March is Women’s History Month in the United States and Wednesday will be International Women’s Day — but critics say some organizations are allowing biological men to take center stage.
One notable example involves Hershey’s, which unveiled an ad campaign in Canada ahead of International Women’s Day that prominently featured transgender activist Fae Johnstone. Although Johnstone identifies as a transgender woman, plenty of biological women were upset over the belief that they were being upstaged in Hershey’s effort to appear more inclusive.
What an insult to feature a man role-playing as a woman for International Women's Day. An affront to REAL women everywhere.
— Mia Cathell (@MiaCathell) March 2, 2023
Johnstone, who has limited the ability of other users to reply to the tweet and reportedly blocked individuals for expressing criticism of the ad, is the first transgender individual to serve on the YWCA Canada board of directors.
In celebrating the partnership with Hershey’s, Johnstone shared a video of the commercial in a tweet on Wednesday, adding: “The chocolate’s out of the wrapper! Honoured to be featured in this campaign by @Hersheys Canada for #InternationalWomensDay alongside 4 brilliant sisters and change-makers.”
The hashtag #BoycottHersheys became a trending topic on the platform as backlash mounted over the company’s marketing decision.
Elsewhere in Canada, the Toronto Raptors felt the need to apologize after posting a video asking members of the NBA team why they believe “women run the world.”
Some of the responses included “they are the only ones who can procreate” and “they’re all queens.”
It was unclear exactly why the Raptors decided to issue a mea culpa, but the team removed the video and disavowed its tribute to women.
“Our sincerest apologies to our players, our staff, and our fans – we’ll work to do better today and every day after,” the team wrote.
These controversies come amid criticism aimed at the Smithsonian Institution, which seeks to feature transgender individuals in its planned American Women’s History Museum.
Lisa Sasaki, the museum’s interim director, confirmed that biological males will be celebrated with exhibits as part of the supposed mission to “build a museum that’s going to serve the public for a very, very long time.”
Somewhat ironically, Sasaki is ignoring the genes that determine whether a person is male or female while crediting “the DNA of this museum” for inspiring her decision to include both biological sexes in the women’s history museum.