Anytime change is introduced, people, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or gender misconstrue this as an attack on themselves. The reality is that everyone believes that they are good people and to suggest otherwise forces them to look introspectively at themselves, which is the real issue. Most people in general don’t change unless they are forced to change. Most people tend to change after someone breaks up with them, their health is threatened, or if they experience a traumatic experience. To change means we have been doing something wrong, so if we are confronted with change, we will vehemently deny it because it allows us to not think about who we are.
This has nothing to do with masculinity or race, but happens to be more pronounced in those who are privileged. Those who are privileged tend to have their voices heard more often over those who are minorities and not the norm. Just because we are confronted with change does not necessarily mean we have been doing something wrong, but sometimes it does. When statues of southern generals from the Civil War were taken down, people were upset because they did not believe they were wrong and to take them down indicated that they perhaps were wrong in erecting the statues in the first place. It allows people to believe that they were right and to threaten that threatens their core beliefs and so, people will fight tooth and nail to retain their ‘culture.’
With the Gillette ads that admonish unsavory tendencies of men, many men who do not commit these tendencies are deeply offended simply by the suggestion that they are lumped into the same category of these men without acknowledging that this category of men exist. Then there are a few men who have done these things and they vehemently deny that these things are issues because once again, to do so would mean they have been wrong this entire time and need to change. As such, we get an ‘over-reaction’ of defending oneself, which leads to defining oneself by their past and not being able to change because of it.
If we don’t have the ability to change, we will always remain stagnant, never learning or growing beyond who we were. Change is difficult and hard and that in of itself needs to be acknowledged. Change will never come easy socially and individually, but simply realizing that we all approach change the same way should tell who we are.