““STRESS TEST #8260 — DANA FINDS THE COURAGE TO SHOW THERE’S NO WRONG WAY TO BE A WOMAN.”
While the rights of transgender people and the use of restrooms has become a political wedge issue, Secret shows an angle to the issue that is not generally understood by the public. The spot stars Karis Wilde, who refers to herself as an androgynous queer artist, as Dana, who undergoes the stress of how to exit a stall when a group of women walk into the restroom before she is ready to leave. The ad is careful not to portray the character as specifically transgender, androgynous, genderqueer or non-binary, but it is a situation that is all too familiar to many transgender and gender non-conforming people.
Though there are no spoken words, you can literally feel her fear and anxiety. Finally she takes a deep breath and exits stall with her head held high, with the text reading “Stress test #8260 — Dana finds the courage to show there’s no wrong way to be a woman.” The ad is the latest entry by the deodorant company in its campaign that aims to push against stereotypes held towards women.
“I always have moments of insecurity but I have conditioned myself to act unbothered,” Karis told Queerty when asked if the scene resembled her daily life. “While shooting, I allowed myself to feel vulnerable. It terrified me how much I’ve stored all those emotions; I almost cried in the middle of taping.”