In honor of International Women’s Day, Hershey Canada has launched five limited edition HER for SHE chocolate bars which are supposed to feature young, inspirational Canadian women who are building a positive future, but the company is facing backlash after deciding to include a biological male in their line-up.
Fae Johnstone, a trans-identified male who has spoken publicly about wanting women with differing political views to be "so vilified" that they don’t dare speak, announced the exciting news on Twitter Wednesday, and not long after, the hashtag #BoycottHershey started to trend as women all over the world expressed their resentment about yet another biological male being honored on a day that is supposed to celebrate women.
“We can create a world where everyone is able to live in public space as their honest and authentic selves,” says executive director of Wisdom2Action Johnstone, in the Hershey promotional video.
But not if you are a woman who has unacceptable opinions such as women are female and humans cannot change sex. According to Johnstone, anyone who doesn’t believe “trans women are women” must be intimidated into silence.
“I actually do want a political environment in which TERFs are so vilified they don’t dare speak their views, let alone act on them,” tweeted Johnstone in 2021. “Shut. Them. Down.”
At the time, Johnstone was calling on elected officials and ministers to denounce “TERF rhetoric for the hate-fuelled speech that it is.”
The acronym TERF stands for trans-exclusionary radical feminist and is a slur used against all women who reject gender identity ideology and the idea that men can become women simply by self-declaration. Lesbians who refuse to date males who identify as women are also called TERFs, as are those who campaign for an end to experimental child sex changes.
Johnstone called on elected officials to “unequivocally affirm that trans women are women” and that “ideologies saying otherwise are based in transphobia.”
“Johnstone decries 'ideologies' that say trans women aren’t women, but observing reality isn’t an ideology. It’s just having two eyes and something behind them,” pointed out Twitter user.
The #BoycottHersheys hashtag was flooded with angry women expressing outrage that a biological male was being honored in their campaign that is supposed to inspire women and girls.
One woman called it a “horrid message to send to women: that even on Women’s Day, there weren’t enough successful women to celebrate, so you will have to share the stage with a man.”
Johnstone’s inclusion in the Hershey lineup comes just a week after the She Persisted children’s books announced Rachel Levine, another trans-identified male, was to be included in their new series intended to inspire young girls to strive for greatness.
This is not the first time Johnstone has received backlash for taking the spot of a woman. In December, Johnstone gave the keynote speech at Durham College in Ontario to mark the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women were murdered by Marc Lépine simply for being women.
Centering males on the national day of mourning to remember the women who were killed is becoming a recurring theme in Canada. In 2021, trans-identified male Anastasia Preston was invited to speak at a Montreal Massacre memorial service in Prince Edward Island.
According to CBC, Preston intended to share stories of harassment in the hopes of raising awareness, including one incident of being groped while wearing a red dress in a bar.
“It was probably one of the most revolting experiences I’ve had in my life,” said the adult male invited to commemorate women murdered for being women.
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