Center for Scholars and Storytellers

Whatever you think of the Gillette Commercial on Toxic Masculinity, the ad brought global attention to a critical topic – boys and their role models.

Boys should know that it’s ok to explore ALL sides of themselves. Yet in 2018, many US boys still say:

– They hear boys making sexual comments or jokes about girls once a week
– They feel pressure to hide their feelings when they feel sad or scared
– They feel pressure to be “willing to punch someone if provoked”

Gillette Commercial on Toxic Masculinity

Gender stereotypes can negatively affect girls AND boys. Men who report more frequently that they should act tough, have sexual prowess and use aggression to resolve conflicts are:

– More depressed
– 6-7 times more likely to bully other men both online and off
– Report more suicide ideation


Isn’t it time to portray more nuance in boys and men? Here are a few actionable insights:

1. Show men choose to be teachers & nurses (not just those portrayed as wimpy)
2. Show stereotypically masculine men expressing vulnerability
3. Show boys playing with dolls (this helps them explore their empathic side)

For more research-based actionable insights for youth targeted storytelling visit The Center for Scholars & Storytellers and for more from Yalda T. Uhls visit