Last week we reported the glorious news that London-based lingerie brand Playful Promises had chosen Violet Chachki, a gender fluid drag and burlesque performer, as the face of their new Bettie Page collection.
When the collaboration was announced, Violet noted that it’s still a risk for brands to commit to diversity and feature people from the LGBTQ+ community.
‘There are so many brands out there I know that would never touch drag,’ Violet said.
The model was correct. It is still a risk for brands to hire a gender fluid model. It’s bloody disappointing to say, but brands face backlash and boycotts simply for committing to representing a wide range of people.
So yes, Playful Promises has received criticism for hiring Violet.
But thankfully, the lingerie brand has responded to that criticism in a truly glorious manner.
Playful Promises decided to use the bashing they received as an opportunity for education, taking to their Twitter to explain why they’d chosen Violet to model their range and to call out people for deliberately misgendering non-binary people.
‘Violet is gender fluid,’ the brand wrote on Twitter. ‘We did not choose “a man”. We chose a gender fluid person that is not represented in the media, and certainly not in the lingerie industry.
‘Deliberately misgendering someone, once informed of their gender identity, is cruel. It also implies that trans women are not accepted. We stand with our trans, gender fluid and non-binary friends, you are all welcome.
‘We also chose to use a non-binary model because the vintage/pinup community has certain issues with gender (also racism, but that’s another thread). We’ve seen comments comparing “modern” women to their “classier” counterparts of the past.
Things you need to know about why we chose Violet Chachki to model our new range of Bettie Page Lingerie:
1. Violet is gender fluid. We did not choose "a man". We chose a gender fluid person that is not represented in the media, and certainly not in the lingerie industry.
— Playful Promises (@PlayfulPromises) November 20, 2017
‘Often, there’s an implication that women who had less agency and freedom are “better” than women now. A non-binary model raises questions about how we view pin-ups of the past, and how we talk about images of women today.
‘Drag is about looking at hyper-femininity (or the opposite for Drag Kings).
‘Lingerie is one of the most traditionally “feminine” products one can buy (or at least how this is presented in advertising). Which leads me on to… So many lingerie campaigns are created with the male gaze in mind.
‘Less so than 20-30 years ago, but it’s still there.
‘What does using a non-binary model who is not a cis woman, shot by a woman, wearing lingerie created by women, say to you about the male gaze?
‘We’re extremely proud of this campaign.’
To which we say bravo.
The tweets have since been shared hundreds of times, with many praising Playful Promises for turning the negativity into something positive.
This lingerie brand will have no more of your misgendering, narrow-minded criticism, thanks.