I have compiled a list of brilliant films, exquisite works of art, that I feel everyone must watch. The thing is, these movies are so emotionally drenching, gut wrenching and hazardous to a delicate heart, I can never bring myself to watching them a second time as now I know what’s ahead of me and cannot go through such turmoil again.
Compliance (2012) – Director: Craig Zobel
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) – Director: Lynne Ramsay
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008) – Director: Kurt Kuenne
Dancer in the Dark (2000) – Director: Lars von Trier
Requiem for a Dream (2000) – Director: Darren Aronofsky
Boys Don’t Cry (1999) – Director: Kimberly Peirce
Every time a TV spot is criticized for being chauvinistic or homophobic, the ad men have the same canned response: “It’s a joke! Haven’t you got a sense of humor?”. Well, these days it seems trans people are the butt of the joke, from New Zealand tampons to the first aid course the company made me take this week, to this recent Israeli ad for Domino’s Pizza:
In the ad, Israeli singer and comedian Maor Cohen talks about being pampered by his mom in the winter time. The camera zooms out just as a big masculine arm slaps Cohen, and we see a male actor playing the role of the mom whose pampering apparently involves delivering pizzas to her son. Now, you don’t need to hone your Hebrew skills to pick up on the pointy boobs, the crotch grab and the general macho quality of the mom character. Simply put, there doesn’t seem to be any plausible explanation as to why a cisman was cast to play the mom – except for the obvious one: “Whoosh, that’s the joke…” – and a very transphobic one, in my opinion.
How can a first aid course make fun of trans people, you ask? Well, one needs to try very hard, as the EMT that taught the course proved: When he talked about snake bites and how you should never cut the bitten organ to extract the venom, the instructor held up a piece of paper which read “Do not cut” and had a photo of Israeli singer Dana International on it. Get it? Do not cut. Yeah, I know…
Israeli telecom provider 012 Smile know how to create an ad without insulting trans people (or their friends). Read all about it here.
The pendulum swings and as far as sex segregation and marginalizing women, it seems Israel is at the very end of the swing: Surely it cannot get worse than forcing women to sit at the back of the bus or requesting women dress modestly when visiting a doctor. And so the silent majority is silent no more, protesting extremists pushing the country away from its founding principles. I am very hopeful we will soon experience again a sane and equal normalcy.
Having said that, I take issue with all the brouhaha about the exclusion of women from advertisements: leading Israeli companies have come under scrutiny (1, 2, 3) for print ads that did not include women in them. Essentially, these people are demanding that women will be returned to advertisements – and I think that’s laughable:
Until the day comes when ad agencies are no longer havens for misogynistic men, portraying women in their stereotypical positions as secretaries and housewives – or seductresses; Until the day comes when women in TV ads will try to persuade us to switch banks or buy car insurance, and not just as gratuitous eye candy to hold the product up against their naked, heaving bodies: Until the day comes when women are shown as equal to men – until that bright day arrives, getting rid of images of women in advertising might just be a breath of fresh air; An extreme measure to combat an unbearable situation that have been going on for far too long. To quote the fictional Admiral Percy Fitzwallace: “[We've] got some real honest-to-god battles to fight. [We] don’t have time for the cosmetic ones.”
To prove my point, here is an assortment of newspaper ads published this week: