Pride Month is officially here and like clockwork, companies and brands are pushing out pinkwashed products and campaigns to mark the month because what better way to show solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community than by saying, “We’ll take your money too!”
Ipsy kicked off they’re own pride campaign, #IPSYFlyingColors, with a video on their YouTube channel. The video featured their “LGBTQ+ #GlamBag cast” speaking on their experiences as members of the LGBTQ+ community and what pride meant to them. On their instagram, the beauty subscription service wrote,
“Pride month means so much to us here at ipsy. It’s about celebrating self-expression and love, and being free to be YOU 24/7/365. That’s why we’re featuring 7 bright, beautiful, and inspiring LGBTQ+ ipsters.”
Pride month means so much to us here at ipsy. It’s about celebrating self-expression and love, and being free to be YOU 24/7/365. That’s why we’re featuring 7 bright, beautiful, and inspiring LGBTQ+ ipsters like @allisonmcnamara. #ipsyflyingcolors #ipsy⠀ ⠀ Photog: @micheleandersen⠀ Hair: @tracibarrett⠀ Makeup: @loandthecosmos⠀ Nails: @chelseaqueen⠀ Wardrobe: @rima_rama
But whatever sign of solidarity the video was supposed to send quickly turned transphobic in just under 5 seconds when YouTuber Cassandra Bankson opened up the video saying,
“I’m attracted to women and there’s definitely a spectrum between trans women between authentic cis women, and everything in between.”
so ipsy posted a video FOR PRIDE that refers to the “spectrum” between trans women & “authentic cisgender women.” treat yrself this june by unsubscribing from their bland terf makeup bags to something like sephora play pic.twitter.com/zoWUzo16eA
— boy tiddies (@scrunchyuzu) June 2, 2018
Except there isn’t a spectrum between trans women and cis women. Trans women are women just like cis women are. By putting them on opposite sides of a “spectrum” with cis women being the “authentic” side, Bankson’s words imply that trans are somehow “fake” in comparison to cis women which is transphobic.
After the video was put up, people quickly pointed out in the comments of their Facebook post how Bankson’s line was problematic. The company then decided to do damage control by deleting the comments calling them out.
How about you don’t keep deleting the comments of everyone who calls you out on transphobia in a video claiming to be pro LGBTQ+
(Small selection of a few of the comments below, deleted ones circled in red on pages with one than one on them) #ISPY #transphobia #TERF pic.twitter.com/GMxAeSRnDW
— Sam (@cripple_chic) June 2, 2018
Then when people took to twitter to point out the transphobic comment, Ipsy responded by saying that they supported what Bankson had said and that other’s needed to respect it as well.
We hear what you’re saying, but ask that you respect how our creators choose to identify themselves. ipsy is a safe space for all individuals to share their experiences, and we support how our creators express their individuality. ღ aec
— ipsyCare (@ipsyCare) June 2, 2018
“We hear what you’re saying, but ask that you respect how our creators choose to identify themselves. [sic] ipsy is a safe space for all individuals to share their experiences, and we support how our creators express their individuality,” was the message the company kept copying and pasting to responses made about the video.
But “a safe space for all individuals” wouldn’t have given room for words like Bankson’s which invalidated trans women’s identity and perpetuated a dehumanizing view of them. From bathroom bills to the “trans panic” legal defense, the idea that trans women aren’t “real women” and are just “pretending” to be women is a notion that literally takes trans women’s lives and basic human rights. A “safe space for all individuals” would have moved to correct what they’d done wrong instead of trying to cover it up and gaslight the very same people they were supposedly “celebrating.”
And seeing as the subscription service wouldn’t have had Pride to promo off of without the work of trans women of color like Marsha P. Johnson, Slyvia Rivera, and Miss Major, the video and their response comes as even more of a slap to the face of trans women and the spirit of pride.
Having received enough backlash from facebook, Instagram, and twitter including from writer Ijeoma Oluo and trans activist and YouTuber Kat Blaque, the company quickly changed their tune on the matter and deleted the video from facebook and youtube. Later on, they posted an apology on to social media.
So @Ipsy @ipsycare posted a transmisogynistic video for pride month referring to trans women and “authentic cisgendered women” and now they are deleting fb comments from trans folk calling them out on it.
An even worse look than your beige as fuck makeup, Ipsy.
— Ijeoma Oluo (@IjeomaOluo) June 2, 2018
Cancel your subscription and don’t be blinded by pretty rainbow graphics and familiar social media faces. What everyone said in that video was so powerful and affirming, but at the end of the day, this is a company using the community to make money. Don’t fall for it. Cancel it.
— ??? ?????? (@kat_blaque) June 3, 2018
“This weekend, we shared a video with the hopes of kicking off Pride month through heartfelt stories told by inspiring LGBTQ+ creators,” the apology reads.
“Unfortunately, we missed the mark in a very big way. Our sincere apologies to anyone that we hurt with the thoughtless comments included in the video that seemed to imply that trans women were not authentic women. It was a big mistake and oversight to have included that line in what was meant to be a celebration of inclusivity. We realize we really messed up and that we still have a lot to learn.”
“We never intended to make anyone in our community feel anything less than the powerful, beautiful, inspiring people you are. You have our word that we will work to ensure we’re fully educated on how to be more inclusive, empowering, and a champion for unique beauty.”
“And to those of you who spoke up, we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for helping us realize that we need to be more thoughtful. We’re sorry and will do better. We’re looking at ways we can reduce the damage caused by the post and aftermath, and will make an announcement on this in the next 2 days.”
Youtuber Cassandra Bankson also issued her own apology in a video on her Facebook page.
Still, with the time and effort it takes to create video content and for the fact that the company didn’t cut the comment out but instead rushed to its defense, it’s kinda clear that the subscription service has shown its true colors behind the rainbow flag.