On International Women’s Day, Fae Johnstone – a 27-year-old transgender woman and Hershey’s spokesperson – faced criticism due to the company’s failed Canada promotion. But she firmly stood her ground, proclaiming that despite all obstacles, she will never give up fighting for what is right. With conviction in her voice and an unwavering determination in her heart, Fae sent a powerful message to everyone who dared question whether or not someone like herself deserves respect: they do!
Johnstone boldly declared that Hershey’s had no regard for women, sparking massive boycotts and criticism from customers. Unfortunately, she was also targeted due to her identity as a transgender woman which clashed with the expectations people have of someone representing a chocolate bar brand.
The transgender representative reported a wave of objection following her statements that “demonstrates exactly how much the far-right is zeroing in on trans people and trans women in particular.”
Johnstone added on Twitter, “The reaction to my inclusion as a trans woman in Hershey’s Canada’s IWD campaign shows just how far we still have to go in the fight for feminist liberation and trans rights. They’re coming for us. We need our allies now more than ever.”
Despite the copious criticisms and vitriol she encountered when appointed as Canada’s International Women’s Day spokesperson for Hershey’s candy, Johnstone — a white woman — proclaimed that she will not be shying away from the limelight anytime soon.
“I’m not going anywhere. I’m not shutting up. I will always stand up for women and girls, cis and trans.”
Being Canadian by birth, Johnstone skyrocketed to the zenith of the limited pool of spokespeople for the United States chocolate company’s HER for SHE campaign in Canada. This initiative was launched on Wednesday as a tribute to International Women’s Day and is headed up by her own small consulting firm that she co-founded.
To honor International Women’s Day, Johnstone and four other female role models will be featured on the wrappers of a chocolate bar throughout March. This special promotional campaign by the chocolate company is intended to raise awareness for women everywhere.
For years, Johnstone has been a steadfast advocate for LGBTQ rights. Last year she was honored with the LGBT Youth Line Trans Activism award and is proud to have served on both the board of the LGBT Youth Line and the Canadian Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity as well as being part of the Ontario Center of Excellence’s Strategic Advisory Council dedicated to Child & Youth Mental Health. Her unwavering commitment to creating an accepting, safer environment continues to inspire many around her.
Not long after Hershey’s unveiled their new packaging, many people were urging others to join them in boycotting the chocolate giant.
After discovering she had left people bewildered by her identity as a transgender woman, Johnstone took to Twitter to share her story, “Spurring an international campaign to boycott a chocolate company definitely wasn’t on my list of predictions for 2023.”
What is your opinion of Hershey’s International Women’s Day campaign? Do you think it was successful in celebrating and honoring women across the world?