Transphobia is not an acceptable marketing device
Helen G // 19 February 2012
The online betting company, Paddy Power, has decided to join the ranks of the cis privileged majority with an advert which I can only call obnoxious. If I was a gambling woman, I’d wager that it’s almost a guaranteed winner in the transphobic bingo stakes. I’m not going to link it as I have no wish to send traffic their way (it’s not hard to find if you feed the words “Paddy Power TV Ad – Ladies Day” into the YouTube search field) but here’s a transcription:
Ian Reed wrote on our Facebook wall, “Can’t wait to see some beauties at Cheltenham Ladies Day”. Well, we hear you, Ian, and we’re going to make Ladies Day even more exciting by sending in some beautiful transgendered ladies. Spot the stallions from the mares. Here we go. Ah… woman… ooh, err, definitely a woman… err… a man… woman… dog… I mean the… man… that’s… well, good luck with that, Ian! And remember, all the runners, all the riders right in the palm of your hand with Paddy Power mobile. We hear you, Ian Reed.
We may never know whether this interpretation of “beauties” is what Ian Reed had in mind when he wrote his comment but as for the transphobic bingo card, well now, let’s see. It attempts to highlight the “frivolous” nature of trans* women’s feminity (hyper-feminisation) and it reduces us to our body parts (objectification). It plays on the meme that we’re “not really women” (deceitful); it’s othering and it supports the ongoing marginalisation of TS/TG and gender variant people in its pursuit of profit and a cheap laugh. All in all, it exemplifies the (cis)sexist nature of patriarchal capitalism and seeks to perpetuate traditional stereotypes of binary gender norms.
The Advertising Standards Authority’s complaints page can be found here.