Dove is being slammed for its latest advertising campaign aimed towards young mothers.
The soap company’s new #RealMoms campaign features a diverse variety of mothers from all walks of life, including a cattle rancher, a dance instructor, and Shea, a transgender grad student who identifies as a mother. Critics took issue with the ethnic and—in Shea’s case—gender diversity of the campaign as an attempt to virtue signal.
The video shows an unnamed woman and Shea caring for their biological, newborn son, with an introduction by Shea about the questions people sometimes ask.
“You get people who are like, ‘What do you mean you’re the mom?” Shea says. “We’re like, ‘Yep. We’re both gonna be moms.’”
“There’s no one right way to do it all,” Shea continues.
Commenters on LGBTNation expressed a mixture of acceptance and hostility towards the ad.
“Note that the actual mother doesn’t get to speak,” wrote Lilian Halcombe. “The ‘trans mom’ does all the talking for her and we never learn how the mother feels about the situation.”
Others commented on Shea’s masculine appearance.
Critics on AOL.com were no less forgiving, where they got into heated debates over whether it was okay for transwomen like Shea to appropriate the experiences of women who gave birth to their children.
On YouTube, right-wing media critic Mark Dice published a video to bluntly criticize the ad campaign. He identified Shea as the “baby’s biological father who identifies as mother.”
“You’re not a mom, I’m sorry,” says Dice. “I’m sorry liberals, but if someone is a biological male and their sperm fertilizes the egg of a human female and the human female gives birth, you are not the mom, but the father, even if you believe—and you identify—as a woman.”
Dice, who linked to a news post about the ad on Facebook, informs Heat Street that he was suspended from the service following its publication. His video on YouTube has also been demonetized.
The controversy on the definition of what it means to be a “mother” has become increasingly common. In February, the British Medical Association issued an advisory to doctors to use the term “pregnant people” instead of “expectant mothers” to avoid offending transgender and non-binary mothers. They stated that the use of gender-neutral terms would help “celebrate diversity.”
Update: Mark Dice’s Facebook suspension has been reverted. Facebook claims the suspension and deletion of his post was “accidental.”