Academy bans Frida Mom commercial about postpartum
The Academy Awards banned a commercial by Frida Mom depicting a mother experiencing postpartum symptoms. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) deemed it was “too graphic with partial nudity and product demonstration.”
In the advertisement, a mother wakes in the middle of the night to her baby crying. She gets up, puts her baby back to sleep and goes to the bathroom. She is wearing mesh underwear that hospitals provide mothers after they give birth. She is then shown having difficulty going to the bathroom, as her body is recovering from the physical strain of pregnancy and childbirth. This is a process that mothers typically go through, but it is not openly talked about it in the media.
After the advertisement was banned, it went viral on YouTube, garnering 3 million views and resonating with many mothers, who claim the commercial was a real and accurate experience of what they go through the week after giving birth.
A spokesperson for Frida Mom said the commercial was vetted and rejected for violating AMPAS guidelines, which said advertisement of “political candidates/positions, religious or faith-based message/position, guns, gun shows, ammunition, feminine hygiene products, adult diapers, condoms or hemorrhoid remedies” was prohibited.
Frida Mom found it offensive that the Academy Awards was equating guns and ammunition with feminine hygiene products and adult diapers. While the commercial may be too graphic and uncomfortable to many, it served to start a conversation and promote awareness of postpartum recovery. Upon seeing the advertisement for the first time, I was confused as to what was happening because this stage of what recent mothers go through isn’t talked about.
The Academy Awards is a questionable platform to premiere the advertisement, but since many people tune in to watch, it was successful in getting people talking. Mothers who go through this turmoil felt validated by seeing their struggles and experiences being displayed in such an authentic way.
The star of the advertisement, Laura Gilreath, spoke to Elle about the advertisement’s controversy, what it meant to her as a mother and the impact the ad has had on society. She said she was pregnant when the advertisement was filmed, because a postpartum mother wouldn’t have been able to do a shoot that would last for hours and require her walking back and forth. She says she didn’t know about the underwear and it freaked her out, which goes to show that pregnant mothers may not know what they’re in for.
About the Academy Awards controversy, Gilreath said she was disappointed that they decided not to premiere the commercial and discussed how society glorifies the ideas of being pregnant and being a mother.
“I think people don’t want to see the dirtiness of birthing a baby, even though so many people have babies. They want to keep the idea of a woman being very clean and sexy,” Gilreath said.
She makes a good point, as society tends to focus on how beautiful and miraculous it is to have a child, but won’t acknowledge that ugly side of it that many mothers have to face. The advertisement made many people uncomfortable not only because it is direct and didn’t sugarcoat anything, but also because seeing women and mothers in this way isn’t normalized.
I personally don’t object to the commercial, as the conversation about it is important. In this day in age women are being more open about our experiences than ever before.
The Academy Awards usually draws in more adult audiences and recognize films that touch on controversial social issues and expression from women and minorities, so this advertisement is not as out of place as it seems.
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