comScore Jazz Jennings Transgender Activist For Clean & Clear | The Mary Sue

Transgender Teen Activist Jazz Jennings Is The New Face Of A Clean & Clear Campaign

Young girls slayin'

Just a few days ago we expressed our excitement (along with our prerequisite TLC trepidation) over the potential of the new reality show that will follow teen activist Jazz Jennings and her family. Now we’re hearing something else very encouraging on the Jazz front: She’s been named the face of Clean & Clear’s “See The Real Me” campaign.

If we’re going to spend our days getting advertising thrown at us from every direction, at least let it be cases like this. At this point it seems like we’ve seen countless examples of hygiene and beauty brands grasping for inspirational angles and often coming up short. But Jazz’s story is one that rings so true, and that so desperately needs to be told, that I can actually look past the attempts to sell me something and just focus on the girl at its center.

Jazz has been an active transgender activist for years now, and seeing her in such a prominent position — and yes, with such a prominent brand — is important and awesome exposure.

As Yahoo’s Torraine put it:

The power of visibility cannot be stressed enough. We take in some form of media from the time we scroll through Twitter in the morning until falling asleep watching Netflix at night. Imagine what life would be like when you were growing up if the only time people who shared part of your identity were shown as prostitutes, punch lines, or murder victims. Certainly that would warp your sense of self worth to say the least. This is the reality for most transgender people. Until recently, positive images of a transgender person in the media were nonexistent and this omission has been extremely damaging. So damaging, in fact, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41 percent of trans people attempt suicide in the United States each year compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. And that number isn’t even including the appalling murder rates stemming from transphobia. (It’s been said the average trans person’s life expectancy is somewhere between 23 and 32 years old.)

Representation is crucial. And considering the prevalence of advertising in our media, that extends to the way brands present themselves. As Torraine continued:

While the recent interest in trans people is very encouraging, what is more important is acceptance and understanding. And when it comes to trans lives, these two things are not one and the same. It’s great that people are beginning to accept, but now it’s to make sure we’re understood.

With a reality show on the way and this campaign hitting airwaves, Jazz is in a mightily important position right now. She’s making an impact. She’s being seen, and she’s speaking up.

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Alanna is a pop culture writer who works as the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, an entertainment writer for Bustle, and a freelancer for everywhere. She has a lot of opinions about Harry Potter and will 100% bully you into watching the shows that she loves. Don't worry, it's a sign of friendship.