In case you missed it, Calvin Klein released a titillating ad this month.
The promotion appeared on Instagram, and it reveled in reproduction. Its choice of salute: a series of photos. Arguably the most interesting: those including a pregnant man.
The campaign was kicked off on Mother’s Day. A caption above the collection read thusly:
Today, in support of women and mothers all over the world, we’re spotlighting the realities of new families.
Featured first was breastfeeding mom Kylie, “a South African painter and mother to (infant) Wild.”
Then on to something more progressive, to the tune of toplessness, transgenderism, and trimesters:
Roberto (Bete) is due to give birth to his and Erika (Fernandes)’s son Noah any day now.
According to MSN, pregnant Roberto’s partner is a biological male who identifies as a woman.
How did the couple — “Brazilian reality stars” per Microsoft News — end up expecting? Their method of making it happen isn’t made clear.
But so far as Calvin Klein’s concerned, tomato, to-mah-toe:
We can reproduce biologically or from the heart…our place is to love and be loved.
Of course, Roberto isn’t the world’s first bun-oven’d boy:
— Leon Benjamin (@lfbenjamin) May 18, 2022
Pregnancy has grown unprecedentedly complex:
— Alex Parker (@alexparker1984) May 6, 2022
It’s part of a broader change:
https://t.co/SnPwwDes1f"'Naked and Afraid' contestant is first transgender woman to appear on the show" and "Terra said. “I do have breasts and I do have the male genitalia still.” Some might just call that a guy with boobs.
— John Mm (@BlindLemonade) March 7, 2022
Not everyone on Instagram agreed with Calvin Klein’s nod to modern maternity.
In response, the brand released a statement:
We embrace this platform as an inclusive and respectful environment for individualism and self-expression. At Calvin Klein, we tolerate everything except intolerance — any intolerant commentary will be removed, and any accounts issuing hateful statements may be blocked. We look forward to continuing a positive and inclusive dialogue in partnership with our community.
Of course, if they define “intolerance” as disagreement, then they themselves are intolerant in disagreeing with the disagreement they define as intolerant. Or perhaps I’ve got that confused.
Either way, culturally, we’ve come quite a ways. If you doubt the distance traveled, consider this clip from Monty Python’s Life of Brian:
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95% by film critics, 93% by the audience.
Back to Calvin, a question comes to mind: Presumably, the company’s contention is that Roberto is a man; but aren’t they calling him a “mother”? A misgendering may be among us.
Given the many ways sex and gender are being juggled, there’s a great deal of ironing out to be done. Surely in time, we’ll get it sufficiently sorted.
We’re gonna have to.
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