As Hollywood’s A-list prepares to walk down the red carpet at tonight’s Academy Awards, a new Frida Mom postpartum ad is causing some controversy after being rejected by the Oscars for being “too graphic.”
The commercial shows a new mom in the first days after giving birth, facing the realities of what is happening to her body. You can see her postpartum belly, the mesh underwear given to new moms at the hospital, her struggle to go to the bathroom, the pad she must wear as her body continues to bleed—all while a newborn is crying in the background.
Frida Mom, a company focused on the postpartum needs of women, went ahead and posted the ad on its Instagram feed for all to see. “The ad you’re about to watch was rejected by ABC & the Oscars from airing during this year’s award show,” the caption reads. “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.”
The ad also has over 800,000 views on the Frida Mom Youtube channel.
Many rallied to the defense of Frida Mom and the ad, including Busy Philipps. “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,” Philipps wrote on Instagram. “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 fucking 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.”
Many of the commenters on the brand’s post agreed. “Such a beautiful ad. I completely teared up. It brought me right back to having my babies and that our bodies are so badass. Thank you for creating this. It is beautiful. If anything you have impacted me today,” one wrote. “Such an honest representation of the new mom experience! My little one is now 20 weeks and your products were amazing! Thank you for sharing this and trying to help remove the stigma from the postpartum journey,” another said.
(ABC has not yet commented on the backlash.)
While the Frida Mom postpartum ad may not get its moment on Hollywood’s biggest night, it’s still making an impact on normalizing the experience of so many women—and that’s a very good thing.