It’s more or less well-known that women, Jewish and otherwise, earn significantly less than men do for the same work. The Forward recently had an article about how few Jewish women there are in leadership positions and how relatively little they get paid.
And this is at least partly because the leading Jewish organisations don’t see women as equal human beings, as demonstrated by the publicity for Birthright/NEXT’s upcoming Evening of Fashion and Passion event.
…an evening of fashion and passion presented by the Council of Young Jewish Presidents and Birthright Israel NEXT, NY. Hosted by Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Esti Ginzburg,
Fascinating if you get excited by the idea of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Unfortunately, the effect of this sentence is to imply that the target audience is male and heterosexual. This is a problem when the nominal audience is “Jewish professionals,” since it exposes an assumption that Jewish professionals are male and heterosexual.
the event includes an Israeli wine tasting, a fashion show by hot Israeli designers, and an after party. Open to all young professionals,
If you’re a woman, you might think twice about going, since it’s really not at all clear whether your role is “Jewish professional” or “sexprop.” This is probably because the Jewish leadership does not appear to distinguish between “woman” and “de facto pornography.”
this is a major opportunity for guests to get a sense of the incredible variety of Jewish engagement opportunities in New York—
As long as you’re male. Ladies, hope you don’t think you actually had a serious chance at Jewish leadership!
and to party with hundreds of other professional, active, vibrant young Jews.
Swimsuit models, guys! Swimsuit models! Who knows – maybe the chicks will have got drunk at the wine tasting. You might even get laid!
- Using the objectification of women’s bodies to advertise an event – check.
- Endorsing the idea that titillation is acceptable advertising – check.
- Assuming that readers find the idea of “swimsuit model” enticing – check.
- Implying that they are primarily interested in communicating with that segment of the readership which is male and heterosexual – check.
- Further implying that they are generally okay with the dehumanisation and inappropriate eroticisation of women – check.
Birthright, the Council of Young Jewish Presidents, and the other complicit organisations thus demonstrate that by default they think women’s main function in the Jewish professional world is as titty. That’s a huge part of why there are so few women in leadership, and why women are earning $0.61 to a man’s dollar. Until the leadership can understand why an event like this is deeply problematic (hint: it’s not about prudery) we’re not going to see much change.