A guest post from Renee of Womanist Musings, my fave mommy blogger.
I know that I am late to this, and that many of you may have already
seen this commercial, or read commentary about it, but in good
conscience, I felt that I had to throw in my two cents as it were.
women are standing at the mirror of a public bathroom. The trans woman
on the left is heavily made up, while the cis woman on the right’s make
is very understated. They both begin to apply mascara with each taking
turns looking at each other. They then proceed to both apply lip gloss
with negative looks being exchanged. The cis woman on the right pushes
up her breasts and then the trans woman on the right does the same, with
her clearly larger bosom. The cis woman is clearly frustrated by what
appear to be her inability to compete and so she smiles and pulls a
tampon out of her purse and waves it at the trans woman. The trans
woman gives her a dirty look, throws her purse over her shoulder and
leaves. The tag line there appears: Libra gets girls, love libra.
This ad is so blatantly transphobic and sexist that it’s disgusting.
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
No one wins in the battle of more woman than thou. These artificial
divisions only serve to benefit patriarchy because they keep us
distracted from the real issues facing women today. Trans women and Cis
women share many of the same issues, but in the case of trans women
they have the extra added bonus of being forced to negotiate transphobia
and cissexism. Anyone not seeing this commercial for exactly what it
is, really needs to give consideration to the idea that the master’s
tools will never dismantle the master’s house.
Most of us exist with some sort of privilege and one thing can be
certain, if we embrace the idea that oppressing someone to maintain our
privilege is natural or a sort of social good, then we don’t have a
single leg to stand on, when someone else comes to this same
determination to justify their oppression of us. We don’t need an
institutional other, what we need to do is come to the understanding
that oppression is big freaking circle jerk. The only way to truly win
our own personal freedom, is to fight not only against our own
oppression, but the oppression of others. As marginalized people, we
have far more in common that we do in difference.
Obviously, I am not an Australian and so I cannot boycott this product,
but I did some research and found some contact information for those who
are interested in letting Libra know that what they did was offensive.
Libra website: http://www.lovelibra.co.nz/about-libra/contact-us/
Libra FB: http://www.facebook.com/Libra?sk=wall
Please be forewarned that the facebook site is a cess pool of transphobia.
Editors Note: I have been made aware that the commercial has been
yanked however Libra is still allowing transphobic commentary about this
commercial on their facebook page.