Sexism in the media is an all-too-familiar story. We see it everywhere; from shockingly pornographic images advertising socks, to chocolate bar companies selling traditional ideals of manhood using heterocentric comedy at half-time. It’s no secret that our generation is continuously bombarded with masculine and feminine stereotyping. The modern world is laden with antiquated gender values, which is making it increasingly difficult for youth to identify and define their own sexuality.
Recently, a company took this notion to a new and ridiculous level with a commercial for feminine hygiene products. To Libra tampons, the sole defining factor of what it means to be is a woman is entirely biological. In other words, if you don’t menstruate, then you aren’t a real girl.
The advertisement, which has gained notoriety since airing, depicts a young woman in the bathroom of a nightclub. Here enters a drag queen, and the absurdity ensues. The two women try to prove who is more attractive by competitively applying makeup and adjusting their bras. This should be the viewer’s first warning sign. Here are two women pitted against one another in a full-fledged battle of mascara and push-up bras, forsaking respect for themselves and each other by perpetuating false societal ideals of feminine beauty. Goodbye sisterhood and hello self-objectification!
It gets worse as the young woman reaches in to her purse and pulls out her last weapon, a box of tampons. Defeated, the transgender woman storms out of the bathroom. The slogan “Libra gets girls” appears on screen.
This is blatant transphobia. Libra is implying that because transgendered women are not born with a female reproductive system, they are not genuinely female and therefore must be viewed as less worthy. Apply that logic to a menopausal woman, or an amenorrheic girl. Does the absence of a monthly period really prevent one from the benefits and entitlement of being a woman? Libra is deluding its consumers to believe in a false concept of femininity. Value should not be placed solely on internal organs, when we all know being a woman means so, so, so much more than just getting our periods.
Whether or not the commercial was intended for shock factor or for comedy, it is still offensive, and not just exclusively to the LGBTQ community. This advertisement (can we assume it was written by a man?) is a clear example of the alienation of feminist ideals in the media. There is no denying the vast impact media intake has on our society, and if companies are continuously allowed to display prejudiced messages such as the one Libra did, the tolerance of hateful advertising will further influence hateful behaviour. Let 2012 be the year positivity, diversity and acceptance in the media, as we move forward to better future for all humans.