A few months ago, this Thai push-up bra commercial went viral. The original video gained over 9 million views since being uploaded:
In honor of LGBT History Month, we decided to bring this video back and take a closer look. It’s clear why the video has so many views with its unexpected ending. Generally, the video was well-received. One viewer commented, “He is attractive both as a girl and a boy.” Another humored viewer commented, “Well the push-up bra definitely works then.”
Although there were still a share of individuals who argued that they were “tricked” and showed anger towards the commercial, people were generally entertained. The commercial didn’t present the transgender community in a negative light and did not try to make fun of it.
This is not necessarily the case for all Thai commercials containing transgender characters. The following IKEA commercial angered the Thai Transgender Alliance for being “negative,” “stereotypical,” and a “gross violation of human rights.”
The commercial shows a couple walking through IKEA. The woman becomes so excited with a sale for pillows that her voice drops and horrifies her boyfriend. The end shows the boyfriend running off in the opposite direction. The Thai Transgender Alliance argues that “the transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for ‘deceitful and deviant lifestyle.’”
Unfortunately, this is not the first time IKEA has poked fun at the transgender community. Another IKEA commercial, this time coming from France, shows a woman getting ready to go out. She accidentally knocks into a low table and hits her crotch– revealing she was physically born a man.
Although the difference between the first commercial and the last two may seem slight to some, it makes a load of difference. There is a clear distinction between a commercial showing someone proud of their gender identity versus another commercial showing an individual running away from a transgender out of fear.
In honor of LGBT history month, lets try to make it a lasting habit to stay conscious of these differences.