Jazz Jennings, a 14-year old transgender teen, is the new face of the popular skin care brand Clean & Clear. Their campaign, called#SeeTheRealMe, according to USA Today, asks people around the world to share their coming of age stories. Jennings’ story was about growing up and learning her identity; she was a girl trapped in a boy’s body. Many are applauding Clean & Clear’s decision, but one religious nut decided that this is nothing less than all-out war on Christianity.
Jodi Swan, the writer and religious nut in question, tries at first to appear confused that Clean & Clear would choose to showcase someone who represents a tiny portion of their customer base. Clearly, in Swan’s view, Clean & Clear should only ever choose someone who represents the biggest segment of their customer base. She said:
In case you’re unfamiliar with the retail giant we are dealing with here, Clean & Clear is one of the world’s leading beauty product companies. As such, they typically sign gorgeous female celebrities to represent their brand. This is smart – they go with the woman whom every other woman envies, whom every other woman would give her right arm to look just like. Women don’t want to look like a man disguised as a woman. It’s as simple as that.
Swan’s first error is kowtowing to the idea that all women would give anything and everything to be the gorgeous model they see in ads and on TV. Lots of women, however, get upset, depressed, and anxious, when they realize that no matter how religiously they use a beauty product, they’ll never fit such a ridiculous standard made possible by heavy photo and video editing. The beauty and fashion industries are actually under increasing fire for pushing that impossible standard of beauty. Women, in truth, want to see a much wider definition of beauty; one that they can better fit into. That means diversity, in addition to other changes.
Couched in Swan’s “confusion” over marketing, however, is a whole lot of anger that Clean & Clear would dare to cross their Christian customers, and thus, tarnish their “squeaky clean, all-American image.” Of course, as we all know, all-American and Christian fit together better than pieces of the best-cut jigsaw puzzle, so obviously, Clean & Clear is both stupid and way out of line. For those who think like Swan, there is nothing less American than showcasing minorities of any kind.
What’s worse than that, though, is Swan’s belief that Jennings needs serious psychiatric help and spiritual guidance that has apparently been absent through her entire life. Swan sounds all caring and concerned here; this poor girl needs serious help and we’re putting the brightest spotlight imaginable on her? How horrible! But then Swan says this:
“[Jennings] does not belong on television screens nationwide to put progressive ideas into the minds of impressionable youth who are already struggling to find their own identities, albeit in a much more normal fashion.
Will you continue to buy Clean & Clear products after this massive slap in the face which they have just dealt to Christian values? I, for one, have already thrown away my Morning Burst Facial Cleanser. Sigh.”
That’s the whole point of Swan’s post. She’s actually upset about what the rest of the religious right is upset about: We’re teaching the LGBT “agenda” to impressionable youth, who will then go out and decide to become gay or transgender, the same way children decided to be black after we started desegregating schools. Oh, wait.
Swan doesn’t care about Jennings’ struggles, let alone how damaging this kind of bigotry is to LGBT youth in general. There’s a reason states have been outlawing gay conversion therapy for minors. It’s not only quackery, it’s also cruel and does far more harm than good. All Swan cares about, though, is that we hide the LGBT community from our youth, because then children will never have to worry about whether they’re gay or straight, boy or girl, or have any other orientation or identity.
Another thing that Swan has done is advocate continued marginalization of people who aren’t, in her view, “normal.” The fact that a small portion of our population is transgender is actually irrelevant to everyone but Christian bigots like Swan. Clean & Clear is doing what lots of companies have started doing (and that we need more of). They’re showcasing American diversity, and (finally) acknowledging that we’re not all straight, white Christians.
It’s really a shame that Swan won’t get to use her Morning Burst Facial Cleanser anymore. Our hearts bleed pink carbonated peanut butter for her plight. via