Masculinity walks a razor’s edge

Harry's touching film about what it means to be a man finds emotional root amid a confusing topic for boys.

Shaving product branding has walked a strange path through concepts of masculinity. The fact that we designate certain razors as “for men” to begin with is enough to cock an eyebrow at (blue handles for boys! pink handles for ladies!). But when you look at some brands that dove into stereotypes for (presumably) satirical reasons and came out the other side with a lot of scantily clad women, it’s enough to make you step back a bit.

Seemingly in response to that is Harry’s new online film, which shows a young teen struggling to define what a “man” really is. In a market where men now serve as models for cosmetics, maybe it was time to acknowledge that traditional boundaries really have broken.

It’s worth noting that this spot embraces a certain amount of ambiguity about the issue, not expressly saying that boys can (or should) rebel against the stereotypically male traits. Instead, it leaves room for a lot of views with the line “there are no rules, really.” But with a nice character twist at the end, the work does acknowledge a larger emotional space for boys to explore.