Is This Tampon Ad Transphobic?

by Thembi Ford

Commercials for feminine products usually feature women in all-white demonstrating how effectively which tampon or pad of choice absorbs weird blue liquid better. A new ad for the New Zealand tampon brand Libra broke away from the norm by showing a ‘battle of womanhood’ of sorts between two people in a ladies room — one a “natural” woman and the other a drag queen/trans person — that has drawn accusations of discrimination. Watch the ad and see for yourself:

While many people have pointed out that the advertisement takes a jab at drag queens and not transgendered people, gender advocates are saying that the ad stereotypes transgender women as spiteful masqueraders who are not real women. Agender NZ president Cherise Witehira said:

“It’s extremely offensive because it’s pretty much saying the only way you can be a woman is to get your period. That’s where a lot of the anger in the community is coming from – it’s saying you are not a woman unless you can get your period. Obviously we can’t menstruate. However, we identify as female.”

In response to the uproar, Libra has pulled the ads and issued an apology. There is nowhere near public consensus on whether or not the advertisement meant to depict a trans person or a drag queen, whether that matters, or if it should all just be taken as lighthearted fun.

What do you think about this advertisement?

  • sandy pants

    oh plz, micheal jackson is still black after his skin got so white, his nose got narrow and his hair got bone straight. They were BORN males, just because surgery gave you female parts, it doesn’t mean you are a woman.

  • LemonNLime

    I get it really I do. I can’t imagine being born physically a male but feeling like I should be a female, that must be extremely hard and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I also believe that people are free to identify however they want but I am also free to identify others and myself from my pov and in my opinion transwomen aren’t women.

    Being female goes beyond what clothing you wear, how you think, your perceived role in society, your ability to menstruate, or have the ability to carry a child. You can have all the surgeries in the world, have the highest heels, dress and act like June Cleaver but if you don’t have two X chromosomes then you may identify with the female gender but you are not biologically a woman. Just like I can get blue contacts, lighten my skin, wear a blond wig and call myself white all I want but that doesn’t make it so because there is something unchangeable in my DNA that makes me black.

    In regards to the commercial …I’m indifferent.

  • Seriously?

    You can identify as female-it does not mean you are one.
    I know it sounds so incredibly harsh, hmm? but there is a difference between being “born” and what you feel or wish to be “identify” with. If you look for negativity you will find it but truth im just being honest. There IS a difference between someone who is born and someone who became.

  • nappyandhappy

    lol that was funny. sorry but its true you can have all the surgery and estrogen treatments in the world but unless you have an actual period you are not biologically a woman. I will respect the fact that you feel that you are a woman i will call you by a woman’s name but you will always be an a man that had surgery.
    Is this wrong? is that transphobic?

  • Ginger

    This is an example of why gay rights groups should choose their battles more wisely.

  • Hmmm…

    This may sound mean, but I can identify as a cat, dress like a cat, meow and purr like a cat…but I’m still not a cat. It’s my personal choice if I want to identify as a cat, but I’m still not a cat. Those people in Agender need to stop being so sensitive.

  • CD86

    I believe that people can identify however they may wish to, but ultimately, to me, a woman is a woman and a man is a man no matter what they do to their body.

  • SAA

    after taking a short hiatus from this site, I’ve come back to see that its still pushing the agenda. I whole-heartedly agree with your comment and although hilarious I get what you’re saying. I’m so disgusted that they pulled their ad it just leads down a slippery slope of PC nonsense and hypersensitivity. Chaz Bono is not a man and that thing in the commercial is not a woman. Excuse me- I’m going to go put on a leopard printed catsuit with matching ears and growl at everyone that comes my way. Didn’t you know I was born in the body of female but I’m a leopard at heart.

  • Alexandra

    When it comes to the transgender debate, I have a lot of opinions regarding the issue; however I’m not against their human rights. I see why the commercial offensive, but why else would the transgender walk out? Women and men similar, but different in many ways. Can man make men menstruate monthly through medical procedures?

    I’m also noticing more and more, the attitudes towards people who don’t feel they are the right gender, compared to people who don’t feel they’re the right race or ethnicity. Lots more sympathy on one end. 

  • Nicole

    Well technically speaking….
    They aren’t female.

  • Mel

    EXACTLY! Transgender men to women aspire to achieve the aesthetic of being a “woman” (the social construct of female) as opposed to the biological characteristics that come with being female. Like mensturation, menopause, pregnancy, etc. There isn’t anything fun about being female. Being female can be an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing circumstance. I don’t know very many females that enjoy bleeding from their vagina or lower abdominal cramping for any duration of time–unless after a pregnancy scare. I do not want to bash a man for wanting to be a woman and sporting breasts, curves, and an awesome dress but he will NEVER be a female.

  • TheBlackBelle

    The words “female” and “woman” are NOT interchangeable! “Female” is a biological term! Males CANNOT menstruate nor carry a child so stop with all of this! You have XY, we have XX, no matter how many operations you have, it will never be. I respect you as a “woman”, but you will not down play my very existence,! You all need to work on word choices! You may argue semantics all you want, but you cannot argue the existence of science!

    As for the commercial, I actually liked it! Maybe because all the queens I have encountered act just like that, competing for “Most Feminine” title when they don’t even have a platform for competition at all! Me = Born this way .You = operated on to look like me, without my female functions. The fake loses every time. Sorry to be so candid.

  • Hmmm…

    Haha! I’ll join you because I’ve been telling my boyfriend I’m a tiger for years! Utter nonsense!

  • mluv

    I agree.. If your not born a female or male, your not one but you may have the features that make you identify as one to society.And I don’t understand how those who are transgender say they had a “disorder” or defect hence a sex change surgery. But In RARE cases, some people are born with physical genital/reproductive system defects.

    hey it’s one body they can do what they want; I don’t know what it feels like to be in a body that one feels is not theirs. But when they were formulated in the womb; biologically your reproductive system it’s really a irreversible process.

  • grace

    Speaking as a born female, if you are transgender, trust, you do NOT want to experience periods unnecessarily.

  • Timcampi


    So true. Perhaps because one is still considered a social issue and another is a recognized disorder? No one can definitively prove race isn’t a social construct, while there’s plenty of evidence that suggests that gender disassociation disorder is a real thing. I’m not saying it’s correct (I don’t think either group should be damned). But saying you have a racial disorder is like saying “I don’t think I’m black because I don’t do this this and this…” and since we’ve already established that races don’t have a set tendency, that would be foolish. However, gender apparently requires men to be a certain way and women to be a certain way.

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