Lingerie brand brilliantly fires back at haters who criticized their use of a gender fluid model
Back in the day, advertisements used to be just a teeny bit sexist. Women were frequently depicted as subservient figures, often in the kitchen or cleaning up after their husbands. Even today, we still see examples of this: women in lingerie are used to peddle products that have nothing to do with underwear, commercials that tell us we need a 'summer body' are forcing an unhealthy ideal on young girls, and tons of commodities are still unnecessarily gendered.
Along with this, trans and gender non-conforming people very rarely see individuals like themselves depicted in advertisements, which can be pretty alienating. There have been one or two brands that have attempted to counter this by using androgynous models or showing men wearing makeup, but, on the whole, there's still a distinct lack of diversity on our screens.
For that reason, Playful Promises chose Violet Chachki, a gender fluid model and world-renowned drag queen, to be the face of their Bettie Page collection.
Fans of Violet were thrilled to hear the news, and thought that her drag burlesque act would make her the perfect fit for the role. After all, she's frequently seen on stage in lingerie, and is recognized for having one of the most 'feminine' figures in the drag world. So where's the problem?
Well, many people were upset to see somebody they perceived as a man being used to advertise a product which primarily appeals to women. Since so few people are aware of what gender-fluidity is, some thought of Violet as a dude in women's clothing - but that simply isn't the case.
Fortunately, the London-based lingerie brand were quick to explain their decision of choosing Violet to be the face of their new range:
Put simply: Violet was chosen for her suitability for the role, but also because she represents a group of people who have always been excluded from owning the types of products that Playful Promises are offering.
Plus, even for those who are not familiar with drag, it's easy to see that the point of lingerie like this is to emphasize 'femininity' - and what better way is there to prove that it does the job properly than by using a model who is not actually female?
Violet herself has also expressed her enthusiasm for her new role, and describes the collection as "graphic, fun, and daring".
In a post on Instagram, the season seven RuPaul's Drag Race winner said: "Bettie has always been a huge inspiration for me. I’m very happy to work for a company that values being inclusive and glamorous at the same time!"
The irony of the situation is that Playful Promises specifically chose the 25-year-old drag queen in order to be more inclusive of people who don't conform to conventional ideas of gender, but, in doing so, were accused of being exclusive towards women.
Really, there shouldn't be an issue with somebody who is known for wearing underwear being used to promote underwear - but I guess it shows that there are still a few issues that need to be sorted out in the advertising world.