Oscars 2020: Academy’s refusal to show postpartum ad triggers debate

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The Academy has not commented on it yet. (Source: Frida Mom | Instagram)

Oscars 2020 may have concluded but the political statements made on and offstage are still talked about, besides the films and performances awarded that night. A long-standing criticism against the Academy Awards has been on the lack of racial diversity and gender. This time, however, things seem to have gone further south.

Recently, Frida Mom, a label that specialises in products which have mothers "covered from first contraction to first postpartum bathroom trip," shared on their Instagram how an advertisement about the struggles a woman goes through post-delivery was rejected from screening by the Academy. Aimed at their postpartum products, the ad features a woman who has recently conceived. It opens with her going to the washroom to change her sanitary napkins while her child cries on the bed. It clearly is a rather raw and accurate presentation of the hardships of motherhood and how, contrary to what is believed, women are not innately prepared to deal with it. It is a struggle.


Commenting on the refusal of the Academy, the brand shared on Instagram, "The ad you’re about to watch was rejected by ABC & the Oscars from airing during this year’s award show. It's not 'violent, political' or sexual in nature. Our ad is not 'religious or lewd' and does not portray 'guns or ammunition'. 'Feminine hygiene & hemorrhoid relief' are also banned subjects. It’s just a new mom, home with her baby and her new body for the first time. Yet it was rejected. And we wonder why new moms feel unprepared. So spray it forward and share this video with every new mom. She deserves to be prepared."

According to New York Post, which cites a report from Today Parents, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences cannot screen commercials which include “political candidates/positions, religious or faith-based messages/positions, guns, gun shows, ammunition, feminine hygiene products, adult diapers, condoms or hemorrhoid remedies.”

Even though the Academy has not commented on it, various celebrities are showing their support for it. Actor and writer Busy Philipps shared it on Instagram and wrote, "This is an ad for new postpartum products for women-this ad was rejected from ABC(see the repost below from the brand) I legit teared up when I just watched it. Partially because this is clearly an ad made by women who have been there and get it and partially because 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. You probably don't even flinch when an Erectile Disfunction ad comes on but THIS AD IS REJECTED?! I think this is an incredible piece of advertising that accurately represents something millions of women know intimately. And I'm so fu**ing sick of living in a society where the act of simply BEING A WOMAN is rejected by the gatekeepers of media. Well. Shame on them and NOT on us for simply being human women."