Tuesday, January 15, 2013

There's a word for this kind of humour (at least there should be)

That word is "transphobia". And the Global Respect In Education (GRIN) campaign is petitioning Microsoft and the Oxford English Dictionary to recognize it.

Their definition:
transphobia |ˌtransˈfəʊbɪə,  trɑːns-,|                                                 noun [ mass noun ]                                                                                 an extreme and irrational aversion to transsexuality and transsexual or transgender people.

Now, my first reaction was that the OED is a descriptive, rather than a prescriptive source, simply reacting to the mainstreaming of new words according to established standards. (Microsoft, on the other hand, could easily bow to consumer pressure.)

But let's talk about this campaign. It's for an Australian rum, by agency CumminsRoss. The brand, "bearded lady" refers to a sideshow act. And the entire campaign is full of images that are supposed to make men feel uncomfortable about trans people or just manly women:

Australia's ad industry is known for "non-PC" humour, and I get that. But humour at the expense of real people who are targeted for exclusion, ridicule, bullying and even physical attack just doesn't seem right. Not in the 21st century.

But you have to hand it to these guys. They don't just pick on trans people. They also mock fat people, sick people, handicapped people and kids:

Images via Ads of The World


  1. Let's talk about this campaign. The reality is that images of manly women do make the majority of people uncomfortable. I'm a pretty open minded individual, but I too would balk at the sight of that manly woman in ad 1. So let's stop being so politically correct, to the point where we can no longer say freely what we like and what we don't. By the way, I don't like the campaign either, but not for the same reason you don't. I just think that the idea is old and plain dull. The agency can rename itself to CummInRoss.

  2. The Global Respect In Education (www.GRINcampaig.com) campaign to get transphobia into the MS Office dictionary and into the OED succeeded! Transphobia is now officially in the dictionary.