The Women's International Zionist Organization has handed out its annual badge of shame for sexist advertising, and this year the trophy goes to the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.
The offending advertising campaign is the Ministry's 2012 initiative "Each One Brings One," starring Israel model, actress and producer Noa Tishby.
According to WIZO, the campaign, spearheaded by the Israel Government Advertising Agency, sends out an outdated message suggesting that women are incapable of performing "male" tasks, as well as objectifying women as pretty little things restricted to their traditional societal roles.
The ad, which they contend paints women in a ridiculous and demeaning light, shows the actress Gilat Ankori lying in ambush with a group of Israeli soldiers. Tishby walks up and says to her, "We never asked you to wait in ambush. But there is something you could do – bring a tourist here."
According to WIZO, “These ads are part of a long-lasting tradition of sexist ads put out by the Tourism Ministry, reflecting a derisive attitude toward women. In the past, both the Tourism and Foreign Ministries showed beautiful models in provocative situations in their depictions of Israel."
“Instead of the state adopting decent advertising norms that can serve as models for commercial advertisers, the Tourism Ministry is employing old-fashioned methods which downgrade women, all at the taxpayer’s expense,” says Gila Oshrat, chairperson of WIZO Israel. “This year, we are witnessing a particularly shameful situation in which young women are portrayed in a humiliating fashion, perpetuating distorted perceptions that even hint at violence. WIZO has launched a campaign intended to study, together with advertisers, different ways of achieving a more fair and respectful portrayal of women in the media, while taking into account constraints of the market and the advertising world.”
Tourism Ministry officials responded by saying that they were sorry to hear these comments by WIZO, although they disagreed with their content. “The campaign presents strong and assertive women such as Noa Tishby. These are women with clear opinions, confidence and financial independence. Actresses Gila Oshrat and Shiri Gadni, who are also employed in the campaign, have a public image as strong, independent women. The campaign is led by women in the belief that they are the agents of change and motivators for taking action. We believe that part of women’s strength derives from their freedom to be who they choose to be, not catering to feminist ideals. Furthermore, in surveys carried out by the Geocartography Knowledge Group, these ads were considered the most liked and memorable in recent times.”
In second place for most shameful portrayal of women was a campaign by Bank Hapoalim, featuring actress Alma Zack and television host Erez Tal. The ad shows a serious, thoughtful and rational man of means, with his personal assistant portrayed in the tried, old-fashioned image of a neurotic, ridiculous, childish and dolled-up woman.
Third place went to an ad by Lee Cooper Jeans called “Crave for Jeans,” with Castro’s “Lingerie” ad in fourth place, followed by Vanish Kalia laundry detergent and AIG insurance company, whose ad states that “women pay less for car insurance.”
Last year, WIZO gave the top slot of shame to FIX underwear brand, which called on girls to post photos of themselves in their bras on Facebook.
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