Is Sprint’s Ad Against The AT&T And T-Mobile Merger Transphobic Or Just Dumb?

THE SHOT – Sprint’s advertisement against the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger puts a cigar-smoking man in a dress with the tagline: “No matter how you dress it up, this takeover is bad for consumers and the economy.” Why’s a man in a dress gotta be bad, huh? He’s no Alexis Mateo or Manila Luzon, but would getting outraged over this be like Sarah Palin getting outraged over the idiom, “putting lipstick on a pig”?

Image via The Dallas Voice

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  • VagrantMan

    You’re over thinking it.

  • john

    Not trans phobic at all. Stop reading so much into it. It’s the T-Mobile girl’s dress on a slimy business man–a mash-up of the two companies images.

  • Roger Rabbit

    This merger should not be allowed because AT&T and T-Mobile are the only two companies using GSM format in the US, while it is being used exclusively in Europe and South America.

    THIS MERGER WILL GIVE AT&T A MONOPOLY ON GSM IN THE UNITED STATES. Anyone wanting to use a phone and be able to swap GSM chips will ONLY be able to use AT&T phones, thus eliminating competition for this type of phone.

    I agree! BAD Idea

  • J. R. Braden

    @Roger Rabbit: Queerty wasn’t making a comment on the politics of the merger, it was simply overreacting–as usual–to a picture of a man in a dress, as if only women, trans women, and gay men lip-synching are allowed to wear dresses.

    It’s not about gender identity: they put a disgusting businesspig in T-Mobile’s trademark pink dress to show that the mascots we’re told to think of when we think of companies are only disguises for pigs like this.

  • PerplexedStudent

    You’re overthinking it, and artificially framing the question in the article title.

    The “faux-outrage” is really tiresome–not everything is a slight against the community.

  • divkid

    naaah, just uglyphobic.

  • Shannon1981

    I don’t think things like this are deliberately transphobic, but we need to get away from the idea that there is something freakish about transgender women, that it is ok to laugh at them,etc. That’s the problem here. The fact that this ad was run at all, anywhere, means that in the minds of many, laughing at the trans community is still ok. It isn’t.

  • Michi Eyre

    As one of the people who was involved in complaining about this campaign, I felt that it was not an appropriate way to encourage the public to contact Congress to stop the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile when we are also trying to get people to contact Congress to pass a trans inclusive ENDA.

    The “man in the the dress” has been the main piece of fear that our opponents have been putting into the ears of legislators in the battleground states and I did not feel that it is bad timing.

    Some of the organizations who “approved” this ad are ones that I am indirectly allied with through my work in low power community radio and feel that one cause that is promoting the advancement of oppressed members of the community at the expense of others.

    With all of the legislation as well as the recent crimes, such as Chrissy Polis, the image of the man in a dress, no matter how comedic it may appear, is not the right image that any 501(c) advancing civil rights and representation should be forwarding.

    It turns out that some of the organizations whose names appear on the advertising copy did not see the actual ad copy and therefore, the approval was blind.

    I have already received word from Media Access Project and from Center for Media Justice, two organizations that I called out in my open letter, that transphobia has no place in their organizations.

    I have also received word that the website associated with this campaign will also be torn down.

    I thank these organizations for their quick responses to my complaints as well as other complaints that were received by Sprint, the sponsor of the message.

    My organization, REC Networks, while the founder (myself) is transgender, it is not a GLBT advocacy organization but is involved in media justice issues that do include access to the airwaves for GLBT organizations.

    Michi Eyre
    founder, REC Networks

  • VagrantMan

    @Shannon1981: So we’re not allowed to laughed at an ugly dude in a pretty dress?

  • Jaime Renee

    While kind of silly to me, I wouldn’t call it transphobic and wouldn’t really give it a second glance if I saw it somewhere. I think we need to save our outrage for things that are intentional misreprentations of trans women.

  • Chris Reynolds

    I have to wonder if the people commenting on this as not being transphobic are actually transgender?

    This ad is quite clearly putting out the idea that there is something inherently strange about men in women’s clothing.

    This is no different than the Superbowl Snickers ad where two men “accidentally kissed” and presented it as something gross and weird.

    It’s quite possible that the ad company thought that is was just a melding of the two company’s spokespeople, but in this day and age, any ad person who is worth their salt needs to look at their ads from more than one perspective. And if I were a transgender person, I would see this as transphobic – oversensitive or not.

  • Shalon

    really? transphobic? to put the lead guy from one company in the dress from the other? has to be all about the trans sexual imagery and not at all about how unatractive the whole idea of this merger is.
    when you hear hooves, think horse, not Zebra.

  • Jaime Renee

    @Chris Reynolds: I’m transsexual actually, is that close enough? Just seeing a man wearing a dress shouldn’t automatically link it to trans anything, it is sometimes just a man wearing a dress. The key thing to me is that the man is just being a man, not trying to present himself as female or trans at all, just wearing a dress, barefoot no less, probably even lacks proper foundation garments. I just can’t see it as being transphobic and I’m somewhat sensitive myself.

  • lookyloo

    What does a man merely wearing a dress have to do with transgendered people..?

    Cross dressers, maybe. But transgendered..? How..?

  • David Gervais

    I don’t see it as transphobic. In this case I endorse comments 12, 13, & 14. Much more important is the summary by Roger Rabbit (3). Remember how much we believe in diversity? Diversity is the issue here too.

  • Melissa V

    I think they are making a point that if you dress a manly man in a pretty dress, he’s still a manly man, and if you dress ATT up as T-Mobile, its still ATT. It may be a little insensitive to the trans community, but I don’t think they mean to be degrading.

  • Teddypig

    So what they are saying is doing drag is being somehow transphobic too then?

    I think there are some people who need to try wearing their big girl pants.

  • Meowzer

    Speaking as someone in advertising…. I don’t see it as transphobic. I see it as just plain stupid. It would have made more sense if they used a guy who resembled the actor in the actual commercials. Anything other than that is lame.

  • Michi Eyre

    As one of the people who raised a major issue with the ad, let me make a couple of things clear on why this ad is offensive:

    – First of all, the organizations who approved this ad (the numerous organizations shown under the picture) are all 501(c) non-profit organizations including at least a couple of them who are working towards assuring that minority groups (including GLBT) are properly represented in the media through the availability of low power FM radio stations and other media resources.

    – Over the past few weeks, we have been fighting battles in Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and especially Maryland where transgender rights have been on the agenda. We continue to hear the stereotype from employers of the male employee who suddenly comes to work wearing a dress… the “man in a dress” stereotype. Plus, with the recent negative stereotypes of transgender/crossdressers on Saturday Night Live and the ongoing exploitation on the Jerry Springer Show, we are having to fight the misperception of transsexuals and intersex people from how the mainstream sees us.

    – The ad is a call to action to contact Congress to stop the AT&T acquisition of T-mobile. It is happening at the same time when the GLBT community is doing calls to action to contact Congress to pass a trans-inclusive ENDA.

    – In statements made to me on this issue, the head of Center for Media Justice stated that there was no place for transphobia in her organization. The head of the Media Access Project admitted that this was in poor taste.

    – While the ad was not maliciously transgender, it is not appropriate for non-profits who are fighting for rights of minorities to use negative stereotypes from one minority issue to promote the cause of another.

    If we already had a trans-inclusive ENDA and we were not up against votes in Nevada, Maine and Tennessee, this would have been an issue, but less of an issue.

    See the two messages posted at recnet.com for more information on this.

    Michi Eyre
    founder, REC Networks

  • no thanks

    So is Dame Edna “transphobic”?

    Are we going to outlaw people of one gender shopping in the clothing department of another gender because of how it makes trans people feel?

    We really have fallen off the deep end with this bullshit.

  • Jaime Renee

    I’m thinking that in cases like this, where nothing trans was in the ad, that perhaps our community is aiding in linking “men in dresses” to trans women. Its like we’re saying that “man in dress” equals trans, so no more obvious men in dresses. I think its not a good road to go down when there are worse misreprensations out there that are specifically targeted at trans people. Uncle Milty would be turning in his grave.

  • TheMegaBitch

    Just using the Comic Sans font in anything makes these guys freaking morons…

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