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women , critical pedagogy and poverty www.criticalpedagogy.org.il

20.6 % of the women in Israel are living under poverty line 30 % of children are living in poverty. We believe that the way to struggle against poverty is education, the government think that the way to increase jobs is truism.
I would like to open my text with a description of commercial campaign that was sponsored by the Israeli Tourism Ministry that will latter link to one of the reasons of women's poverty in my country.

Images of sexy female soldiers decorate promotion posters who invite tourists for a unique visit to Israel sponsored by the ministry of tourism. Seeing them you feel as if they will do everything for you, everything you will want, if you just ask for it. They are depicted disarming a weapon and holding it between their legs, their faces expressing pleasure. Or, they will lie on their backs wearing a bikini with a pattern of camouflage, just waiting for the opportunity to advance and promote Israel's affairs. Sometimes they will just lay on the floor, bending over a machine gun, wearing a wet white T-shirt – just come! Although not advertising sex tourism it is often easy to confuse these ads and commercials for such.
This does not remain confined to the militaristic (and sexist) discourse and international image of Israel. A recent Internet and television commercials campaign meant to “sex-up” Israel's image portrays women on the beach wearing bikinis and G-strings, moving erotically around, playing beach games, while two male tourists “check them out”, saying “holy shit”, “holy fuck”, “holy cow” only to introduce the slogans “Israel – no wonder they call it the holy land!” and “the holy land, not what you thought” . What did they think? What did the leaders of my country think? I don't look like that; I don't want to be expected to have random sex with male tourists in order to advance tourism to Israel. I don't want this not only because I am not a piece of meat, I do not want it because it is well known that youth tourism only enhances the percentage of local women's rape by tourists. As a woman, I had really hoped that my country would protect me from such a vicious horizon, not pimp me.
This tourism campaign represents Israel's leadership perception of women and their social roles.

There is a connection between the need to be free from war and conflict, and the need to be free from poverty, patriarchy and its control over women's bodies women's bodies are being used and exploited on all levels – cultural, political, commercial, social and inter-personal. However, in conflict zones they are exploited particularly for the purpose of escalating conflict and/or enhancing national pride and the division between "us" and "them".
" Them" are balmaed for all the sociatial problems including poverty." They" are risking our country thherfore most budjects are going into 'security' and military rether then to combat against poversty and creation of dignifing jobs for women.
We at the center for feminist critical pedagogy created a program of elementary teachers' preparation strives to build teachers' capacity to educate children toward social justice and gender equality that strongly link to peace, conflict transformation and dialogue.
The group of students reflects the various segments of Israeli society. The group contains Palestinians and Jews, migrant worker, refugees from Darfur- Sudan, Jews from Ethiopia, Georgia, France, deaf, students from the cultural and geographical center and peripheries 18-57 years old. The participants speak 12 different mother tongues and affiliate with 5 religions. They are committed activists in different organization for dialogue social change, which are part of the civil society in Israel.
We aim to deconstruct militaristic and sexist notions in the education system and to promote security and gender equity in wide range of related issues. In addition to learn and teach educational philosophy and praxis of critical feminist pedagogy. We are preparing women and men from all social groups, classes , ethnicities and religions to work as critical teachers. We are using peace and feminist education methodologies to develop understandings between different groups and create a rich multicultural learning environment.
To prepare a group of leading educators who would bring peace education and social justice into formal and non-formal education.
To create a network of activist that would teach toward a equal society and social change.
To raise awareness to gender inequalities and other forms of discrimination in education
To give tools and skills to create social change projects with gender mainstreaming objectives.
Practicum
The students do a practicum education work in organization for social change, and in schools. They are required to implement ideas of alternative education, innovative relevant pedagogy for poor children from marginalized groups.

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Victoria Vorosciuc's picture

Great page!!!

Thank you for sharing the website with us.
I bookmarked it and will try to follow what you are doing here.
Great job!!!

Victoria Vorosciuc
Project Coordinator
"Empowering women to participate
in community life"
WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

It is really hard to fight with the windmills, but what you put here is already a good start. Many politicians forget that they have daughters too, and they might get into the trap. All they think about is pleasure. But how long it can last. It is disgusting how far the Sex-Tourists go. And of course they can by poverty. There are many cases when parents will allow girls to prostitute, or push them to marry the foreigners... And this is just because, people are blinded by poverty. Sometimes, they prefer an easier way... Education gets less appreciation when one is starving. Is there a choice? Of course. But not many see it. The solution you put up will certainly bring results. But start it now...

Otherwise, every single minute there is someone getting in the trap of perverse rich sugar daddies!

Victoria Vorosciuc
Project Coordinator
"Empowering women to participate
in community life"
WorldPulse Media Corresspondent

galharmat's picture

thank you

Thank you so much for your wise and warm words Victoria. I am very glad to meet up like minded women. I really think education is teh key to social justice. Always

Darcey's picture

opening our eyes

I really enjoyed reading your essay. You caught my attention right away with the reference to the ads that are being placed by your government to attract tourists to your country, and also the ads that are being placed portraying female soldiers.
Unbelievable.
Having lived in a metropolitan area for a number of years, I am used to large billboards using sex to advertise everything from watches to bread, but to be using female soldiers to depict sexual subtleties (and from your description, not quite to subtle...) is just too much. I can't imagine being a soldier and serving my country, to then have the same country I am serving turn around and use the fact that I am female to exploit my position.
I watched a documentary film last year on the CBC here in Canada that focused on female and young soldiers in Israel and they voiced their struggles with their experience in that role. A young man was devestated with the brutality that he witnessed, and had himself been part of when a prisoner was killed. Of course, his pain and trauma came after his time served and he had time to reflect. The women talked about their power, their role and how it had left some of them traumatized and others uncertain as to who they are. It was very interesting to gain insight into their lives when they had nothing left but the truth of their experiences.

As for the second campaign that you mentioned, my thoughts turn immediately from disgust to sadness. Sadness in that something so rich as the heritage and power in a land that is so sacred to so many, being sold for cheap internet and TV ads using profanity and sexism. (now I am just disgusted again.) Part of me wonders, should we be surprised? This is the world after all, and nothing seems to be off-limits for those who are willing to sell out and give up all that is sacred in the face of making money. I appreciate your stand as a woman living in Israel that you should be offended that your government is in fact portraying women in your country as available to tourists to do with and see as they please. Are governments ever held accountable for these kinds of ads?? (that is a question- I know in Canada, there have been many times when people have voiced loud concerns over ads...even when done my the gov't.)

I am glad to hear of the job that is being done at the centre you are associated with. Building peace and tolerance is so huge against these kinds of acts being done, especially by the "leaders". I am glad that you are writing about what is being done at a grassroots level to increase knowledge and understanding, instead of just what is wrong. It is wonderful that you are giving teachers resources to speak with their students, I believe so much can change when working with children at a young age to give them new ideas they may not receive at home.

thank you for doing what you are doing!
Darcey

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."
— John Lennon

galharmat's picture

thank you

Thank you very much Darcy,
I was very glad to read that you are interested in the link sexism and militarsim and control of women's bodies by goverments- I wrote my MA thesis on this topic and dreaming of conducting more research on the topic.
I thought this might be interesting for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNk8kgdtRGE
As it tries to make sexism "equal" by using male bodies as well as women. It is very interesting and saddening for me to see that progress toward equality makes everybody, males and females feel like a piece of meat rather then accepting people as they are and not controlling their bodies.
I would be happy to hear how it is in your countries.

Darcey's picture

well...

Hi!

I was able to see the commercials the other day. I agree with another post that was put up, that I am not suprised anymore by advertisers using sex to sell almost anything, but the government's tourist dept. ??? I have been paying more attention to ads that I see done by the tourism in Canada and the province that I live in, and never has it gone there. They are all about the natural beauty, family, etc.
The one that was the worst was definitely the Holy Land one with the guy sitting in the chair swearing.
I didn't see anything related to the military though that you were mentioning....

While our tourist dept. doesn't use these exploitive measures, everywhere else it is the same kind of thing. Magazines, tv, even movies for children have a lot of nuances around sex, which in most cases is really not even needed to make the movie more appealing to adults. We rarely watch tv, and since moving to a more rural area we can really control the media influence because there are no billboards, etc. around, unlike when we lived near Toronto.

thanks again for raising this issue...very interesting.
Darcey

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."
— John Lennon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-3OVGPbGTc
this is the video I wroite about. There are many more just like it on TV in Europe and all over teh interenet paid by my tax money...

Katie McDonald's picture

Great work

Hello Gal,

I found your descriptions of some of the images in those tourism campaigns to be quite disturbing. It amazes me that people don’t get how damaging such images can be and haven’t thought through the messages they are actually sending. I like the way you have analysed the campaigns, speaking of the duel militaristic and sexist discourses and the links to poverty, violence, and control.

The education program from the Center for Feminist Critical Pedagogy, combinging social justice, equity, and peace, sounds great.

Best wishes,

Katie

galharmat's picture

thank you

Thank you very much Katie,
I was very glad to read that you are interested in the link sexism and militarsim and control of women's bodies by goverments- I wrote my MA thesis on this topic and dreaming of conducting more research on the topic.
I thought this might be interesting for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNk8kgdtRGE
As it tries to make sexism "equal" by using male bodies as well as women. It is very interesting and saddening for me to see that progress toward equality makes everybody, males and females feel like a piece of meat rather then accepting people as they are and not controlling their bodies.
I would be happy to hear how it is in your countries.

Katie McDonald's picture

Thanks

Thanks for sending that link. I had a look at a few of the related videos too...

I was very glad to read that you are interested in the link sexism and militarsim and control of women's bodies by goverments- I wrote my MA thesis on this topic and dreaming of conducting more research on the topic.
I thought this might be interesting for you
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNk8kgdtRGE
As it tries to make sexism "equal" by using male bodies as well as women. It is very interesting and saddening for me to see that progress toward equality makes everybody, males and females feel like a piece of meat rather then accepting people as they are and not controlling their bodies.
I would be happy to hear how it is in your countries.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-3OVGPbGTc
this is the video I wroite about. There are many more just like it on TV in Europe and all over teh interenet paid by my tax money...

michellee's picture

amazing

The commercial you linked to is truly incredible. I would (sadly) expect to see that in an advertisement for beer or shampoo maybe, but from the tourism bureau?! At least there is, um, equal opportunity exploitation?

Be well,

Michelle

galharmat's picture

Thanks and more

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-3OVGPbGTc
this is the video I wroite about. There are many more just like it on TV in Europe and all over teh interenet paid by my tax money...

Always
Gal

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