Come March 8, every year, our phones are flooded with SMSes announcing discounts or special offers on the occasion of International Women’s Day, and this year was no exception. Not only that, it’s a day when ‘femvertising’ reaches its peak. But amidst all of that, UrbanClap’s newest ad really stands apart.
In it, we see the usual upper-middle-class domestic setting during a rather unusual celebration – a Women’s Day party. But if Renu aunty is confused about the preparations, both she and the viewer are in for a big surprise.
The cakes and the balloons might make you think this whole set-up is for a little girl – “Vaishali” – a baby who will be experiencing Women’s Day for the first time. And you think the message is going to be about passing the torch on to the younger generation. But in the final few moments everything comes together, and how.
The fact that Vaishali is a trans woman, and a character around which the whole ad revolves, is super significant. At one level, the ad is making the case for acceptance, and for visibilising trans people. It even demonstrates what acceptance looks like, through the characters of Vaishali’s mother, and their neighbour Renu Aunty. But on another, and perhaps even more crucial level, the ad is driving home the point that trans women are women.
For a long time, feminism and women’s rights has been extremely hostile to trans people, suggesting that they aren’t really women, and they have no place in the gender justice movement. UrbanClap is making both these points in one sweep, and we have to say it makes for a pretty great Women’s Day ad!