Aya Masarwe was killed in Melbourne.

Dear angry men, Gillette is not worth your rage, but Aya is

News Corp Australia
17th January 2019 3:44 PM
Premium Content Subscriber only

As women despair over the killing of Aya Masarwe and men despair over the Gillette advert, journalist SHERELE MOODY says it's time to get some perspective.

On Tuesday evening, 21-year-old Aya Masarwe hopped off a tram in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora after spending the evening at a comedy show.

Shortly after she left the tram, the young woman was killed.

Codey Herrmann, 20, was charged with rape and murder a few days later.

Aya was a young woman on the trip of a lifetime when she died.

Her home was in China where she studied languages at Shanghai University but she was a Palestinian Arab with Israeli citizenship.

She had been in Australia for some months, undertaking a program at La Trobe University and falling in love with our country.

As Aya was dying, far too many Australian men were collectively losing their minds over an advertisement.

By now, you have probably viewed the two-minute Gillette promo that encourages men "to be the best they can be" by rejecting norms of masculinity that underpin major issues in our society.

Issues that impact every one of us in some way, including high male suicide and violence rates.

A new Gillette ad tackling 'toxic masculinity' has sparked controversy.
A new Gillette ad tackling toxic masculinity has sparked controversy.

Companies that sell razors have spent many decades and much moolah convincing women that body hair is unnatural.

With this advertisement Gillette might have caused some inward trauma for a lot of blokes but it hit the ball out of the park for women who are the primary buyers of shaving products for the men in their lives.

The creators put onto film what so many females think about toxic masculinity - we just want men to move away from doing things like catcalling women in the street, getting into fights at the pub, refusing to open up about their emotions and in the worst of cases, beating their partners up or killing them.

It has been asked over and over the past few days - How would we females feel if women were the focus of this advertisement instead of men?

For myself and the women I know, this would not be an issue.

Why? Because we understand and accept that not all women are violent, but all women should ask ourselves what we can do differently to reduce this.

If women are harming other people, then perhaps there is something our gender is doing wrong, we need to question how we reduce the underlying factors that lead to "toxic femininity".

Of course, #notallmen hate the Gillette advertisement and #notallmen are blinded to its message - but the negative response shows many men just don't get it.

Social media photos of Israeli exchange student Aia Masarwe.
Social media photo of Israeli exchange student Aya Masarwe.

Today, as the news of Aya's death spreads across the country and we women shake our heads in despair, these same blokes continue raging about the bruising their masculinity suffered in the name of shaving cream and razors.

Their lack of outrage over the killing of Aya shows their perspective is somewhat skewed.

Instead of being angry about this advertisement, it's time for these men to be angry about the actions of other blokes.

Be angry at the men who rape women - or men.

Be angry at the men who hit women - or men.

Be angry at the men who kill women - or men.

Be angry at the fact that 10 Australians have been already been killed this year, that nine of the victims are men and that all of these deaths are alleged or suspected to have occurred at the hands of men.  

Men need to be angry at the men who are letting their entire gender down.

Maybe it is time for men to stop posting photos of razors in toilets to social media.

Maybe, instead, they can start by speaking to other blokes about their bloody bad behaviour so that one day soon, women can venture into the evening alone, feel safe in their houses, walk their dogs along beaches or go about their lives without always looking over our shoulders.

If you don't do it for yourself, do it for the women in your life and do it for Aya.

News Corp journalist Sherele Moody is the recipient of the 2018 B&T Women in Media Social Change Maker Award and has multiple Clarion and Walkley Our Watch journalism excellence awards for her work highlighting violence against women and children. She is also the founder of The RED HEART Campaign and the creator of the Femicide Australia Map.

*For 24-hour domestic violence support, phone the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.