SNL Estro-maxx Commercial

Saturday Night Live has scored another win for transphobia with this sketch from their latest episode.  Watch it at NBC.

The spot begins:

Let’s face it:  life is pretty busy.  Even when you’re not working it seems like millions of other things suddenly come up.  So if you’re like me, a busy guy and a pre-op transsexual in his third month of hormone treatment, you need an estrogen supplement that works for your schedule.

The commercial provides its first piece of visual shock humor with a shot of the narrator in panty hose and, after a quick scene cut, sporting a bouncy new pair of breasts.  The sketch continues to score its hits with repeated showings of male actors in women’s clothing, most of them sporting facial hair.

SNL – or any other sketch comedy show – really isn’t on any kind of new ground with putting men with facial hair into women’s clothing.  The only slightly novel element is that they’re targeting transgender women through a hormone therapy regimen ad.  I wouldn’t know where to begin in trying to explain just why this is offensive – I’m really struck a little speechless.  All I can really say is good job, guys.  You found a way to make a marginalized and misunderstood minority look stupid on TV.  I’m sure that must have been quite a challenge.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    The intention may have been acceptable, but the punchline was not.

  2. Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    …all that to say nothing about them getting the gendered nouns and prenouns wrong. Not to say that someone who gets the [pro]nouns right (someone who transitions to female should be regarded as female) is automatically in the clear, but generally when people operate with the idea that TGs should be identified as their target gender, it makes ridicule more difficult to justify.

  3. Posted January 31, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I know sometimes things seem so blatantly offensive that it is hard to name the elements. However, I find it really useful. As described, I cannot find where the commercial would make a trans individual feel devalued, demeaned, or belittled. Only in the comment where the incorrect use of pronouns is pointed out do I begin to see the issue at hand.

    I am not disputing the offensiveness of the parody (I didn’t see it), but I think that in a world where somethings are labeled “offensive” just because the pair humor with a disenfranchised group, it is great to talk about WHY something is offensive. This proves that feminists are not just overly PC folk, and provides education for those who are on this site in order to learn more about equal rights and fair treatment for all.

    (For instance, I had no idea why mascots like the “Redskins” were considered offensive. Only when I was part of a discussion regarding this was I able to understand, and thus champion against, this act)

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