THERE’S always been something a bit naff about the glossy Gillette adverts, but the message was clear.

Use these shaving products and you too can be a strapping hunk in the boardroom and on the sports pitch. You can be athletic, smart, and sensitive. You can be one of the locker room banter guys, you can teach your boy to shave, and you’ll have great skin your girlfriend will love. Your life can be the best a man can get.

Now it seems men have to be a whole lot more than all that. They must address the sexist, patronising and violent behaviour of men over the years, hold themselves accountable for toxic masculinity, and set a better example for the boys of today - the men of tomorrow.

At least that’s what I think the new Gillette commercial is saying. The ad shows men behaving badly - the only woman in a boardroom meeting is dismissed by her Alpha male boss; a middle-aged actor lunges at a female co-star, while an all-male studio audience laughs; there are sexist pop videos, a wolf-whistling cartoon.

And it shows men being good - a boy looks on in awe as his dad tackles a gang of bullies; a guy steps in, saying “Not cool” as his pal is about to call out to a passing woman; a young father encourages his little girl to tell herself: “I am strong”. Another dad breaks up two little boys fighting.

Among the macho images, the #MeToo movement is referenced. “Men need to hold other men accountable,” says a male voice. It’s a deliberately provocative advert that, inevitably, has sparked much debate over the past week. It has been described on social media as both “an assault to masculinity” and “pro-humanity”.

The message behind the ad appears to be that men need to look long and hard in the mirror - indeed, that’s exactly what some men are doing as the advert begins - and make changes.

I think we all need to make changes, regardless of gender. Women too need to look to the behaviour of the past, take responsibility and be good role models for the women of tomorrow. I don’t think women who make a living stripping or glamour modelling are a great role model, yet we’re not expected to hold them accountable.

The Gillette advert addresses bullying. Some of the nastiest bullies I’ve come across, in the playground and the workplace, have been female. But if an advert like this was made about women, there’d be an outcry. Why should women have to apologise for their gender? Well, why should men?

While we’re urged to celebrate womanhood, men “need to hold other men accountable”. Yet masculinity doesn’t always equal bad behaviour. Yes, we should be raising boys who are responsible and respectful, but what a minefield they face. As my teenage nephews embark on a new stage of their lives, with girlfriends and parties, I wonder what the rules are, in these #MeToo times. Are they allowed to tell a girl she looks nice? Put their arm around her in the cinema? Hold the door open, pull her seat out, offer to pay on the first date? These are things they have brought up to do, because they are good manners.

Who looks out for the men, and the boys? According to the Samaritans, men remain three times as likely to take their own lives as women, and the highest suicide rate in the UK is among men aged 45 to 49.

This issue needs to be addressed, because it clearly isn’t the best a man can get.