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ABC, Motion Picture Academy Spiked a Postpartum Pain Ad From the Oscars Telecast, Calling It 'Too Graphic'

Bodies do not bounce back instantly after giving birth, despite what the movies and cheerful postpartum Instagram posts might lead you to believe. And yet, first-time mothers are often unprepared for the six to 8 weeks it typically takes to recover from vaginal birth, probably in part because major networks think it’s “too graphic” to talk about.

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Deadline reports that the above ad, for baby goods company Frida Mom’s postpartum recovery kit, was banned from the Oscars telecast, after both ABC and the Motion Picture Academy deemed it “too graphic” to air during the awards show.

Apparently, the Academy took issue with the ad’s depiction of “partial nudity and product demonstration,” probably because the ad shows a woman dealing with typical afterbirth care like postpartum mesh underwear and pain-relieving spray, instead of glossing over real-life messiness with a butterfly or dancing flower or some other metaphorical bullshit.

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Frida Mom addressed the ad pull in an Instagram post, pointing out that it wasn’t any more graphic than commercials for hemorrhoid relief:

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.

The ad rejection got picked up by a bunch of celebrities, notably Busy Phillips, who called the ad an “incredible piece of advertising that accurately represents something millions of women know intimately,” in an Instagram post, adding, “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.”

This is just one of a million examples of networks and other advertising venues rejecting ads featuring realistic depictions of menstruation, pregnancy, sexual pleasure, and other realities of womanhood deemed “too graphic” for public consumption. And yet.

Night blogger, author of GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO PEOPLE YOU HATE.

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DISCUSSION

This ad has me bawling. I helped take care of my sister after she gave birth when I was 25 years old... I work in the healthcare field (specifically sexual and reproductive health), and I had NO idea the level of pain, discomfort, and suffering new moms have after vaginal delivery. My sister was in so much pain and needed regular help using the bathroom and showering, and her partner was not able to assist because his company did not allow parental leave. He got 2 days with mom and baby in the hospital and then had to go back to work. That’s how I ended up flying halfway across the country to care for her so she could take care of her little one.

This commercial is so real, it was like being back in my sister’s apartment those first days after delivery. I hope we get to see more truthful representations of postpartum in popular media.