So, if you’re aware of trans stuff you’ve probably seen this advert going around. Predictably, lots of trans people have cried “transphobia”. But is it really transphobic?
I’ll tell you what I saw, first of all. I saw an advert that had a transvestite or drag queen doing their makeup in front of a mirror, alongside a, presumebly, cis woman*. The drag queen and cis woman compete over looks, pouting, applying makeup, rearranging their tits, with the cis woman seemingly beaten every time. However, the cis woman pulls out her trump card – a carton of LibraX branded tampons. “Hey”, her smile says, “you may have better** makeup, a bigger pout and longer legs, but I can bleed out of my cunt”. The drag queen scowls, picks up her handbag and walks off in a huff.
So yeah, it’s horrible, vile, biological essentialism. It’s reducing women to their biology – a woman’s status in society is defined by her ability to reproduce. It’s patriarchy-enforcing, reminding us that women should apply minerals to their faces in order to be acceptable. And yes, implying that a real woman is defined by her ability to menstruate it automatically excludes trans women, as well as older and post-hysterectomy cis women which is horribly offenisve. But to call it transphobic? Yes, it’s offensive to trans women. But that’s because it’s offensive to all women.
If we cry transphobia every time a piece of media is sexist then we’re rapidly going to hit a Cry Wolf situation, and we are going to annoy our allies. And we’re going to need all the allies we can in the coming years.
* Hey, nothing says she was cis. She could be a trans woman trying to one-up a drag queen.
** far more glittery and tacky