The Gillette Syndrome

Gillette Syndrome   When an individual or organization acts against its well-being, because of the requirements of its consciously-professed beliefs.


We see in the news that Gillette has taken a major hit, no doubt largely because of its infamous commercial accusing its natural customer base (people who shave) of being sinners against the new state religion of liberalism.

(ht Dalrock.)

Why would they knowingly offend customers actual and potential?  Because nowadays everyone is supposed to agree with feminism, which requires, inter alia, badmouthing men.

Business, especially big business, will always be conservative in the literal sense of supporting the existing order. Now that the public order is leftish, big business has to support the left because failing to do so will upset the public. Part of human nature is wanting to believe that your leaders know what’s best, so these days most people support leftism. Seeing leftism openly challenged upsets the public and possibly gets you a visit from the local lynch mob.  Business can’t openly oppose the left.

But mankind’s instincts remain unchanged. They may tell you they support women’s rights, but most people still don’t like girly men or commercials which badmouth manliness.

Therefore Gillette finds itself in a situation we may call the Gillette Syndrome. Their beliefs require them to act in accordance with doctrines which hurt them. The same is true for many other businesses.

(Some businesses do profit from liberal madness. They’re in another category altogether.)

Business is not alone in that state. Christians, whites, and people who support traditional morality and social order are all in the same predicament. The left hates these people, but they have to go along with the left in order to avoid the SJW lynch mobs. Many of them accept the doctrines of the left, and go full Gillette.


But nobody has to remain stuck in the Syndrome. There are always creative ways to break out. Like its cousin from Stockholm, the Gillette Syndrome tells you to act against your best interests, but you don’t have to.

18 thoughts on “The Gillette Syndrome

  1. Gillette’s eight billion dollar loss is like shaving under the skin!

    I never saw the infamous advertisement, but it was enough for me merely to read about it. I immediately stopped buying Gillette products.

      • That is the difficulty with sticking it to companies like Gillette. They are part of Proctor & Gamble, which makes practically everything so boycotting is difficult. And their competitors aren’t much better (Unilever makes a lot of competing products, but is just as converged). May have to find a nice single edge and hope I don’t nick the jugular!

  2. One aspect of this phenomenon is neglected; which is that decisions are made by individual people (and committees); and nowadays these people are managers; and management is a generic career that does not depend upon any specific corporation or institution.

    A manager can pursue a successful career within the cross institutional world of management while leaving behind a wake of declining or destroyed organisations. Indeed, a successful manager seldom stays long enough to be still present when the consequences of their bad decisions have worked-through; and anyway, the link is always deniable.

    By contrast, if a manager makes some well known and ‘brave’ decision, takes a ‘principled stand’ in favour of some politically correct issue, implements a radical (and destructive) re-organisation – does almost Anything big and impressive sounding; this opens doors in other institutions – even (or sometimes especially) if the decision is a commercial or economic disaster, managers move between the private and public sector, from regulated to regulatory institutions, into education, health services, ‘charities’, NGOs etc.

    A CEO who destroyed a manufacturing organisation like Gillette on an issue of political correctness will be admired and probably find desirable job offers from Leftists in a wide swathe of non-commercial organisations.

    So it is common – usual – for a manager to sacrifice his current employer to buff his CV for the next employer.

    The same applies to politicians, who are also managers; including prime ministers and presidents. They will often damage their own parties, even lethally, if it benefits their future power, status, wealth, perversion (or whatever it is that motivates them).

    • Western countries are committed at the elite level to liberalism, which is destructive of the country and all it contains. It’s civilization-wide Gillette-Syndrome suicide.

      At least that’s the direction our elites are aiming us. The goal of management is always to implement liberalism, not get the actual job done.

    • Well described, Mr Charlton. That was my experience in the corporate world too. Everything is about “this quarter”, and when it is time to pay the piper, the failings are ignored because the catalyst has moved on.
      The crazy thing about politicians and this same principle. is that they are still in office and should have to be accountable… but it is never news to report that this man voted 10 years ago to give Federal Employees almost total ownership of their jobs for life, or voted to allow members of Congress to engage legally in Insider Trading or voted to repeal the last of Glass Steagal and to push through Graham Rudman …. And as you note, the lobbyists who will employ them after-office don’t care anyway.

  3. Pingback: The Gillette Syndrome | Reaction Times

  4. One blogger I read now calls the company “Jillette” Ha! My husband was a lifelong customer.. he switched to a different company that he orders from, and he’s happy with his new company.
    We changed church denominations some years ago due to the denomination falling prey to Gillette Syndrome and just continuing to double down. That was a difficult move for my husband as he had been, again, a life-long member. But after we made the change, he discovered the whole of the Bible and the great reality of the Holy Spirit …. so our Lord Jesus rewarded him richly for his choice to follow God rather than be misled by man/womyn.

  5. I stated this many years ago.

    When a corporation chooses “radical autonomy,” the corporation “self-annihilates.”

    So for an example, the NFL choosing “radical autonomy” becomes the anti-NFL, ie., becomes not about football.

    Self-annihilation, to be viable, just becomes the anti-self.

    Gillette, in its temptation for “radical autonomy,” thought it could become a thing NOT about shaving and male grooming. Will its brush with subsidiary self-annihilation send the correct signal to its all-encompassing Corporation?

    Time will tell.

  6. Corporations are an extension of an individual’s autonomy. Sometimes, to a radical extent. The utter amorality of the modern corporation means some individuals really do enjoy a “freedom” that goes far beyond most people’s loftiest conceptions. Ultimately, though, this “radical autonomy” is autophagous. The desire and drive is all-consuming. Not a search for self, but its deconstruction. Essentially, a “corporation” reverse-engineered.

    When a people choose self-annihilation, so will its “corporations.”

  7. In the soon to be de-United Kingdom, we call this the ‘Ratner Effect”; after Gerald Ratner who used to head Ratner’s – the largest chain of jewellery shops in the Kingdoms Three. The bold Gerald doubtless thought it great fun to stand up at a business convention and mock buyers of Ratner’s biggest-selling gold necklace by saying the product was ‘crap’ and worth less than a prawn sandwich. Needless to say, the Reptiles (ie: the Press) were present and dined on him. Ratner’s sales and share price collapsed so quickly that Gerald soon was toast – financially speaking, that is

  8. PS: That Gerald’s analysis of the real value of Ratnet’s product was accurate is where he went wrong. Ratners were not selling ‘value’, they were selling the illusion of value.
    Once the balloon was punctured (by Gerald forsooth) the writing was on the wall.

  9. The Gillette Syndrome is a peril for companies with low-status customers such as men. It is like a man who mocks his low-status friends in the hope that mockery will put some daylight between himself and those losers. It is like those people who make a show of distain for the place they live or the place they work. They are trying to signal that they really don’t belong there, and that it is only by some bizarre accident that they are not living in Paris or working in Hollywood. It is fairly common among university professors, some of whom mock their students in an attempt to signal that they, personally, ought to have far better students in a far better university.

    But in the case of Gillette, I think you must add the compulsive proselytizing that comes with wokeness. Once your woke, the old Sunday school song applies to you:

    “Hide it under a bush, oh no!
    I’m going to let it shine!”

    • Once you’re woke, the old Sunday School song applies to you:
      “Hide it under a bush, oh no!
      I’m going to let it shine!”

      Ha, ha! That’s good!

  10. The mood of the members of P&G investor board is getting foamy.

    “Foamy”… because Gillette sells shaving foam. See? I made a joke.


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