Is This Spoof Always Ad With Drag Queens Transphobic — Or Revolutionary?

Men aren’t usually in commercials for period products. But this spoof ad — which Proctor & Gamble denied via Twitter is affiliated with Always — has lots of them. Men in bright red lipstick, men in bustiers, men with beehive hairdos that would put Amy Winehouse to shame. The spoof stars drag queens and lots of ‘em; each one is boo-hooing like a three-year-old girl because he’s got man parts down south. “There are some people who would just love to have a period,” the subtitling reads. “Let alone a happy one.” I, a person not usually known for her love of advertisements, think the commercial is actually pretty revolutionary. I mean, drag queens? In a commercial? And it’s not the Super Bowl and they’re not being mocked?

Other bloggers did not quite agree with me, calling the commercial “transphobic.” Christie Thompson, at first unaware that the ad was a spoof, wrote on Ms. magazine’s blog wrote, “[C]all me humorless, but I failed to see what’s funny about the Always commercial given the real trauma that many trans people go through.” She also pointed out, correctly so, that “not all drag queens want to become biological women, as the ad seemingly suggests.” Some drag queens are men who are happy with their man parts. Some drag queens are James Franco. The possibilities are endless.

So the spoof may not be particularly accurate, but I don’t think it’s hateful or particularly hurtful. Thompson, on the other hand, writes she now “hate[s] Always … for mocking others’ hardship to sell me a pad.” Yikes.

Do you agree that this spoof commercial is “transphobic” or do you think it’s mostly harmless? If it wasn’t a spoof and it were a real commercial, would that change how you feel?

[Ms. Magazine]
[Twitter: Procter & Gamble]