Pantene Features Transgender Girl and Two Moms in New Ad

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday March 27, 2021

A new Pantene ad celebrates LGBTQ families by featuring a transgender girl with her two lesbian mothers, MetroWeekly reports.

The ad tells the story of Sawyer, her mothers, and their family motto, "Everybody loves everybody, no matter what path you follow."

Ashley, one of Sawyer's mothers, described the significance of her daughter's hair in the process of transitioning. "Once she told us that she identified as a girl, she immediately wanted to grow her hair out," she says in the ad.

"I remember the first time she was out in the community wearing the clothing she wanted and her hair," Ashley continues. "And she kind of was herself. And that was the first day where I saw her."

For Sawyer, growing her hair out made her "feel good and confident, and it made my insides match my outsides."

The ad is another recent example of corporate framings of the LGBTQ community in a positive light, which is especially significant given the spate of anti-transgender bills working their way through states such as Arkansas, West Virginia, Tennessee, and South Dakota, among others.

Pantene posted a message about the ad to Twitter, writing, "Hair is a large part of our identity. And for LGBTQ+ youth like Sawyer, who choose to express themselves, their style, and their creativity through their hair style, it can help them feel seen."

Pantene received homophobic and transphobic hate on Twitter for the ad, with comments ranging the entire spectrum between accusing the company of having an agenda to, as user @splendiforous69 warns, supporting "blatant child abuse."

Pantene responded, "Transphobia has no place in our world or on our feed. In response to the bullying & harassment directed at those featured in the video of our last post: We stand with this #BeautifulLGBTQ family & the entire community."

One Twitter user, Jerry Daykin, admonished the haters and applauded the company, writing, "It's a simple and authentic story with a message that everyone is welcome and accepted... so I think it says more about the people mad about it than anything else. If I had more hair I'd use more of your products #RepresentationMatters"

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.