Transphobic New Zealand Tampon Ad Pulled

New Zealand-based feminine hygiene company Libra has stirred up some controversy with an ad for tampons that sends what some call a transphobic message. In the ad, two women, one in subtle makeup, the other in heavy make up, enter a bathroom. The women apply makeup and compare breasts, with the heavily made up woman coming out on top with the larger bosom. Finally, the woman one on the right pulls out a tampon and flaunts it in front of the trans woman(not sure if they meant her to be a drag queen or trans woman, but most drag queens don't go out in full drag outside of the gay club, so I'll go with trans woman), causing the latter to leave the bathroom in a huff. And scene. Watch below.

Personally, I feel this ad reeks of hot messiness. It seems again, like the creators of Work It, that Libra's advertisers have confused being transgender with dressing in drag(and even if they haven't, see my view on that above). Notice how the woman on the left was big and masculine looking with exaggerated makeup, while the one on the right was petite and feminine with understated makeup? It's all designed to say "Look at this freak, with her big hands and man shoulders. She can slap on some makeup and get her breasts done, but she's not a real woman. But I think Renee of Womanist Musings, who wrote about the commercial in a guest post over at Trans Griot, really hits the nail on the head:

"Let's start with the most obvious suggestion, the idea that menstruating defines you as a woman.  I am so sick and tired of this ridiculous suggestion.  First, not all cis women menstruate.  There are plenty of women who have to take medication in order to have a period to get pregnant, and of course those of us who do menstruate regularly will eventually reach menopause. The idea of menstruating defining womanhood means that plenty of cis women would be excluded.  Menstruation as the determinant of womanhood is a fallacious argument at best.

This argument is further sexist because it reduces woman to the ability to bleed once a month.  Seriously?  Is that all there is to say about women?  It is extremely reductive and offensive. I also think it is worth mentioning that the idea that women are always looking for opportunities to compete with each other is sexist.  Who stands in a bathroom and compares themselves to another woman so blatantly? From my experiences, most people simply want to do their business, clean up and leave as fast as possible. 

In an effort to make a profit, what Libra did was engage in the age old strategy of divide and conquer.  Libra knew damn well that there are plenty of cis women who are actively engaged in maintaining cis supremacy. Feminism itself has a long history of excluding trans women and labeling them everything from men in dresses to frankenstinian.  What Libra did was depend on transphobia to sell their product to women and in the process encourage cis women to continue to defend their privilege."

Read the rest HERE.