Pornification Series: Trinny and Susannah

TV style gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine are launching tomorrow an Israeli version of What Not To Wear. Admittedly, I am anxiously waiting to see how the two will brilliantly make over the natives in an inevitable collision course between The Holy Land and Britannia. I was less than happy, nevertheless, to find out the name of the television series will be ‘Trinny and Susannah do Israel‘ (‘Trinny ve Susannah osot et Israel‘).
That’s right, Channel 10’s executives went with the Debbie Does Dallas reference, ‘coz even independent women who have jobs are nothing more than whores, a couple of dressed-up porn stars on the tube.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wuFMQnU6z4

Government Sponsored Sexism by the Israeli Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene

In various workplaces around Israel, including mine, one may find the following poster depicting a woman demonstrating the safe way to manually lift items. These kind of workplace safety posters, issued by Israel’s Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene, can be found in most Israeli production plants and warehouses, and are supposed to eliminate work-related injuries.

[singlepic id=278 w=283 h=400 float=right]Now let’s properly examine this image and try to determine whether it is sexist:
A young blond woman, wearing a pale blue sleeveless summer dress and flat white shoes, bends down in order to lift a rather large yellow box. The model’s attire seems totally out of place; Not only does it look unprofessional, it doesn’t seem to comply with safety regulations which require clothes that cover most of the body and steel-capped boots to protect the feet. Moreover, choosing a woman as the exemplary worker seems odd, as the vast majority of factory workers who lift heavy boxes are men. To top it all, the phrase ‘Proper Lifting’ (Hebrew: Harama Nehona) appears in the upper-right corner of the poster. In Hebrew, the word ‘lifting’ may be used as slang to describe sexual intercourse.

All and all, I think it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to assume that in all the production floors in which these posters hang for oh so many years, not once had a similarly dressed woman tried to lift such an object; And so, the only logical conclusion I can come up with for using this model in such a poster is good ol’ fashioned ‘sex sells’ chauvinism which claims that women sell cars and women sell men’s perfume, so women can ‘sell’ safety.

The good news?
In preparing this blog post, I tried to order this poster from the Israeli Institute for Occupational Safety, only to find out that while it does appear in the online catalog, it is no longer in stock and there are no plans to print additional posters.
I guess we can call that progress; Tiny, minuscule progress towards gender equality.

My Candidates for WIZO’s Sexist Israeli Ads for 2010

After covering WIZO’s newest annual tradition of giving out a most-chauvinistic-ad award (2008, 2009), I thought I’d one-up myself and actually suggest a couple of ads for next year’s shaming ceremony. Following are two TV spots that caught my eye, one is gratuitously sexual in a let’s-find-an-excuse-for-leering kinda way:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3f65xVB9cPs

Israeli Lottery – Gitam BBDO

The other is much less overt, much more complex, filled with misogynistic messages about work, kids, shoes and dieting:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q2hQ41iqsU

Osem’s Lachmit whole wheat cracker – Gitam BBDO

I should probably mention that I have discussed these ads with a couple of female friends who did not see anything particularly shocking with these ads. They did note the ads’ sexist nature, they just didn’t think it was any different from most other Israeli ads.
Obviously, I disagree.

Visit Israel in Spite of Our ‘Visit Israel’ Ads

There is a long history of ‘Visit Israel’ ads that seem to miss the mark. Various organizations want the world to visit our tiny country, but apparently good intentions are just not enough, and these often result in offensive adverts. The latest spot, by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy (CIJA), should get some kind of an award for bad taste:

Size Doesn’t Matter – CIJA – 2010
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmdHvRxsty0

Following are a few more ‘Visit Israel’ ads you might find offensive. One thing I find common to all these ads is that they all probably started as funny jokes during a brainstorming session, but there were probably no adults in the room to say “Ha, ha… very funny, now let’s think harder”. Some of these were specifically aimed at quote-unquote going viral, hoping for a lot of FW: FW: FW: THIS IS FUNNY emails.

Un-holy Israel – Keta Keta – 2007
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjmkuIqvl8w

Indeed – Israel at Heart – 2005
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4-l8XfpkC0

WIZO Announces Most Sexist Israeli Ads for 2009

The Israeli branch of WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization established in 1920, continues its annual tradition of announcing the most chauvinistic Israeli advertisements created during the past year. The worst ad will be announced during International Women’s Day, but the top ten finalists were revealed last week. Following are the most sexist TV spots of 2009 and while they are in Hebrew, sexism transcends language barriers:

Tempo’s Goldstar beer – McCann-Erickson Israel
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8goTtVdOblM

Israel Post – Glickman-Nettler-Samsonov
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SLFzdafd7A

Trima’s Postinor morning-after pill – Armoni BATES
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CYKG7tMNuI

Procter & Gamble’s Fairy liquid – Adler, Chomsky & Warshavsky
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enmsH6dVSXw

New Hamashbir Lazarchan – McCann-Erickson Israel
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYU3FnJRwVU

The Craziest F@#king Thing I’ve Ever Seen (Okay, This Week)

I am having a philosophical discussion with a friend about what is and what isn’t worth writing about. Although I publish a comprehensive article now and then, I do not find it necessary to express my opinion every time and on every issue. I contend that in this day and age, pointing to things is service in itself – especially nowadays when things move so fast, and you need them to accumulate and percolate before you can be articulate.

I just watched this new video by Israeli singer Lior Narkis and all I can do is point to it and say: Hey people, watch this! You don’t need to know Hebrew or even like this kind of music in order to fathom the ideas expressed in it. As far as I know this is not a spoof, but the official video for Narkis’ song Metuka (sweetie). If every scale needs to be calibrated, I assume this is an unintentional calibration of the misogyny scale (Damnit, I let my initial reaction slip…)
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WszpZTLspo

Israeli Newspapers Aren’t Dying – They Are Committing Suicide

[singlepic id=195 w=300 h=446 float=right]I watched a few of the first episodes of Israel’s first season of Survivor, but saw enough shots in which the female contestants’ backsides where filling up the entire screen, in order to determine this was no mistake, only another step closer to imitating the raunch culture oversees. When the Israeli media started referring to contestant Marina Kavisher as the “National Rump”, I noted to myself that this just might amount to sexual harrasment as defined by Israeli law – but kept my mouth (and keyboard) silent. As Israeli Survivor’s season 2 comes to a close, Maariv‘s fashion supplement Sig’non decided to commemorate this important event with “The Big Ass Quiz” which urges readers to match each backside with a face.

I don’t have anything particularly smart or funny to say about this. I just think this is another sign my countrymen are growing further apart from me – or vice versa.

Update: You can read this post in Hebrew here.

And The 2008 Award For Best Chauvinistic Israeli Ad Goes To…

After years of raving like a lunatic, my prayers have finally been answered: I just read in the newspaper today that the Israeli branch of WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization established in 1920, will start an annual tradition of announcing the most chauvinistic Israeli advertisements created during the past year. The worst ad will be announced during International Women’s Day, but for now here are three of the top five candidates:

2008 – Mey Eden TV Ad – Bauman-Ber-Rivnay Advertising
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvKijJ7wC3c
Yes, we get it. It’s a Hebrew pun: an ad for a water dispenser which in Hebrew is called a water bar – so let’s book Bar Refaeli. We get it! Now, how do we get from here to the model’s crawling on the counter? Oh, yes, and let’s name it Easy, just to make sure everyone gets it.

 

2008 – ‘Free’ TV Ad – Lin & Lin Advertising
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWpL0oSKo4U
An ample bosom lady in the form of a snack bar tells a male snack that it is all natural so he can nosh freely. Also the Hebrew verb for nosh, Tenashnesh, is phonetically close to the Hebrew verb for fondling, Temashmesh.

 

2007 – Maxim Magazine Article – Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Maxim's Women of the IDF, July 2007In its July 2007 issue, men’s magazine Maxim featured a section called The Women of the Israeli Defense Forces. Believe it or not, this was paid for by the Israeli government as a way of introducing the country to young males who may only know it from the news. While the general idea is not without merit, the very notion that the State of Israel is in the business of pimping women, well that is pretty hard to stomach.

 

The other top two candidates announced by WIZO were a TV ad for Axe deodorant and a print ad for R3 condoms. The Axe ad, in my opinion, should not have made it to the list as the ad was not created in Israel, and the R3 ad must not have made much of an impact as I couldn’t find any trace of it.

Happy Women’s Day!

P.S.
My talented sister muses in Hebrew about misogynistic Israeli ads on her Motek2 blog.

Top Ten Most Offensive Israeli Ads – Part 2

Over the years, the Israeli ad agencies seem less and less connected to the human experience and more and more willing to use anything to sell everything. In this list I attempt to countdown the most offensive advertisements created in Israel in recent years, in the hope of using shame as an incentive to be more creative.

While part 1 of this list focused on ads that were particularly insensitive towards historical tragedies of other nations, part 2 focuses on ads that use sexual harassments and hints of pedophilia as their storyline. Every time each of the following ads was criticized by the media and by consumers, the admen had the same exact response, claiming it was all done with a tongue-in-cheek approach, accusing the critics of being humorless sticks-in-the-mud.

2006 – Chipsi Free TV Ad – McCann Erickson

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71sT12KwS84

A young boy in a Hugh Heffner bathrobe tells his mom to relax as he gets a visit from two teenage blondes. Had it been a young girl getting a visit from two high school guys, there is no doubt in my mind there would have been cries of pedophilia.

2008 – Nescafé Taster’s Choice TV Ad – McCann Erickson

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIPk2aad874

The new Mrs. Robinson apparently now has a craving for instant coffee and a different bachelor, dispensing sexual innuendos that would have been considered too shallow and obvious by 1980s porn directors. Nothing new, just your run-of-the-mill insult to intelligence.

2008 – Kotex Dry & Soft Night TV Ad – McCann Erickson

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAX0rDqLCdo

This is another example of a brainstorming joke that should have never left the ad agency’s conference room. Parents watching this ad with their kids are not only forced to answer questions about doggy style and the meaning of 69, but are also forced to try and explain how sexual positions correlate to female hygiene products. Totally inappropriate.

2007 – Lighting Warehouse TV Ad – Inbar-Merhav-Shaked

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JS1muFSM8ZU

Miki Buganim, an Israeli hairstylist and a D-List celebrity, harasses salesmen with lighting-related sexual innuendos, looking for something for his bedroom, appreciating the fact that it bends – the light fixture, that is – and upon hearing about the 70% discount, stating he would have also agreed to 69.
Since I find a good portion of all Israeli ads to be superficial and insulting to the intelligence, I actually consider this ad to be refreshing, believe it or not. Buganim, an effeminate gay guy, sexually harassing other people in a commercial, is actually progress in a twisted kinda way. Just like gay couples who want to hop on the marriage wagon, clearly seeing that half of the straights experience buyer’s remorse – when a gay guy sells, you know Israeli society had made some progress.