them really don’t they? February for example, apart from being thought of as the romantic month, produced me….does it get much better than that…?!

So here we are in poor old January, poor in every sense. I get paid monthly, and in December we get paid a week early, meaning we’ve to wait what feels like a millennium before we get paid again. Zero craic.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to try and cheer January up a bit for myself. Surely there’s lots about January to love…? New starts, feelings of determination to change something about your life.. improve your health or break habits you no longer want to be in. But these veer dangerously close to Resolutions. I’m not a Resolutions sort of person.

Resolutions for the most part, I find, build you up then just make you feel like crap when you haven’t achieved them. That’s all they do.

So I’m going to call them Goals instead. Rather than thinking of ways I need to change myself, or would like to change my life, I’m going to think of ways to add to things rather than taking away. Of course there’s always the want (or need, in my case) to lose a few pounds, do more exercise, that’s not reserved just for January let me tell you. BUT, this year I’ve decided to approach it differently. The fact of the matter is, this is me. On a body positivity note – my body has done a lot for me. I’ve always battled with my weight, that’s nothing new, but I’ve put it through a lot with all the losing and gaining back weight, the fertility treatment, then two tough pregnancies and the recovery of the latter does not come easy. And I’ve tried! And continue to try. For the most part I do everything right – I eat well and feel that overall I make good choices. I exercise as much as I can, of course there’s room for improvement there, but with the two boys, and a commute to a full time job, this makes it tricky to do as much as I want or need to. It might sound like I’m making excuses – I’m really not. This is how it is – this is how I am.

But instead of beating myself up about it, which is what I normally do, I’ve decided to change my outlook. There’s some things I can control, and there are other things I simply can’t. I just don’t have all the free hours I’d like to be able to spend my time how I’d like to, that’s life. So in this department, I’ll continue on with what I can. Next.

This year I’m going to add things to my life. I’ve decided I’m going to learn new things – recently I picked up some random craft kits in Aldi, and I’ve surprised myself by really enjoying doing them! Simple little kits, for example one was a soap making kit, another was putting together a felt flamingo – it’s not that I have any particular need for felt flamingos in my life! – but it seems it doesn’t matter what I was making, it was the process of putting it together that I really enjoyed. I made a felt owl and a felt fox for the kids… and more recently, over Christmas, I got addicted to the tv show on Channel 4 – Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas… it was a revolution! There are so many crafty things I’ve never heard of before. ‘Quilling’ is one, ‘Felting’ is another…. who knew these were a thing?! Not me! But I’m gonna give them a go!

I’m the sort of person that needs a side focus. Exercise, for me, is not a hobby, it’s something I do because I know I need to do it. So for me, it’s not relaxing, it doesn’t serve as a distraction or as a creative process, which I’ve figured out, is something I really enjoy doing. As long as I’m creative in some way or another, I’m happy. Doesn’t matter how crap or how good the output is, it’s the taking part that counts!

So my guide to this new year at least, is to add to your life, rather than deciding to change it or take things away. Find something that improves your life, even something small on a day to day basis. Learn new things – doesn’t matter what it is really, find something you want to do, a way you’d like to spend your time. Doesn’t matter how good or bad you are at it – the benefits are so noticeable! For me at least.

Maybe next year’s goal will be a new house to put all my crafted, felted and quilled masterpieces into….! The possibilities are endless.

 Now that it’s written here, I have to do it! Ready… set… GOal..!