April 29, 2008
Philips Breaks Barriers With Trans-Focused Razor Ad

Kudos to Philips for using an MTF transperson in their latest ad for the Satinelle Ice — and for managing to do it in a way that’s celebratory, respectful, and, well, pretty awesome.

Semi-related: we’re a little confused about why the whole internet is referring to this nameless dancer as a transvestite.

[Via Adrants]

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  • garrett says :

    That is simply put, the most awesome and wonderful thing I have seen all day.

    I keep thinking of my MTF friend from college who was told, at the age of 17, by her parents that “freaks die alone”

    Freaks are beautiful and they get commercial deals. Fuck you mom and dad!

  • Dylan says :

    Isn’t it offensive though to say “like all men” being that the MTF in the commercial identifies as FEMALE. Maybe I am missing something.

  • Xorn Smith says :

    In a perfect world, this would have 6,743 views too…

  • Lux Alptraum says :


    Well, to be perfectly honest, it all depends on how the dancer identifies. Given that there’s a part where she says “And then they see that I’m a boy” — well, maybe not, you know?

    But point taken.

  • Ryan says :

    After seeing the ad, I thought that the person may have ID’d as a drag performer, so both your trans label and the other article’s “transvestite” label were a maybe a little off. in the linked article, “Neil Dawson, DDB’s global director for Philips” says “It occurred to us that a man, or more specifically a transvestite, would be the ultimate test, given the combination of low pain threshold and desire for beautiful legs.” So there ya go…But I think Lux is right in saying it all depends on how the individual indentifies. I wonder if the person had any say whatsoever in how they were described in subsequent press releases/interviews?

  • Lux Alptraum says :


    I chose to use transperson cause I figured it was the least specific term I could pick.

    I have to say, I’m kinda surprised that the ad neglects to name the person in question. And I’m willing to bet said person had no say in how the ad was put together.

  • Neil D. says :

    Hi there, just wanted to respond to a couple of these points. And maybe ask a question as the term MTF is not familiar to me?
    The man in our ad is called Karis.We involved him throughout the process and ‘transvestite’ is a term he is very happy with. For the sake of the idea it has to be clear that while Karis looks like a beautiful woman he is still actually a man with the same traits ( in regard to pain) as other men.
    The response to the ad has been overwhelmingly positive, much of that i believe is because of the truthfulness of the spot and finding someone as open and lovely as Karis.
    I hope this answers your questions. If i’ve missed something please let me know.
    Kind regards

  • Lux Alptraum says :


    Thank you so much for commenting here, we really appreciate it!

    To answer your questions:

    MTF = male to female, as opposed to FTM (female to male) — it’s a basic way to differentiate between two different kinds of transpeople.

    If Karis was happy with the word transvestite, and the pronoun he, then that’s fine — it’s just sometimes tricky to tell. The reason why I was surprised by the choice of “transvestite” is because that term usually refers to someone who simply wears the clothes of another gender (a crossdresser, if you will) — and in many cases, refers to a heterosexual man who gets a sexual thrill from wearing women’s clothing.

    Transgender, on the other hand, refers to someone who adopts the appearance and characteristics of another gender in daily life — which was more my impression of Karis from the ad. Many times, transgender people will start using the pronoun of the gender they want to be seen as (for example: Buck Angel, an FTM porn star, always identifies as he, regardless of the fact that he has a vagina).

    But anyway, as I said earlier, it fundamentally comes back to what Karis was comfortable with. And regardless, I was very impressed by your sensitive representation of Karis, and the way his identity was handled.

  • Auryn says :

    This is the first time a hair removal commercial has ever gotten me all misty-eyed. Also: Karis is really really beautiful.

  • Loren Roderick says :

    The dialog of the add does not come across as specifically meaning “MTF”… the speaker uses the label “boy” as a self reference, and also states “its not about tricking people, its about doing what I enjoy,” as well as comments about androgony, implying that gender-crossing is an enjoyment rather than a necessity to achieve their own identity. However the fact that it is a commercial targeting MTF’s and cross-dressers is awesome (though I assume it is more towards the cross-dressing as the ad does refer to “men” and hormone therapy helps reduce hair).

  • Lux Alptraum says :


    Not all transpeople take hormones, and I’ve known several trans-identified individuals whose stories might sound a lot like Karis’s.

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Lux Alptraum
Monica Shores