Bank ad featuring a trans woman

March 7, 2009

Via Mombian this ad for an Argentinian bank features a trans woman whose cis neighbour comes to realise his bigotry and apologises for his past behaviour.

It’s tremendously moving, and groundbreaking for an ad that deals with gender identity. No ‘gotcha’ moment when the transgender character’s biological gender is revealed, no drag costumes, no snarky innuendos.

Good? Bad? Or just another financial services company looking for new customers to help it through the credit crunch?


9 Responses to “Bank ad featuring a trans woman”

  1. Ruth Moss Says:

    Aha, found your post on it!

    Well, as I said on twitter this morning, the cynic in me thinks oh ffs so now this bank is some kind of wonderful hero for just “not being complete arseholes” to a trans woman?

    She was incredibly gracious accepting the apology the way she did – there was a tiny part of me that wanted her to tell him where to get off!

    Someone said over at Shakesville where I saw this originally, that they wondered if the people in the car were the trans woman’s parents in which would bring a different dimension to it.

    I dunno… is tokenism/tiny amount of non transphobic exposure better than nothing at all? Not sure. Possibly.

  2. Helen G Says:

    Yeah. I dunno. I’m really ambivalent about this.


    I’m kind of suspicious of all media portrayals of us atm. And maybe I’m just jaded today, but the profit motive seems to promote amorality with banks – as long as they get our money, the ends justifies the means.

    I can’t help but feel, rightly or wrongly, that – because we’ve been marginalised & demonised for so long – there’s always going to be an element of tokenism in every portrayal of us, no matter how sincere and/or well-intentioned. Maybe it’s a start, but attitudinal changes in society will take far more work, and a much longer time, than one ad can offer.

    I dunno. *shrugs again*

    Gloomy girl is gloomy today :/

  3. Helen G Says:

    Thing is – it just shouldn’t be this way

    But it is, like it or not.

    Part of me agrees with you, ‘half a loaf is better than none’ – and another part of me is just s-o-o-o pissed off that we’re even in this position anyway.

    As ever, it centers cis peoples’ ideas and attitudes at the expense of ours – it’s all about Teh Cis Manz, and how he’s realised that he was wrong – who elected him to be judge and jury over her in the first place? And how did she feel about it? She’s the one had to go through the humiliation and pain – not only of being on the wrong end of his previously shitty attitude – but also having to go through the loan application process with a “wrong” ID card…

    And did you notice wifey kept safely away in the car, btw? There’s a whole other layer of deconstruction there, waiting to be, umm, deconstructed.

    Gahh. This advert’s really doing my head in.

  4. Ruth Moss Says:

    What did you think about the Ikea advert?

  5. Helen G Says:

    Much the same, really.

    Have the ad agencies finally started to wake up to the fact that trans women exist in the world – only to further objectify and exploit us in pursuit of the almighty euro/peso?

    Neither of the ads – the furniture retailer or the bank – show us as anything but some strange and exotic other. We are the outsiders, tolerated only as long as we conform to cis society’s norms – and as long as we have money to spend.


  6. Ruth Moss Says:

    I thought, at least the Ikea ad was from the trans woman’s pov, unlike the other one. But obsession with “The Operation” and comparing it to buying furniture?

    Can see why you’re sighing!!

  7. Mór Rígan Says:

    My two euro cents is that at least there was an acknowledgment of his transphobia and that he apologised. Please correct me if I’m out of line.

  8. Helen G Says:

    For sure, the ad does have some good qualities – but (to me, at least) the woman’s shown as more of an object than a subject. I think that’s possibly the main cause of my ambivalence towards it; the other stuff contributes to my discomfort about it.

  9. The Opoponax Says:

    I’m not going to say anything about the bank ad, because my Spanish is too rusty to form a real opinion on it. Though I noticed a lot of visual cues (as I often do when I watch foreign language video that isn’t subtitled) related to tradition vs. modernity – most obviously the horse-drawn cart vs. the shiny new car. Which is interesting.

    Re the IKEA ad, though — my main *ugh!* is more about the fact that it seems to correlate shopping for housewares with femaleness.

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