Toyota’s Gender-Bending Win
It’s not the first time a beautiful, bikini-clad model has been used to sell a car. But this one’s a little different.
In a new Japanese Toyota ad, the long-haired 19-year-old Ukrainian Stav Strashko struts toward a car as the camera lovingly follows the model’s perfect, red bikini-bottomed butt. A jacket is seductively shed. And then Strashko turns around to reveal - she’s a man, baby! Yup, that bare chest is flat, but the bulge in the bikini bottom is not.
It’s a novel twist on the old hot chick advertising trope, and while it may have exactly zero to do with why you should buy a car, it has everything to do with the changing way gender is portrayed in advertising. Strashko is the surprise within the ad but, thankfully, he isn’t the punch line of it. This isn’t some transphobic BS trying to sell the notion of what makes a “real” woman (apparently it’s menstrual blood) or some hardy-har-har challenge to distinguish the “stallions from the mares” or a joke about how gender identity is something one whimsically takes on and then regrets. In a making-of clip, Strashko says proudly, “I can’t put it in words how excited I am about this commercial and everything I experienced here.”