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.