When pop culture depicts transgender people, they usually do it in such a facepalm way that I wonder why anyone bothers anymore. The latest what-were-you-thinking? comes courtesy of Libra tampons in New Zealand, which aired a commercial that implies trans folks who dress as women are not “real women.” The commercial shows an ostensibly “real” woman standing next to a trans person in the bathroom, who I guess is a drag queen. They both put on their lip gloss and mascara and adjust their boobs in their tight party dress. Then the “real” woman pulls a tampon out of her purse. The drag queen makes a “hmmph!” face and walks away.
While I think the commercial is clever, it’s undeniably hurtful to transgender individuals who identify as female. First of all, it’s not anyone’s place to make that judgment. I generally feel like if someone identifies as a woman or a man, that person is a woman or a man. Second of all, there hardly seems to be any point in sussing out “real” womanhood from not-”real” womanhood. And lastly, post-menopausal women and women who never have their period due to medical anomalies would be left out of this “real” woman contest, as well, which is additionally hurtful. No one wins when we try to classify human beings by being “woman enough” or “man enough.”
Jezebel has posted a statement from Libra, which says it “regrets any offense taken” but doesn’t directly apologize.
Libra regrets any offence taken to our recent tampon advertisement. It was never intended to upset or offend anyone.
Independent research was undertaken and the advertisement was viewed positively during that testing.
Libra takes all feedback very seriously, and in response to this, we will immediately review our future position with this campaign based on the feedback received. There are no further advertisements scheduled in New Zealand.
Seems very like a very “non-apology apology” to me. Regardless, Business Insider reports the commercial has since been pulled. Thoughts?
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter @JessicaWakeman.