Transphobic Tampon Ad

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Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby dedalus » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:02 am UTC

Kinda surprised this hasn't been posted here already - hope I didn't miss it

Link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10776580

Spoiler:
Libra is removing a television ad for tampons after a storm of complaints.

The ad features a drag queen and a blonde woman in a bathroom, seemingly competing against each other.

They apply make-up and adjust their bras before the woman produces a tampon.
Defeated, the drag queen walks out.

Libra said it "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 said on its Facebook page.

"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 advert has not aired in Australia and has been removed from the company's Facebook page.

Wellington Gay Welfare spokesman Stu Donaldson told Radio New Zealand adverts like the Libra one that "ridicule" transgenders could lead to suicide, while former Labour MP Georgina Beyer, the world's first transgender MP, described it as a "cheap shot".


"Somebody got paid an enormous amount of money to come up with that and at the expense of a minority in our society who the last thing they need is inane comments like that being made about them," she told Radio New Zealand.

Libra's Facebook page received a barrage of criticism, but also some support, mainly from men.

"Your commercial is disgusting. It's misogynistic and transphobic. WOMEN ARE NOT DEFINED BY THEIR PERIODS," Katje van Loon wrote.

"Accepting people for who they are, not what they are, is not Basic Human Decency. It is basic, human decency," Cassandra Spencer wrote.

"Transphobic media like this ad contributes to bullying and youth suicide," Bayne MacGregor said.

However many people felt the advert should remain on air.

"The ad does not discriminate, it merely points out the obvious. Only real women menstruate, that is not to say all real women DO menstruate. The two ideas are completely different and all the people complaining are to ignorant to see that.," Jocob Dexter said.

"Your latest "drag queen" ad is both clever and funny and hardly offensive to most people. It is part of the Kiwi culture and Kiwi humour to laugh at our ourselves so why are these outspoken minority reading any more than humour into it?" Ian Deynzer wrote.

"I personally didn't find the ad offensive as I am a menstruating woman but I can completely understand why other women would find this ad offensive and they have a right to have their say. Everyone should stop telling them they are overreacting and actually try to understand," Kairan Meek said.


First thought - wow. Just, wow. If I was a woman, I'd be making sure I didn't buy Libra after that little stunt. I'm wondering how their marketing board actually thought they should let that through though...
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Adacore » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:13 am UTC

"The ad does not discriminate, it merely points out the obvious. Only real women menstruate, that is not to say all real women DO menstruate. The two ideas are completely different and all the people complaining are to ignorant to see that.," Jocob Dexter said.

I find this quote very offensive - far more offensive than the advert in question - since it states explicitly that trans women are not 'real women', which is obviously wrong. In fact, by dint of seriously reporting this quote, I think I consider the article itself more offensive than the advert it's reporting on.

I can't really tell just from the report, but I don't have a massive problem with the advert itself. It's just a bit of fun, it's not stating that the transgender woman is 'less real', it's merely mocking petty competetiveness in bathroom culture in a light-hearted way. But maybe I'm misreading the tone of the advert.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:15 am UTC

Adacore wrote:
"The ad does not discriminate, it merely points out the obvious. Only real women menstruate, that is not to say all real women DO menstruate. The two ideas are completely different and all the people complaining are to ignorant to see that.," Jocob Dexter said.

I find this quote very offensive - far more offensive than the advert in question - since it states explicitly that trans women are not 'real women', which is obviously wrong.

If you define "real" as "biologically" or "genetically", which I think is a valid definition in this case, then the statement is accurate. You're reading socially weighted definitions of "real" into that statement that I don't think exist.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:21 am UTC

"Real" has more connotations when speaking of gender than biological however. If someone says you aren't a "real man", they almost certainly aren't talking about your biological or genetic gender. I think Adacore is right to be offended.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:22 am UTC

Adacore may be right to be offended, but I don't think that he's right in saying that the spokesperson was being offensive.

And also, context matters. If somebody says that I'm not a "real man", they aren't going to be talking about my biological sex.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:30 am UTC

AFAIK, "woman" is not a term in common use in the field of biology.

Apart from that, the quoted commenter's analysis of the ad is wrong. If the message of the ad were that "Only real women menstruate," then the trans character would not lose a "contest of femininity" by her inability to menstruate. The punchline of the ad is that the character who does not menstruate loses the competition, i.e. she is not a "real woman." This is equivalent to the claim that "all real women do menstruate."
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Hawknc » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:39 am UTC

The "real woman" thing was a comment from some asshat Facebook user, I can't say I feel the need to dwell on it. The actual tagline from the ad was "Libra gets girls"...which I don't think is that much better, admittedly, but I think it's also a motto they've had for a while now. I'm glad they listened and pulled the ad, though. Hopefully this will convince them that they need a broader cross-section when they do research.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:43 am UTC

Hawknc wrote:The "real woman" thing was a comment from some asshat Facebook user, I can't say I feel the need to dwell on it.

Right, he's just a rando, but the fact that he's wrong about what the ad doesn't say shows something about what the ad says. To wit, that not menstruating makes you less feminine. Isn't that the problem with the ad in the first place (apart from the tagline)?

Edit: Which is not to say that everything that can be said about that comment is relevant, but the sentiment that "real women menstruate" is in the ad regardless of some guy also bringing it up later.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby pollywog » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:18 am UTC

I saw this ad on teevee a few days ago (it might have been yesterday or the day before, can't remember) and explained to my girlfriend how nasty it was. She doesn't quite get it yet.

Good that they've pulled it though. I'd like to think that NZ is thought of as an inclusive society, and people calling out shit like this is a good thing.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Not A Raptor » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:52 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Adacore may be right to be offended, but I don't think that he's right in saying that the spokesperson was being offensive.

And also, context matters. If somebody says that I'm not a "real man", they aren't going to be talking about my biological sex.


dictionary.com wrote:of·fen·sive
   /əˈfɛnsɪv or, for 4, 5, ˈɔfɛn-, ˈɒfɛn-/ Show Spelled[uh-fen-siv or, for 4, 5, aw-fen-, of-en-]
adjective
1.
causing resentful displeasure; highly irritating, angering, or annoying: offensive television commercials.
2.
unpleasant or disagreeable to the sense: an offensive odor.
3.
repugnant to the moral sense, good taste, or the like; insulting: an offensive remark; an offensive joke.
4.
pertaining to offense or attack: the offensive movements of their troops.
5.
characterized by attack; aggressive: offensive warfare.


As regards the spokesperson, one applies whether he meant to or not. Seems like a valid use of the word to me.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:00 am UTC

As Hawk mentioned, he's not a spokesman. Just somebody who commented on a facebook page or a petition or something.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Triangle_Man » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:05 am UTC

Would you consider 'Male and Female' as applicable for the biological aspect of sex and 'Man and Woman' as applicable for the social aspect of gender?
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby poxic » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:11 am UTC

"Real women menstruate"? So... trans women are not real women. Women who are pregnant, or who have passed menopause, are not real women. Women who have ceased to menstruate for any number of physical reasons, including illness or deliberate suppression using hormone-based treatments, are not real women.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:19 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:Would you consider 'Male and Female' as applicable for the biological aspect of sex and 'Man and Woman' as applicable for the social aspect of gender?

Those are the more proper technical terms, but if somebody says "real woman" when speaking about transgender people, I'm usually willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're talking biology.

poxic wrote:"Real women menstruate"? So... trans women are not real women. Women who are pregnant, or who have passed menopause, are not real women. Women who have ceased to menstruate for any number of physical reasons, including illness or deliberate suppression using hormone-based treatments, are not real women.

You're reading implications that aren't in that statement (but that are probably meant to be.) Just because real women menstruate doesn't mean that only real women menstruate, and it doesn't mean that only menstruators are real women. If Real Woman A menstruates, Real Woman B does not, Fake Woman C does not, and Fake Woman D does, the person's statement holds. Now, no doubt he meant that only real women menstruate, but I'm being really nitpicky here.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:28 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:You're reading implications that aren't in that statement (but that are probably meant to be.) Just because real women menstruate doesn't mean that only real women menstruate, and it doesn't mean that only menstruators are real women. If Real Woman A menstruates, Real Woman B does not, Fake Woman C does not, and Fake Woman D does, the person's statement holds. Now, no doubt he meant that only real women menstruate, but I'm being really nitpicky here.


I think you made a typo. The implication is Fake Woman D does not menstruate.

Whatever the definition of Fake is. Not sure which gender hermaphrodites are supposed to be. Or the even blurrier future-tech where gender-reassignment will be far more precise than mere surgery (gene replacement and so forth).

I may be somewhat transphobic, but I can't say that if I lived in a world where I could change genders as easily as changing socks, that I wouldn't spend a few weeks being a woman if only out of curiosity. Or education. Or entertainment.

Come to think of it, if I lived in the "sex-change = socks-change" world (pun was not intentional, but it works), I probably would view transgenders in our world as if they lived in some dystopia where clothing was such a scarce commodity that people lived with the same underwear for their entire lives, and a few 'deviants' had to go through a great deal of stress just to exchange boxers for briefs.
Last edited by CorruptUser on Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:55 am UTC, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:30 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:You're reading implications that aren't in that statement (but that are probably meant to be.) Just because real women menstruate doesn't mean that only real women menstruate, and it doesn't mean that only menstruators are real women. If Real Woman A menstruates, Real Woman B does not, Fake Woman C does not, and Fake Woman D does, the person's statement holds. Now, no doubt he meant that only real women menstruate, but I'm being really nitpicky here.


I think you made a typo. The implication is Fake Woman D does not menstruate.

That is the intended implication, but it is not the logical implication of the person's statement. Just because Real Women menstruate, it does not necessarily follow that fake women do not menstruate.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:01 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I'm usually willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're talking biology.
Even purely biological sex isn't quite as binary as you seem to think. Is it chromosomes or phenotype? What happens when those don't match up? What happens when someone has chromosomes and/or a phenotype that simply aren't part of the XY = penis-not-vagina and XX = vagina-not-penis dichotomy?

You're reading implications that aren't in that statement (but that are probably meant to be.) Just because real women menstruate doesn't mean that only real women menstruate
Um, except the commenter we're talking about *did* say only real women menstruate.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:08 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:I'm usually willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're talking biology.
Even purely biological sex isn't quite as binary as you seem to think. Is it chromosomes or phenotype? What happens when those don't match up? What happens when someone has chromosomes and/or a phenotype that simply aren't part of the XY = penis-not-vagina and XX = vagina-not-penis dichotomy?

I don't see how this is relevant. We're not talking XX or XY, we're talking XX or !XX.

You're reading implications that aren't in that statement (but that are probably meant to be.) Just because real women menstruate doesn't mean that only real women menstruate
Um, except the commenter we're talking about *did* say only real women menstruate.

Yes, I was responding to the person who said, in quotes "Real women menstruate?".
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby yoni45 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:09 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Just because real women menstruate [...] doesn't mean that only menstruators are real women...


*snicker*

You were never very good at this whole concept.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:15 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
You're reading implications that aren't in that statement (but that are probably meant to be.) Just because real women menstruate doesn't mean that only real women menstruate
Um, except the commenter we're talking about *did* say only real women menstruate.

Yes, I was responding to the person who said, in quotes "Real women menstruate?".

That person was paraphrasing the commenter who said that only real women menstruate. Or did you think she was just responding to nobody?
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:15 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:We're not talking XX or XY, we're talking XX or !XX.
And someone who's XX but not phenotypically female, or who's phenotypically female but not XX?
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:16 am UTC

I wonder how the message would be changed if the non-tampon woman was in her fifties.

Also, I wonder how the message would be changed if the drag queen produced a tampon of (his? drag queens consider themselves men, right? Unless said drag queen is a woman who likes to dress like a drag queen) own.

...or if the drag queen produced a tampon first, and the "real woman" walked out.

...or it happened in a cancer ward.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:16 am UTC

Again, responding to the person who said "real women menstruate?" and not the original commenter who said "only real women menstruate."

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:That person was paraphrasing the commenter who said that only real women menstruate. Or did you think she was just responding to nobody?

I made no assumptions. I just like nitpicking.

gmalivuk wrote:And someone who's XX but not phenotypically female, or who's phenotypically female but not XX?

Well, considering that it's menstruation, I actually suppose it's (phenotypically female) or !(phenotypically female)
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:28 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:That person was paraphrasing the commenter who said that only real women menstruate. Or did you think she was just responding to nobody?

I made no assumptions. I just like nitpicking.

There is a difference between nitpicking and dispensing with the principle of charity. It's obvious to everyone who's been following this discussion that poxic was responding to the quoted commenter. Interpreting her post as if she were not and then criticizing the argument that obviously nobody is making fails to contribute to the discussion. A nitpick, in contrast, contributes some knowledge that may be small, but is at least unobvious and relevant.

Oh, and:

sourmìlk wrote:
Triangle_Man wrote:Would you consider 'Male and Female' as applicable for the biological aspect of sex and 'Man and Woman' as applicable for the social aspect of gender?

Those are the more proper technical terms, but if somebody says "real woman" when speaking about transgender people, I'm usually willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they're talking biology.

Yes, of course they're talking about biology. But that's the problem: by conflating the term "real woman" with "biologically female person," they're still affirming the biological essentialist position that cis women have a stronger claim to womanhood than do trans women.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:40 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:That person was paraphrasing the commenter who said that only real women menstruate. Or did you think she was just responding to nobody?

I made no assumptions. I just like nitpicking.

There is a difference between nitpicking and dispensing with the principle of charity.
Yes, but I barely ever get to nitpick unless I dispense with the principle of charity :(
Oh, and:

Yes, of course they're talking about biology. But that's the problem: by conflating the term "real woman" with "biologically female person," they're still affirming the biological essentialist position that cis women have a stronger claim to womanhood than do trans women.

I don't really see how. Where in his comment is there an implication that trans woman have less of a claim to womanhood?
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:53 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Yes, but I barely ever get to nitpick unless I dispense with the principle of charity

Yeah, so remember that moral principle of yours that says the best rules are the ones that produce the most good for people? I'm fairly certain that misrepresenting arguments in order to waste time is not a utility-increasing maxim.

tl;dr: Whedon's Rule.

sourmìlk wrote:I don't really see how. Where in his comment is there an implication that trans woman have less of a claim to womanhood?

With his use of "real women" to mean "cis women." Unless you're saying that the ordinary meaning of the word "real" isn't pulling any semantic weight in that phrase.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby sourmìlk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:01 am UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Yes, but I barely ever get to nitpick unless I dispense with the principle of charity

Yeah, so remember that moral principle of yours that says the best rules are the ones that produce the most good for people? I'm fairly certain that misrepresenting arguments in order to waste time is not a utility-increasing maxim.

tl;dr: Whedon's Rule.

You remembered my moral axioms :D

Also yes, I do not consider that a moral action.

With his use of "real women" to mean "cis women." Unless you're saying that the ordinary meaning of the word "real" isn't pulling any semantic weight in that phrase.

I honestly don't see how "real" has that implication. For example: my sister called her adopted friend's biological mother her "real" mother some time ago, and I can guarantee you that she did not think that anybody except her friend's adoptive mother had any legitimate claim to mothership over her friend. She just wasn't carefully using the term "biological." I think that a person can use "real" to imply that sort of legitimacy, but I don't think it's inherent to the word.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:43 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Yes, but I barely ever get to nitpick unless I dispense with the principle of charity
Yeah, so remember that moral principle of yours that says the best rules are the ones that produce the most good for people? I'm fairly certain that misrepresenting arguments in order to waste time is not a utility-increasing maxim.
You remembered my moral axioms :D

Also yes, I do not consider that a moral action.
Which means you're pretty much flat-out trolling, and everyone else ever would greatly prefer if you shut the hell up instead.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby poxic » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:01 am UTC

Seriously? That's pretty much what the ad was (minus the commentary)?

Ew.
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xkcdfan
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby xkcdfan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:01 am UTC

Only real women menstruate, that is not to say all real women DO menstruate. The two ideas are completely different and all the people complaining are to ignorant to see that.

...how are those two statements NOT equivalent?

Unless he's saying "the only people who do menstruate are real women, but some real women don't menstruate"? But even that is false, because you have trans men and AFAB genderqueers.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:08 am UTC

It's the difference between "If someone is a Real Woman™, then she menstruates" and "If someone menstruates, then she is a Real Woman™." As I read it, both of those value judgments are involved in the plot of the ad.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:20 am UTC

poxic wrote:"Real women menstruate"? So... trans women are not real women. Women who are pregnant, or who have passed menopause, are not real women. Women who have ceased to menstruate for any number of physical reasons, including illness or deliberate suppression using hormone-based treatments, are not real women.

>.<
Close. "Women" who are not menstruating right now are not real women.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:25 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
poxic wrote:"Real women menstruate"? So... trans women are not real women. Women who are pregnant, or who have passed menopause, are not real women. Women who have ceased to menstruate for any number of physical reasons, including illness or deliberate suppression using hormone-based treatments, are not real women.

>.<
Close. "Women" who are not menstruating right now are not real women.


Damn, I think I might be homosexual then. Welp, time to develop a lisp and an appreciation for theatre, or whatever the stereotypes are these days.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:31 am UTC

INTERIOR DECORATING
"It's Saturday night. I've got no date, a two-liter of Shasta, and my all-Rush mixtape. Let's rock!"
"I am just about to be brilliant!"
General_Norris, on feminism, wrote:If you lose your six Pokémon, you lost.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby poxic » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:31 am UTC

I always knew I was non-gendered*!

* 24 days out of 28, apparently, give or take seasonality
A man who is 'ill-adjusted' to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:35 am UTC

Aww, I hate decorating apartments. Couldn't I mangle my genitalia until I'm straight again? Oh wait, not real woman. Damn catch-22...

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby yurell » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:34 pm UTC

Who the fuck's Jacob Dexter and how does he get off implying that transwomen aren't real women?
And it's good to see that Ian Deynzer believes because those offended don't find it funny, they're not even part of Kiwi culture >.> The self-deprecating humour is part of Australian culture too, and I find that ad bloody disgusting. I can't imagine a transwoman saying (spoilered in case of trigger):
Spoiler:
"Oh hah-hah-hah! Isn't it hilarious that I can never give birth to a child, or experience all the things that come with being a woman from birth!"

Whatever wanker came up with that ad is the funniest thing since smallpox >.>


And yeah, they hit a nerve with that one.
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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Belial » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:44 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Yes, of course they're talking about biology. But that's the problem: by conflating the term "real woman" with "biologically female person," they're still affirming the biological essentialist position that cis women have a stronger claim to womanhood than do trans women.

I don't really see how. Where in his comment is there an implication that trans woman have less of a claim to womanhood?


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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:42 pm UTC

yurell wrote:Who the fuck's Jacob Dexter and how does he get off implying that transwomen aren't real women?


I know this won't make me the most popular person here, but someone has to play the devil's advocate. I have a suspicion that most people, even in the developed world, don't see transwomen as real women.

It doesn't help that media (which is ostensibly more accepting) uses transsexuality as a gag-joke. Ironically, It's Always Sunny in Phillidelphia of all shows is the least offensive that I've seen when it comes to that. King of the Hill would be the top, except I think that was more about transvestites than transsexuals.

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Re: Transphobic Tampon Ad

Postby Dream » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:57 pm UTC

Is there any indication in the ad that the person labeled trans in this discussion is in fact trans? Why can't they be a man, who is wearing women's clothes for any of the many reasons men do that? Were that the case, I wouldn't see the ad as offensive, just stupid and maybe accidentally insensitive to those who assume transsexuality on the part of any apparently biologically male person who tries to present as female.

And yes, I am aware of the fact that this exchange taking place in a female bathroom implies identification as a female. I'm curious not critical. Why is it OK to presume about someone's identity based on their manner of dress? (If that is the case, of course.)
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