If you wanted to compile a list of legacy corporations in America, you would have to put Procter & Gamble at the top of the list. P&G was founded in Cincinnati in 1837 by two immigrants, one English (Proctor) and one Irish (Gamble). To add a bit of historical perspective, at the time there were just 26 states (Michigan had just been admitted). Texas, one year after the Alamo, was an independent republic. California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and a portion of Colorado were still part of Mexico.
As P&G’s product lines expanded and distribution networks fanned out, the company grew with the country. By the middle of the 20th Century, a P&G job in Cincinnati was about as secure as working for Ma Bell (as the phone company was fondly called before a 1983 antitrust lawsuit broke it up) or having a government sinecure in D.C.
In more sensible times, it was sufficient for a company to manufacture good products at fair prices. Good public relations was important but companies did not take stands on political issues that did not directly affect their industry. In more recent years, however, corporations do not hesitate to weigh in on the issues of the day, even when it would seem to alienate portions of their customer base. Such is the case with P&G.
In 2017 Batten Barton Durstine & Osborn, a blue chip New York advertising agency popularly known as BBDO, produced a “commercial” for P&G. Referred to as “The Talk,” it won an Emmy in the commercial category. The two-minute spot is actually a Public Service Announcement or PSA. It consists of a series of vignettes of black parents having heart-to-hearts with their children about the horrors of racism in America: the bigotry of low expectations, assaults on self-esteem, name-calling, and driving while black. The film ends with graphics stating “Let’s all talk about the talk so we can end the need to have it,” followed by P&G/My Black Is Beautiful, and #TalkAboutBias. Curiously, all the parents having the Talk are mothers! Didn’t anyone notice that by omitting black fathers they were playing into the stereotype of the modern American black family as a matriarchy?
The cost to buy two minutes of airtime on network TV isn’t exactly chump change, but there is no attempt to sell a product in this “commercial.” Ironically, P&G was also nominated for a conventional commercial for Tide in 2017.
In early 2019 Gillette, a subsidiary of P&G, offered its infamous “The Best Men Can Be” commercial. A variation on the company’s longstanding slogan, “The Best a Man Can Get,” it decried bullying, sexual harassment, mansplaining, catcalling…pretty much the whole toxic masculinity package in less than two minutes. The “commercial” had nothing to do with razors or shaving cream.
The ad angered many viewers and puzzled others. After all, men of all sociopolitical opinions shave. Why would any company buy airtime to alienate a significant chunk of its market (not to mention its stockholders)? This is no way to increase market share, but in today’s political climate it is not enough for a corporation to build better mousetraps and sell them for reasonable prices. Do-gooding, moral grandstanding, virtue signaling…call it what you will, it is now part of the equation.
The same year the Gillette commercial came out, P&G CEO David Taylor stated, “The world would be a better place if my board of directors on down is represented by 50% women.” At the time the board had a roughly 2:1 ratio in favor of men. The next year, Taylor had his 50/50 split. Have to wonder if he wasn’t ripping off Justin Trudeau and his famous “Because it’s 2015” equity dictum.
P&G’s social justice credentials appeared to be impeccable, but it never hurts to get some additional insurance. To stand out from the pack, a global corporation needs a pet project, something it can call its own. And P&G found one.
If you surf the internet at all, you have come across gobs of podcasts on topics you may or may not care about produced by people you may or may not have heard of. You might think diversity would not be a problem in this medium, but you would be wrong! P&G knows better! They have teamed up with iHeart Media and Seneca Women to create a Podcast Academy – for women only! A contest was held to find ten stunning and amazing women who would then be given all the assistance needed to launch their podcasts on the Seneca Women Podcast Network. According to Seneca:
The six-week intensive program will kick off in May and will include one lecture per week with direct access to industry-leading mentors, all women who are at the top of their respective fields in podcasting. These workshops will be led by established podcast hosts, producers and executives, allowing the winners to gain valuable information about all aspects of the podcast business including development, sound engineering, distribution, marketing, sales and overall operations. Creators will also receive a stipend and top-of-the-line audio equipment to produce episodes of their shows, which will all become part of the Seneca Women Podcast Network.
Needless to say, there are probably any number of men who could benefit from such a program. In fact, iHeartMedia is on record as saying that half of their new podcasts in the past year are hosted by women. If that’s the case, then why restrict the contest to women? Well, it’s the old “women’s voices need to be heard” trope. Of course, if you promote only women, then only women’s voices will be heard. Baritones need not apply.
So who are these ten stunning and amazing voices? Predictably, they are an ethnically diverse group. Just as predictably, they deal with the usual self-help themes (e.g., personal finance, dating), but they also feature more esoteric themes, such as “Unusual Hobbies,” “Hallmark [TV movies, not greeting cards] Junkies,” and “The Memory Whisperer,” a show about Alzheimer’s. The most intriguing is a women’s health show called “My Vagina Said What?” Well, I guess women’s voices must be heard, no matter what orifice the voice emanates from. (B Movie Recommendation: Chatterbox, a 1977 film about a young woman with a talking vagina.)
Ah, but P&G has not forgotten about men! You see, P & G has been sponsoring a podcast called Man Enough since June 21, 2021. The host of the podcast is Justin Baldoni, an actor/director/producer, and author of Man Enough: Undefining My Masculinity. The blurb for the book calls it “A GRIPPING, FEARLESS EXPLORATION OF MASCULNITY.” Oh, I get it – like The Dirty Dozen? Not hardly.
Well, in podcasting, it’s always a good idea to have sidekicks to bounce ideas off, and Man Enough is no exception. To that end, the podcast also features Canadian Liz Plank, author of For the Love of Men: From Toxic to a More Mindful Masculinity. Her establishment credentials are impressive. At McGill University in Montreal, she majored in women’s studies and international development. After receiving McGill’s prize for outstanding undergrad women’s studies major, she followed up with a master’s degree from the London School of Economics.
Some of her post-academic achievements include writing for the Huffington Post and “Flip the Script,” a video series, and serving as a columnist for MSNBC. Marie Claire magazine ranked her among the most influential women in media, and she was named one of the World’s Most Influential People in Gender Policy by Apolitical. She is ranked as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in media and she is on the board of Girl Up, a UN Foundation non-profit that exhorts girls to change the world.
I ask you, gentlemen, if Liz Plank isn’t qualified to expound on masculinity and offer advice to men, then who is?
In looking up Jamey Heath, the third member of the podcast team, I thought he might have something interesting to say, as he writes and produces songs.
I was wrong. On his web site, the first thing one sees is the slogan “One planet, one people, please.” Then he offers us this gem of wisdom:
“Unless I’m doing it with a global purpose it feels like a waste of time.”
Geez, how provincial can you get! When I sit down at my keyboard , I have a cosmic purpose in mind. Please park your geocentric privilege, earth man!
Summing up, we have two Americans, one black and one white, plus a Canadian woman. Not sure what sort of grade that would register on the DEI meter, but it would probably pass muster. Call it three peas in a podcast.
Well, if you’re curious about this trio, there’s a year’s worth of past podcasts on YouTube, so take your pick. Before you do that, however, check out the promotional video:
I like to think I’m a fairly articulate individual but after sitting through this preview four times, words fail me. Actually, a number of words come to mind: touchy-feely…psychobabble…New Age…metrosexual…cuckfest. I just can’t string the words together cohesively to describe what I saw. I’d love to hear what a focus group of Teamsters would have to say about the show. It makes the Oprah Winfrey Show look like Face the Nation. Nothing I say about this clip could compete with the clip itself.
The podcast purports to be about redefining masculinity, but it appears they steer clear of a number of important manosphere topics, namely: family law courts, female-only affirmative action, false rape accusations, circumcision, debunking the pay gap, the ruinous social costs of single motherhood, male disposability, hypergamy, gynocentrism, MGTOW, or any of the topics you read about regularly on this web site.
I could be wrong, however. Maybe they’ll invite Paul Elam to be a guest on the show…or Mike Buchanan…or Sandman…or Stefan Molyneaux. Sure, and maybe one day you’ll see Turd Flinging Monkey on Wall Street Week.
A blurb for the podcast says it’s about “how traditional structures and attitudes toward masculinity oppress and negatively affect men, women and humanity as a whole.” We get “honest and at times uncomfortable conversations with assorted folks.”
That’s right, it’s yet another one of those conversations we need to have, and when all is said and done you need to get on board with the hosts. Agreeing to disagree is not an option. It’s for your own good, of course.
Now I’m not calling for a boycott of P&G because of this stuff. For all I know, their competitors are just as bad. Suffice to say that their corporate policies belong in one of their best-selling products.
I refer to Pampers.