ABC and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejected an ad for postpartum recovery products that would have aired during the Oscars for being “too graphic.” The commercial depicts a new mom adjusting to her post-birth body and placing a pad in a pair of mesh underwear.
Frida Mom, the company behind the ad, sells products for postpartum personal care and claimed they were told that the ad would not air because it is “too graphic with partial nudity and product demonstration.”
“It’s not ‘violent, political’ or sexual in nature. Our ad is not ‘religious or lewd’ and does not portray “guns or ammunition,’” the company said in a statement on Instagram. “‘Feminine hygiene & hemorrhoid relief” are also banned subjects. It’s just a new mom, home with her baby and her new body for the first time.”
The ad presents a remarkably different image of motherhood than most commercials. Ads for maternity products often feature smiling, put-together women who do not reflect most women’s postpartum experiences and can make the women who see them feel worse about themselves. Frida Mom’s ad presents a more realistic portrayal of the pain that comes with postpartum recovery, a period that many call “fourth trimester” due to the significant challenges that come with it.
The ad’s rejection sparked online backlash, including from celebrities. “This is clearly an ad made by women who have been there and get it,” wrote Busy Phillips on Instagram. “The more we can NORMALIZE A WOMAN’S BODILY EXPERIENCE IN MEDIA, the better off our culture and society will be….I think this is an incredible piece of advertising that accurately represents something millions of women know intimately.”
This ad is one of many censored or blocked for portraying historically stigmatized aspects of reproductive healthcare. In October, several major TV networks rejected a commercial for menstrual product company Thinx because it included a shot of a tampon string dangling from a pair of underwear.
Sources: The Hill 2/8/20; USA Today 2/7/20; CNN 2/9/20; Glamour 2/9/20; Time 10/21/19