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.

On Fans and Fanatics

[singlepic id=276 w=320 h=240 float=right]I was a member of the (now defunct) ‘Support Gili & Dorit’ Facebook group for a while now, and thought it is only fair to convey my criticism for the lack of originality shown in the first dance routine in Dancing With The Stars, and so I posted a link to it on the group’s wall. Apparently my (and Justice Brandeis‘) sunlight-is-the-best-disinfectant attitude was not appreciated, as the link I posted was soon deleted and I was banned (!) for life from ever posting or re-joining the group.

Now, mind you, I am not complaining here. On the contrary! This is almost a badge of honor. But I do want to make a couple of points:
1. Always save screen captures.
2. Aaron Sorkin said it best in The West Wing (jump to the 2:57 marker)

Marcel Duchamp Said it First

Found objects can be art:

This digital video art titled ‘Oops’ by Chris Beckman is composed entirely of appropriated YouTube videos, seamlessly stitched together via a motif of camera drops, which according to the artist “serves both as transportative adventure and metaphorical elucidation of YouTube itself (i.e. endless related videos) exemplifying the Internet’s infinite repository of ‘throwaway’ social documentation”. This work was awarded a 2010 Vimeo Award.


Tonight on Your Telly: Creative Atrophy – Continued

This does not reference the original. This isn’t an homage. This is the lazy man’s way of looking creative without actually being creative. It’s copying someone else’s work down to the smallest detail and hoping no one will notice.
Read my original post here.

Of Epic Proportions

[singlepic id=262 w=300 h=431 float=right]This is one of those ‘bear with me’ posts, as I try (again) to make a larger point out of a small (and petty) one:
In a previous post I listed the various new technologies that made TV worse, starting with distorted video proportions. Due to different broadcast formats and various TV set proportions, it is quite common to see people on the screen which are ‘thinner’ or ‘fatter’ than usual, as the footage is distorted to fit the medium.
While this is temporary until the 4:3 aspect ratio will eventually disappear, it affects our visual perception in the long run. As people get used to these proportionally-incorrect images, today’s compromise becomes tomorrow’s norm, and ‘incorrect’ is the new standard. If you’re having trouble following my train of thought just think of the cognitive dissonance of airbrushed people featured in magazines versus people in real life.

With that in mind I have to say I was shocked, shocked I tell ya, to find an outrageously distorted image in Israel’s leading newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, and on the front page of all places. Take a look at the original proportions (left) and my attempt to correct them (right):
[singlepic id=263 w=525 h=407 float=center]

You don’t have to be familiar with comedian Eli Yatzpan or singer Eyal Golan to realize that in real life they look more like my corrected version than the one that was delivered today to my door.

Tonight on Your Telly: Creative Atrophy

I don’t watch much Israeli TV these days, but when I do I am usually insulted by what I perceive as a general lack of effort. One specific trend that seems to catch on, be it within the actual shows or during their commercial breaks, is this notion that the creative people have decided to call it quits and just copy the latest viral video they stumbled upon on YouTube. Zero creativity, zero added value. Copy and paste.
This YouTube-Copy-and-Paste trend is in its infancy and so I am unable to eloquently dissect and analyze it, but suffice to say it feels inauthentic and corrosive in its nature – and yet very typical of this falsehood of a culture we are gradually becoming.
And so if all that I can do is point to it – pointing I shall:

Excerpt from show: Dancing with the Stars

Show promo: Shavua Sof

TV Ad: Shekem Electric

Note to self: Might need to watch these videos again.

I Hope My Daughter Grows Up to Be Just Like Shakira – A Poem by Shahar Golan



I hope my daughter
Grows up to be
Just like Shakira,
A strong confident woman
That must be caged
Before she can dance
Inside a glittery vagina.