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Bloody Hell

UPDATE: Is This Tampon Commercial From New Zealand Transphobic Or Just Stupid?


In the above commercial for Libra tampons, a drag queen in a slinky dress is engaged in a standoff with the biological female next to her. The biogirl “wins” the absurd pageant when she pulls out a tampon, thus demonstrating a real woman’s superiority via her ability to menstruate.

Cherise Witehira, president of the trans rights group Agender NZ , told the New Zealand Herald that many in the community were outraged at the commercial, calling it “blatantly transphobic.”

“It’s extremely offensive because it’s pretty much saying the only way you can be a woman is to get your period,” Witehira said. “Obviously we can’t menstruate. However, we identify as female.”

Libra’s slogan is “Libra gets girls” but we’re not sure this clip indicates they understand anything, let alone half the human population. Mixing marketing and crass humor has certainly  gotten Kiwi companies in trouble with transgender advocates before,. And here in the U.S. ABC is still getting nasty e-mails about its upcoming cross-dressing sitcom, Working It.

But while we can see how the ad would rankle some, the character in this spot is a drag queen, not a MTF.

That’s an important distinction—as any trans woman can tell you.

UPDATE [Jan. 3, 10am]: Libra has issued a statement regarding the controversy.

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.

The advertisement has not aired in Australia. The advertisement was placed on Facebook however this has also been removed.

The ad’s still live on Libra’s home page, though.

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    • Steven S2

      if the character is a drag queen not a mtf, and that is such an “important distinction”… why should a tranny be offended? i thought the commercial was cute. and i’ll tell you the drag queen won the pageant because she doesn’t have to be bothered with tampons.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 6:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ray

      It was just funny.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 7:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • karlos

      Really? This was what all the hoopla is about?

      Honestly, sometimes our community needs to just learn to laugh.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike UK

      some people should just get a grip, it’s funny, enough said!

      Jan 2, 2012 at 7:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stewart

      It’s both.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE

      Drag queen wins: if that girl needs her tampon that night, she probably won’t get laid.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz

      This actor is a Tranny. Not a MTF transexual. World of difference.

      As far as offensiveness: bio women get made fun of ALL THE TIME… (often here)
      for the fact that they menstruate. This is light and silly and in a weird way empowering. I’m not gay because I hate women, (I am not Jason), but because I love men. My mom was a woman. Though we don’t talk about it, my sisters are too. One of their kids might be! So things that are marketed to women and make them chuckle don’t offend me.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MEJ

      If the drag queen wanted to win, she should have moseyed over to the toilet, and pissed standing up.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 9:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981

      I’m genderqueer. I have periods, yet I do not necessarily identify as a woman. In short, the makers of this commercial are stupid people who know zilch about gender.

      Jan 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael Glover

      It’s silly, bordering stupid! I thought it was promoting cigarettes!

      Jan 2, 2012 at 11:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark

      To all the gay men out there who think they own the word tr*anny – you don’t. Stop saying it.

      Jan 3, 2012 at 1:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael

      I’ll stop saying “tranny” when people stop lumping gay people in with crossdressers and transsexuals. There is no such thing as “LGBT”. It is a made-up nonsense word.

      Jan 3, 2012 at 6:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty

      @Michael: All words are “made up”, dear.

      Jan 3, 2012 at 6:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • whatever

      Ya’ll can say tranny if you want. I am MTF and I give you permission. (sticks tounge out at Mark) :P

      Jan 3, 2012 at 10:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz

      @Mark: You don’t get to colonize my culture and language.

      Jan 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Adrian

      This commercial is silly because I know very few women that enjoy bleeding from between their legs every month.
      I think the “non biological woman” in the video is the real winner. one less feminine product to spend money on.

      Jan 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cinesnatch

      I thought the commercial was cute, but I’m not trans. I think Fitz nailed it in comment 7.

      Jan 3, 2012 at 2:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DenverBarbie

      @Fitz: Brilliant!

      Jan 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jess

      The commercial didn’t bother me one bit but many of the comments did. Gay men need to STFU and quit pretending that they know all about Transgender people just because they know a drag queen and quit lumping them all together and downplaying our situation. Go back to your Go Go boys and twinks. If you don’t want us in your community then fine. I’ll quit trying to help y’all get married and get your “Equal rights”

      Jan 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris

      This video was controversial ! it let me to this – http://bit.ly/Ar2CIm

      Jan 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • plazaboy

      I watched the commercial and didn’t think it was that funny but i don’t see anything especially wrong with it. If there are any MTFs that read this site and are actually offended, could you tell me why this is particularly offensive?

      Is it because you realized that even after changing to a “female,” you still won’t have a period?

      Jan 3, 2012 at 9:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robbie K.

      It was funny…period ;-)

      Jan 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AshleeKel

      The reason this advert is offensive to transwomen is because it makes the point that “real” women have periods, and anyone that doesn’t is instantly less feminine. I find that offensive on so many levels. But it’s not just offensive to transwomen, but also cisgender women who can’t have periods for whatever reason. Does that make them less feminine? To me, that’s certainly what the advert is implying. There’s more to being a woman than bleeding once a month, you know.

      I’m also appalled by the levels of transphobia on this website. This is certainly nothing new to Queerty, as I can’t remember the last time I saw an article where the users here were anything but transphobic.

      “Is it because you realized that even after changing to a “female,” you still won’t have a period?”

      What a charming statement. We didn’t change genders no more than you changed your sexuality.

      As for the others, moaning about the T in LGBT, I think Jess put it best; “If you don’t want us in your community then fine. I’ll quit trying to help y’all get married and get your “Equal rights””. It’s quite frankly disgusting that for a site that wants to promote gay equality to have members that actively hate others just for who we are. That’s true hypocracy.

      Jan 4, 2012 at 10:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dave

      @AshleeKel: Crossdressers and transsexuals are mostly straight and are not in one “community” with gay people. Never have been. This was made up by trans activists who realized that they are much better off attaching themselves to gays. Once LGBT was invented, they started demanding that gays focus on things like transsexual bathroom issues and sacrificing ENDA b/c it didn’t protect crossdressers.

      Gays and trans people could be allies on a few issues, but it makes no sense to lump them together in one fake community. The only reason this happened is because trans activists connived to make it happen and gays were too clueless to object. We should object now.

      Jan 4, 2012 at 11:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • flow

      agender forgot to ask its members what they thought.
      a better assessment would be ‘a few’ thought it offensive. quite a lot enjoyed it for what it was.
      some of us are annoyed that agender, who should have known better, effectively confused the wider public as to the difference between a drag queen and a transwoman. again. idiots.

      Jan 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Storm

      the whole thing is funny but to add reality, Sandee’s portrayal in the ad is more what most associate with a Transgender or cross dresser. A good drag queen knows how to use foundation to cover her beard yet clearly Sandee was encouraged to show a beard growth.
      Its clear the ad was not trying to portray a Drag Queen but a Transgender.
      Libra gets girls but Transsexuals get men!!!

      Jan 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Spigs

      I’m offended because the notion of functiong reproductive organs, and the ability to breed should never define a women. For the majority of mainstream NZers, the distinction between a Drag performer and a Transwomen doesn’t exist. I don’t think the distinction is clear enough in this mainstream ad.

      Jan 10, 2012 at 5:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mish

      Trans women of colour started stonewall, not gay men. You’re the ones who co-opted our movement.

      Jan 10, 2012 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MarlaR

      I and a lot of people found the line between is this a “drag queen” or am I watching a trans gender woman. The distinction id blurred for many people, making the message muddied, confusing and upsetting. I think its better to understand why people would be offended than tell them to ‘get over it’. Are we that cruel?

      Jan 13, 2012 at 7:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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