The trans fairy tale

Mar 16, 2022 by

by Nicole Jones, The Critic:

Pink News is shamelessly exploiting the “authentic self” to sell mastectomies to young people.

Benjamin Cohen, CEO of Pink News, has just announced the launch of a new series on Snapchat, Pure Trans Joy, described as “dedicated to sharing stories of Trans happiness from PinkNews”. The first episode is titled “What Is Trans Surgery Like For Trans Guys?”, featuring transgender influencers making a hard sell for double masectomies. There is little information on the specifics; instead, the show obfuscates and focuses on the positive, transformative outcomes that cosmetic surgery (which will set you back a mere £6000-£7000) can have on the lives of dissatisfied young women. In the words of Mad Men’s Don Draper, “advertising is based on one thing — happiness”.

Pink News first launched on Snapchat in 2018, and in the next year it significantly increased its revenues. Ever since, Pink News has become a “Snapchat-first” publisher, with the app becoming its “primary” focus, and Cohen isn’t shy about explaining the motivations behind the move: “We want to create great content to get people into the funnel and then once they are, we want to sell them products.”

Profiles on Snapchat for businesses emphasise the platform’s younger demographic, in which 84 per cent are under the age of 34 (50 per cent of users are under 25, and 23 per cent have not yet graduated from high school), and how “Snapchatters” are 60 per cent more likely to make an impulse purchase. For Pink News, these purchases include: colourful mugs, stickers, bags, t-shirts and phone cases with gender pronouns and feel-good phrases like “gender is a social construct”, “trans women are women”, “trans men are men”, “bi people are real”; as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, omnisexual, ace, trans, non-binary and pansexual rainbow designs. Cohen has also spoken about another Snapchat show, Retold, a proposed six-part series aimed at retelling fairytales with an LGBT twist, said to “generate interest, and new product opportunities if the characters and stories prove popular enough with Cohen hinting it may venture into print storybooks and character dolls”.

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