The Body Shop has sparked controversy after weighing into a debate around transphobia by encouraging author JK Rowling to read up on trans rights in the bath.
The Harry Potter writer, 54, had become embroiled in a heated online debate about transgender issues after criticising an article titled: “Opinion: Creating a more equal post-COVID-19 world for people who menstruate” over the weekend.
She voiced disagreement with the terminology, tweeting: “‘People who menstruate’. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?”
Critics then accused her of not respecting women who do not menstruate, as well as transgender men and non-binary people who do.
Yesterday, The Body Shop weighed in by encouraging her to better educate herself about the topic.
It shared a photo of a canvas bag which carried the words “it’s bloody natural,” with the hashtag “drop the P word.”
It also included a copy of Paisley Currah’s book, Transgender Rights, and a vegan bath bomb.
However, social media users criticised The Body Shop’s message, particularly given the tweet came hours after Rowling posted an open letter about her experiences of domestic violence.
“I’ve been in the public eye now for over 20 years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor,” Rowling wrote.
“This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember.”
According to some Twitter users, The Body Shop’s response was “tone-deaf” and appeared to “mock” Rowling’s past abuse.
One person tweeted: “Hey, everyone, The Body Shop thinks women talking about surviving domestic abuse is something to mock. What a look, eh?.”
Another wrote that she had written to the firm’s chief executive. She said: “I’ve just emailed a note to say how disappointed I am at the tone and timing of this marketing.”
And another said: “Is the Body Shop’s position now that women who talk about their experience of domestic violence need to be ‘corrected’ and patronised?
While another wrote: “I mean. The Body Shop. Deciding to join in a campaign to stop a woman talking about *bodies*.”
However, others came out in support of The Body Shop, applauding it for standing up for transgender people.
“Thank You for saying it like it is. Menstruation doesn’t = woman/womanhood. We are not our bodies, we are more than that,” one person tweeted. “The transphobia in some of these comments is so disgusting.”
Another said: “The Body Shop calls JK Rowling out for her transphobia and people get angry? This. This is the issue people.
“People support the rights of a white woman punching down at an oppressed minority and think they’re being feminist. This is how pervasive transphobia is.”