From the same company that brought us the world’s first two-in-one conditioner and shampoo formula, and also questioned Japan’s strict rules on job hunting attire, a new commercial recently produced by Pantene has been making the rounds on social media.
Featuring an interview with two transgender individuals and their experiences job hunting in Japan, it is overall a poignant portrait and homage to gender identity as well as its nuances in modern-day Japanese society.
▼ You can check it out here, with English subtitles available.
The commercial is part of a campaign supporting LGBTQ+ individuals that has been ongoing since September 2020. Titled #PrideHair, the campaign was launched by Pantene after a study revealed that over 70 percent of LGBTQ+ individuals in Japan struggled when it came to finding employment.
When asked why, survey participants primarily mentioned “fear of discrimination and prejudice,” and a good portion of answers also cited “uncertainty of how to present one’s self in an interview.”
▼ The commercial features close-ups of members from the Japanese trans community.
For context, job seekers in Japan are expected to report their gender on resumes and also adhere to very specific attire that coincides with one’s reported gender. Resumes that ask an applicant’s gender generally only have two options: male and female. Not only does this put non-binary folks in a tough spot, but trans individuals must decide whether to report as their gender identity or to report as their sex assigned at birth, not to mention how to dress when it comes to interviews.
Furthermore, what adds even more anxiety to an already stressful process is the fact that some companies may also dismiss applicants during the screening process for failing to conform to the dress code expected of their reported gender.
▼ An example photo of the typical attire Japanese college graduates wear while looking for work.
The responses from Japanese netizens on the commercial were mostly positive:
“I can’t word my feelings well, but all I can say is that this commercial moved me.”
“This is probably the first time I didn’t fast forward through a commercial.”
“From hereon, I’m using Pantene for sure!”
“This is such a lovely campaign to be part of.”
“It’s time we enter a new era.”
As we enter a new decade, let’s hope more companies make the transition to be more openly LGBTQ+ friendly, such as this Japanese company which removed the reporting of one’s gender altogether from their job application process.
Related: Pantene #PrideHair
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