Ipsy, a well-known beauty box subscription company, recently released a video in celebration of Pride Month. The video features several beauty content creators speaking about Pride as well as their feelings toward beauty.
Among these speakers was Youtuber Cassandra Bankson, whose segment was the cause of outrage when she said: “I’m attracted to women. And there’s definitely a spectrum between trans women, between authentic cis-gendered women and everything in between. But at the same time, I believe that love is beauty, and I can find that in many different places.”
this whole @ipsy situation (where they referred to “trans women and authentic women” as if they’re separate dang things) is just another example of brands using LGBTQ+ people for Pride but not actually getting to know the community or genuinely supporting them in any way
— fiona ✌️ (@neonfiona) June 4, 2018
So, @ipsy published a video today featuring several of my friends and @SincerelyCass11 who decided to describe her attraction to women as a spectrum between "Trans women and authentic cisgender women". I wanted to unpack a few things and offer my opinions about this.
— ⚔️Kat Blaque⚔️ (@kat_blaque) June 3, 2018
The issue is that Bankson’s statement appears to imply that trans women are not “authentic” women. An article on Medium by activist Phaylen Fairchild explains the weight of this statement, stating that Bankson’s words seem to “disqualify transgender women as inauthentic variations of womanhood.” Fairchild points out that this references back to the unique discrimination faced by trans women, who often deal with having their very existence as women undermined as people attempt to exclude them with cis-gendered labels of womanhood. Across social media, Bankson’s statement has been referred to as transphobic and transmisogynistic.
Many have come down on Ipsy, a brand which has over 2.5 million subscribers, stating that they could have done more to prevent this. Youtuber Kate Blaque, who frequently speaks about her experiences as a trans woman, tweeted this: “I want to say @ipsy had every ability to edit out that line …but they not only kept it in, but they decided to put it at the forefront of the video. I’m going to say that that’s pretty clear evidence that this company doesn’t truly care for the LGBT community.” Some criticized Ipsy for not taking other possible steps, such as consulting with transgender people before going through with the video.
Ipsy’s attempts at damage control have been somewhat rocky at best. The video has since been removed. However, when commentators first began to send criticism toward the company’s way, Ipsy attempted to defend the campaign asking social media users to “respect how our creators identify themselves.” Many reported that the company had also deleted critical comments on Facebook. They have since issued an official apology on social media.
We heard your feedback loud and clear. Here is our response to Flying Colors and the next steps we're taking to make things right. https://t.co/ghCs8A4wS5
— IPSY (@IPSY) June 5, 2018
As for Bankson, the YouTube personality issued an apology on Facebook. According to Racked, she clarified “acknowledging she was sorry and admitting that she needed more education when speaking about trans people.” This was met with mixed reactions, as Bankson used the phrase “biologically female” which GLAAD media reference guide explains as also being “reductive”, suggesting terminology such as “assigned or designated male at birth.”
Whether or not Ipsy or Bankson will show concern and remorse for this error in future endeavors remains to be seen. However, one must hope that the beauty industry in general will continue to consider the diversity of representation within their brands, all the while listening to the experiences and needs of the people they wish to include.
Featured Image via pixabay/katlove