America’s Next Top Model quickly removed an ad picturing transgender model contestant Isis with the tagline “The Boy is back” after complaints from the TG community. The company responsible offered apologies.
“The Top Model ad campaign is certainly not intended to be offensive, nor controversial, and we apologise for any offense it has caused. We see it as enormously positive that a hit mainstream show such as ANTM features gay and transgender contestants, and believe that Isis will be one of the stars of the upcoming series. We have, however, received feedback over the past few days that the tagline ‘The Boy is back’ used on the posters featuring Isis is offensive to the transgender community, and in response have already taken steps to have the posters in question removed.”
The complaints basically surround our desire to be referred to in the gender we present, or with which we identify.
It’s a funny thing though. Of course I understand wanting to be accepted as a woman – all the more so for someone who feels she was born in the wrong body.
But, my understanding is that the complaint came not from Isis but from advocacy groups – and the test there should be what is good for the community.
In this I wonder just a little bit.
Don’t take the removal of the ads and the apologies as an admission of wrongdoing. Companies have nothing to gain from butting heads with over-sensitive interest groups.
I think that effective advocacy requires us to pick our battles, and I am just not sure this one was worth annoying a company that clearly had done us a huge service by having included a transgender model in their highly visible competition. Will we be able to expect such positive treatment in the future after embarrassing them? Is there no pleasing us?
Yes, the ad refers to her as “The Boy,” but note that it does not refer to her as “the boy.” To me there is a big difference; capitalizing it gives the impression that this is a title or nickname rather than a description.
Yes, the ad refers to her as “The Boy.” But, in so doing over a photo of a beautiful woman, I think it is likely to open many people’s eyes to the contradictions of gender assumptions.
Two words and a directly, simply an powerfully conveyed huge message…
I guess it depends what message you are hearing.
I invite your opinions…