Are real women only those women who only menstruate? That is the implied message in New Zealand tampon maker Libra‘s new tampon ad (see youtube ad below) which has struck a nerve with transgender groups who call it highly offensive. And they just may be right, or are they?
In the ad itself, two women, one ‘real’ and the other a ‘drag queen’ are seen doling up in front of the bathroom mirror. It’s an amusing ad, with each woman knowingly looking at each other as one after the other applies mascara, lip gloss, asserting her breasts until the naturally born woman goes one over and takes out her Libra tampon to the chagrin of the drag queen, who we are to understand is not a real woman. Or perhaps for that matter a real woman is only one that uses ‘Libra’ tampons.
As amusing as the ad is, Libra have risked alienating transgender women with the implied assertion a woman can only ever be a woman as long as she’s born with ovaries which facilitate the need for menstruation, something women who are born as men do not experience.
What the ad misses is the notion that a woman can still be a woman irrespective of whether she has the physiological diems that predispose her to be a woman, as most transgender women will argue being a woman is often a state of mind irrespective of one’s born gender.
Then again perhaps we can overlook the faux pas of the advertisement in acknowledging that the thrust of the ad was to be funny and to gently mock competitive female behavior in the bathroom. After all nothing is more real than the trauma of being a woman and what most of them have to go month in month out and the fact that one who wasn’t born as one who is saved the ‘drag’ of such inconveniences. Pun aside….