Gillette’s controversial new advert targeting “toxic masculinity” unfairly tars all men and boys with the same brush, Dame Esther Rantzen has said.
The TV presenter and founder of Childline said her experience working with the charity has shown girls can be as “equally unpleasant” as boys.
The advert includes instances of boys bullying other boys and men behaving inappropriately towards women.
It is seen as a post-#MeToo update on Gillette’s famous “the best a man can get” slogan and has caused mix reactions, with fans celebrating its message while others have called for a boycott.
In a letter to The Times newspaper, Dame Esther, 78, said it was wrong to stereotype and blame one gender.
She wrote that it is true “that in some countries men have created regimes that repress women and use sexual violence against them”, adding: “But to bring about the changes for the creation of equal societies we need strong, empowered men and women to work together.”
She said all children need role models “to create a more tolerant, kinder world”.
Dame Esther added: “Adverts such as Gillette’s set men and women against each other and create resentment.”
Others criticising the advert include Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan, who called it “virtue-signalling PC guff” and threatened to choose another brand of razors.
Gillette said the aim of the promotion was to challenge stereotypes of maleness and encourage boys to become “the best men can be”.
The company will also donate one million US dollars (£776,000) per year to non-profit organisations with similar aims.