Last month, female politicians in Israel were up in arms over the Israeli's consulate's partnership with Maxim magazine to "improve the image" of the country among young American men by using women's bodies as a selling point, running pics of half-naked female soldiers with captions such as:
"They're drop-dead gorgeous and can take apart an Uzi in seconds. Are the women of the Israeli Defense Forces the world's sexiest soldiers?"
(A New York Postarticle, headlined with perhaps June's worst pun: "Babes in Oy Land Scuffle," included this quote contextualizing the chicks-with-guns pinup pics: "We found that Israel's image among men 18-38 is lacking," David Saranga, consul for media and public affairs said. "So we thought we'd approach them with an image they'd find appealing.")
Today, via the wonders of video blogging, you can check out Ann Friedman, a feminist journalist, editor at Feministing and friend of WIMN's Voices, explaining on "Everywoman," a program on Al Jazeera English, just what was wrong with this sexist PR campaign for a country whose leadership has been rocked by sexual abuse scandals.
As Ann rightly points out, women's bodies are always used to sell pretty much everything, but just because advertising works, doesn't mean it isn't offensive -- especially when the seller behind the skin-trade is a nation's government.
This post originally appeared at WIMN's Voices: A Group Blog on Women and the Media , a project of Women In Media & News, the national women's media analysis, education and advocacy group. To bring Jennifer L. Pozner to speak to your campus or community group, or to send her blog tips, email info [at] wimnonline [dot] org. To subscribe to WIMN's free media alert list, see the Action Center here.