Women’s group names Bar Rafaeli ad ‘most sexist of the year’

Haaretz 11/03/2009

By Dana Weiler-Polak, Haaretz Correspondent

In honor of International Women’s Day, the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) named the most sexist ad of the year on Sunday. The dubious honor of first place went to an Eden Springs commercial featuring model Bar Refaeli, under the heading “the bar you always wanted at home.”

After the competition, women’s groups plan to launch a consumer boycott of the companies whose ads “made it” to the top five spots. The organizations argue that no matter what advertising agencies are trying to sell consumers – be it juice, soap, energy bars or even the Dead Sea – they always manage to stick in women or sex (usually both).

“WIZO calls on the public not to buy products that advertise themselves through the denigration of women and the entrenchment of the sexist image,” said Gila Oshrat, chairwoman of WIZO’s Women’s Status Division.

“As long as the companies advertise themselves by presenting women in a humiliating and denigrating way, we will boycott them en masse,” added Ronit Ehrenfreund-Cohen, the department head of WIZO’s Status of Women Division.

‘Snack away’

Other “top” ads that were named and shamed this year include a campaign for R3 condoms, showing a man bent over a young woman, who is leaning against a urinal; an ad for Granola Pri, pushing a snack bar resembling a woman who says, “I’m all natural, so snack away”; the commercial for Ex soap that promotes the line, “hey man, mom’s soap makes you feminine,” and one for the Tapuzina soft drink.

Also up for “most sexist ad” are Cellcom, Tnuva, Fox and even the Likud party’s campaign for the Knesset (its slogan advocated against voting for Tzipi Livni – “it’s too much for her”).

WIZO engaged in the project two months ago, following complaints by women to have the ads taken out of circulation.

“We are not naive and know that our fight is against tycoons and large corporations, but we constitute 51 percent of the population and a large consumer force,” says Ehrenfreund-Cohen, “and it is important to raise awareness of the fact that a 30-second ad transforms a woman into an object to promote products, and there’s a double blow leveled by the company that mocks the man by appealing to him in this way.”

The panel of judges included attorney Orna Lin, the chairman of the Israel Bar Association’s national council; Prof. Hanna Herzog, a sociologist at Tel Aviv University; Oshrat; Maya Bengal, a correspondent and political commentator for Maariv; Michal Rosen, the director general of the Union of Sexual Assault Victims Assistance Centers; Attorney Tami Katsavian of Tmura, the Legal Center for the Prevention of Discrimination; Dorit Abramowitz, a spokeswoman for Israel’s women’s organizations, and Ehrenfreund-Cohen.

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