‘Gillette: the best a beta can get': networking hegemonic masculinity in the digital sphere

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16 Citations (Scopus)


On 13 January 2019, Gillette launched a short film on YouTube entitled We Believe as part of a campaign addressing negative behaviour among men that perpetuates toxic masculinity. However, the video was subject to a large backlash with over 1 million downvotes on YouTube and thousands of critical comments accusing Gillette of playing into the ‘feminist agenda’. This article examines the configuration of the backlash, specifically examining the networked properties, structure and key actors of the backlash represented in the comments below the YouTube video to understand how masculinities are (co)produced and reproduced in a post-#MeToo digital sphere. The analysis incorporates social network and thematic analyses of the comments posted under the Gillette YouTube video. The study contributes insight into the structure and configuration of a digitally networked backlash public and identifies how digital tactics are employed by a masculine public to achieve digital hegemony in the networked sphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1434
Number of pages18
JournalNew Media and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • masculinities
  • networked public
  • digital platforms
  • Youtube
  • social network analysis
  • men's rights
  • backlash
  • gender

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