Transphobes are blasting the razor company Braun for its ad featuring a trans man who shaves while shirtless with visible mastectomy scars on his chest. British critics say the ad violates regional advertising standards by “glamorizing… cosmetic surgery,” but their complaints are targeting a rare instance of trans visibility in media.
An ad for Braun’s Series X Hybrid Trimmers shows a shirtless trans man with mastectomy scars. Maya Forstater, executive director of the transphobic activist group Sex Matters, told The Telegraph that the ad goes against the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
It is “offensive” to promote a product for women to shave with. Apparently.
“Promoting the removal of healthy breast tissue is not only shockingly immoral, but against advertising standards guidance to not glamorize or trivialize cosmetic surgery,” Forstater said. However, gender-affirming surgeries for adults are considered safe, effective, and essential for transgender individuals, according to most major U.S. medical associations. That is, the surgeries aren’t “cosmetic” — medical professionals consider them life-saving.
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Another critic interviewed by the aforementioned publication said that the ad helps “glorify irreversible surgery.” But the ad merely presents the body of an actual trans man following a gender-affirming surgery. The procedure is used to resolve gender dysphoria and is typically conducted only after months or years of therapy and consultation with medical professionals so that patients understand the procedure’s effects and risks.
It’s also worth noting that — while anti-trans activists in the U.S. have pushed bans on gender-affirming surgeries for minors (even though such surgeries are almost never conducted on minors) — the man in the commercial is an adult. As such, the critics are really complaining that the commercial features a trans male adult because such adults, according to them, should be considered “unhealthy” and hidden away from public view.
An estimated 1.6% of U.S. adults are transgender — that’s an estimated 5.4 million individuals. It’s unclear what percentage of trans people identify as trans men, but the number could reach into the millions, representing a sizable potential market of trans men who may use razors for their personal grooming.
If the fake concern over male mastectomy scars sounds familiar, it could be because British transphobes had a similar reaction to a painting of a transmasculine man with top surgery scars on a promotional van belonging to Costa Coffee, the largest coffee chain in the United Kingdom.
Anti-trans conservatives accused the chain of supporting “mutilation” and “butchering” “healthy bodies.” Thankfully, both Costa Coffee and Braun have had supporters applauding both brands’ inclusive marketing.
One Twitter user, @mrSpungoe, wrote, “Trans men shave. Braun sells shaving products. Why the outrage? Let’s not pretend that is has anything to do with mastectomy scars. It is 100% about inclusion of trans people in the public space and is 100% transphobic.”
In August, transphobes threatened to boycott another razor company, Harry’s Razors, for its video partnership featuring a trans man. The heartwarming video featured trans influencer Luke Wesley Pearson “celebrating my first Pride with facial hair.”
In 2019, the shaving company Gillette published an ad showing a proud Black father teaching his young trans son, Samson, how to shave. In the ad, the young man says, “I was always trying to figure out what kind of man I want to become…. I went into my transition just wanting to be happy…. It’s not just me transitioning. It’s everyone around me transitioning.”
Overall, the ad polled well with audiences.