Moms across the country are expressing their disappointment after ABC rejected an ad that sheds light on the messy reality of postpartum bodies.
Frida Mom, a brand that sells postpartum recovery products, created a TV spot with all the unglamorous trappings of new motherhood ― from mesh underwear to peri bottles to pad changes. The company’s media agency submitted the ad to ABC to air during the Oscars, but it was deemed “too graphic with partial nudity and product demonstration,” according to an email from Frida Mom.
Specifically, ABC cited the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences guidelines, which state, “Advertisement of the following is not permitted: Political candidates/positions, religious or faith-based message/position, guns, gun shows, ammunition, feminine hygiene products, adult diapers, condoms or hemorrhoid remedies.”
After the ad was rejected, many mothers ― including celebrity moms ― shared their outrage on social media.
Busy Philipps posted the ad on Instagram, saying she “legit teared up” when she watched it, and called for more advertising that de-stigmatizes women’s real experiences.
“I DO believe so strongly that the more we can NORMALIZE A WOMAN’S BODILY EXPERIENCE IN MEDIA, the better off our culture and society will be. AND YES THAT MEANS ADS TOO,” she wrote in the Instagram caption. “You probably don’t even flinch when an Erectile Disfunction ad comes on but THIS AD IS REJECTED?! ... Shame on them and NOT on us for simply being human women.”
Famous and nonfamous women alike chimed in to support Philipps’ message in the comments.
“But they have no issues showing tampon commercials during dinner hour as long as they portray women smiling and skipping around actively in pure delight,” one commenter noted.
“I teared up too... brought back a difficult time in my life, when I felt very lonely. I wish I could have known more, seen more people experience what I was experiencing,” another said.
“This is so important,” wrote actor Michelle Monaghan.
Frida Mom’s reality-focused advertising strategy has faced obstacles in the past. In 2018, the company attempted to promote its MomWasher product with billboards that featured the tagline “Your Vagina Will Thank You,” but the ads were rejected almost everywhere except New York.
Chelsea Hirschhorn, the CEO of Frida Mom and a mother of three, issued the following statement to HuffPost reaffirming her commitment to shining a light on postpartum realities, even after the Oscars rejection:
“Our products help women navigate the otherwise daunting postpartum recovery process. In service of that mission, we created a raw and honest portrayal of what women can expect to experience,” the statement read. “We had hoped to share it with as broad of an audience as possible because knowledge is confidence, and a confident mother is a better, happier mother. We’ve made such substantial progress in advancing the conversation around postpartum recovery.”
“While this rejection of our ad feels like a step back,” the statement continued, “it certainly won’t deter us from amplifying our message through whatever channels remain available to us.”
ABC did not immediately respond to requests for comment.