Trans*forming Family

thoughts on the transition journey of our entire family, from the proud mother of a transgender youth

New Toyota Commercial Features Transgender Model

Toyota has a new Japanese ad campaign for the Auris featuring Stav Strashko, a transgender model. Reactions to this have been mixed at my house due to the overt sexuality of the ad — opinions vary from this being another form of sexual objectification of women to the sexuality being necessary for the advancement of trans* issues. What are your thoughts?

(Apologies to anyone outside the U.S. who may not be able to view the ad; i don’t know where else to find it other than youtube).



(Credit to Steve Rothaus’ Gay South Florida at The Miami Herald where i originally found this via an email alert)


10 responses to “New Toyota Commercial Features Transgender Model

  1. maddox August 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Wow, I loved it. I think it challenges conventional expectations and stereotypes in a very in-your-face upfront way. They use the sexualization of women as a way to subvert that idea – the model is the one with the power here, holding it over the audience. (Although I can see many people having the stereotypical “yuck, no way” reaction too…)

  2. doubleinvert August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I’d prefer a car ad to suggest why the car is worth buying. I guess one could say the message is that like the model, there’s more to the car than what one can see at first. Personally, I don’t like sex in marketing, unless one is marketing sexual products. I’m a little old for sex in cars.

  3. regan5 August 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I think it was purely attention seeking (aka marketing) on their part. It’s going to form a lasting impression in anyone’s mind (“hey did you see that Toyota commerical”) which generates continued publicity for Toyota. Having said that, it’s as much to do with poking fun at the average car commercial’s objectification of women as it is using the curiousity factor of transgendered people to sell cars. I don’t think it discredits us, but I hesitate to suggest it’s helping either.

  4. Trans*forming Mom August 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I love the variety of opinions. I think my family had as wide a range, too, varying from “what exactly is being sold here” to “that’s total objectification” to “that is totally awesome”.

  5. trisha1den August 23, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I really liked it. The model is beautiful and it shows that not everyone is binary. I can understand people thinking she’s being objectified but my thought is that its nothing more that a shock marketing technique targeting an Asian audience with different sensibilities and such.

  6. ohhmygay August 25, 2012 at 1:04 am

    I have to agree with regan5. It comes off more as a way to sell the commercial more than the car. It will be talk, whether positive or negative it will make you have an opinion and talk about that opinion. While it does still bring attention to the sexual objectification of women I feel like it challenges traditional beauty and sexuality in the fact that it is a different type of feminine beauty and we have to acknowledge that. She is a very beautiful woman and in the commercial exudes a sort of dominance and control over herself, her presence and her sexuality. But with this challenge it seems more like a stunt. That with the lack of trans education in the general public it will just cause buzz rather than cause any kind of movement for the trans community positive or negative.

    On the other hand if you take out binary-gender sexual objectification and oberseve it from a non-binary point of view I do find it as a way to objectify trans women and trans people as a whole by playing off fetishism. It is wonderful that this individual is comfortable with her body but by having her topless forces you to deal with two different realities, the presentation and soul gender versus the physical and biological sex. There was no need to have her topless other than to specifically point out that she is trans. It is wonderful that Toyota is broadening their horizons and publicly including trans persons in their marketing (possible to gain more patronage from the community?) but I feel like there is a difference between using figureheads in the community that we can reference and blatantly revealing someone’s trans status in such suggestive manner.

    I’m on the fence.

  7. surelytomesh August 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I don’t like it very much. As mentioned above, I just can’t see how the model’s sexiness/nudity is at all relevant to the product, which makes it feel like objectification for the point of shock value to me. I like this commercial much better. In this one, the product is named “red passion” and the commercial actually incorporates the product into the undressing of the models and hence the revealing of their non-binary identities. But I do appreciate that the model in your ad is pre-op/non-op and is seemingly proud of her body :)

  8. anjel May 16, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    why do you just assume the model is trans?

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