So here’s some unnecessary and unkind rubbish in a new ad from Libra, a company selling tampons, pads and liners in New Zealand and Australia. The ad is thirty-one seconds long.
Excuse me? They’re competing to be real women by performing conventional femininity, and then conventional femininity doesn’t really matter, only the capacity to menstruate determines genuine womanhood? Even leaving aside the implied snub to cis women who don’t bleed due to age or illness or some such, the huge smack in the face to trans women in order to police the boundaries of womanhood to sell a product is really not on.
The negative reaction to this ad, I’m happy to report, has been pretty strong, and has been spreading across social media all day – check out Libra’s Facebook wall [Edit 8 January: apparently more transphobia, including in other ads, is being posted to that wall now, just to warn you].
Wanna tell Libra exactly what to do with their ad? The Australian freecall number is 1800 806 991 and there’s a contact form on the Australian website. The New Zealand freecall number is 0800 44 62 47 and there’s a contact form on the New Zealand website. The email address for both countries is libra [at] sca [dot] com. Obviously, you don’t have to be in either Australia or New Zealand to email.
If you’re wondering about what to say, you can model your response off mine:
To whom it may concern,
I’m writing to voice how unhappy I am with your new ad in which a cisgender woman pokes fun at a trans woman for not menstruating. It sets up a divide between those who menstruate as “real women” and those who don’t as fake ones. It also plays into the idea that trans women can only want and fail to emulate a very particular kind of appearance, through the competition with make up and such. As a cis woman who menstruates, I really don’t feel comfortable being positioned as somehow more legitimate than my friends who suffer serious discrimination and violence for who they are, and whose gender identity is not a joke. Please don’t use this ad, and in future don’t rely on this kind of thinking to promote your products. I’d appreciate a company statement on the matter and your future direction along these lines.