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Home / Technology / Dear Travis Kalanick, watch this deodorant ad – CNET…

Dear Travis Kalanick, watch this deodorant ad – CNET…

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.


Uber interns?


Unilever North America

There’s a certain smell that wafts around Uber.

It’s an aroma of hair-raising haughtiness blended with an unhealthy stench of Neanderthal masculinity.

Dear Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, you can change. Not fake PR change. Real change.

I’m going to help you. Here’s a new ad for Axe. For years, this popular young man’s deodorant brand was the very symbol of male stereotyping. Yes, just like you.

But now look.

The ad is based on Google searches that young men have made, as they struggle with what it is to be a “real man.”

“Is it OK to not like sports?… To be a virgin? … To experiment with other guys?” it asks. “Is it OK for guys to wear pink? … To be nervous? … To like cats? … To be depressed? … To be scared?”

Unilever, the brand’s owner, said in a press release that 59 percent of young men believe they should act strong even if they feel scared. Acting strong is popular right now — not just at Uber.

Axe, though, said that young men are challenging what the brand sees as “toxic masculinity,” the notion that men are men and just get out of their way.

In this case, the brand is partnering with nonprofits that work with young people to get past such stereotypes, as they sometimes face bullying and violence and even contemplate suicide.

You can do it, Travis. Yes, your brand has been garlanded with a rampant male stink that appears to have classified sexism as sport and ostentatious nastiness as success. There is, for example, the evidence presented earlier this year by former Uber engineer Susan Fowler.

This wasn’t the first time you’ve been accused of espousing prehistoric male tendencies. Remember when you berated one of your own Uber drivers for being, well, just not the Uber-man that you are? Oh, you said you were going to change. But did you? Will you?

You said that you were addressing the “cult of the individual” in your apologia. But it’s really the “cult of the ‘real man,'” isn’t it?

So listen to this teenage brand telling you that the world is changing. Quickly. Despite what your man-friends tell you.

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.

CNET en Español: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.


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