*It’s a really big deal for any teen to be chosen for a major ad campaign, but its an even bigger one if that teen happens to be transgender. So imagine how excited 14-year-old Jazz Jennings was when she heard she had been chosen as the face of Clean & Clear acne treatment products. This, soon after the TLC Network announced a new reality show documenting Jazz’s life as a gender stereotypical girl.
“The real me is happy and proud to be who I am,” Jazz says in a video campaign created by Clean & Clear. “And I’m just having fun being one of the girls.”
Of course there are the naysayers…
Like the parent groups who worry that Jazz’s Clean & Clear campaign sends the wrong message to other troubled teenagers: if you don’t like yourself the way you are, you can take dangerous hormones for the rest of your life or have radical surgery to remove your body parts.
I suppose some could have such a thought, while others might think, “Wow, if he can be accepted, maybe I can, too!
Ultimately, its up to the parents to discuss these things with their children and grandchildren. And discuss it on a level they will understand. Such discussion won’t be successful if its based on judgement, but I feel, and this is only my opinion, should be about more about the issue itself (a child feeling uncomfortable in his own skin) than how you feel about it.
Jazz was 5 when he told his parents he was a girl. And they didn’t try to change him, or yell at him and call him names. Instead, they did what any well-meaning parents would do: they supported him. They bought him gender-specific feminine clothing, thereby reinforcing his obsession with stereotypical girlish things.
Clean and Clear’s new ad campaign, “See the Real Me” promotes skin care products but also doubles as a call-to-action series on social media, asking people to send in their stories using the hashtag #SeeTheRealMe to promote natural beauty, according to Yahoo News.
Of course the mixed-messages of having Jazz be “The Face” of Clean & Clear has not gone unnoticed. Jazz, who was diagnosed with the mental illness Gender Dysphoria, is being used to positively reinforce body image in girls — even as he struggles to maintain a false body image with the assistance of hormones and surgery.
“I hope they can learn to be brave and not care what other people think about them,” says Jazz.
Clean & Clear takes a very bold and controversial step with this one. The fall-out is sure to be coming.