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Bar Refaeli Pole Dancing Ad Raises Hackles

A new Israeli TV ad featuring supermodel Bar Refaeli pole dancing has reportedly aroused the ire of many viewers.

Refaeli, a part owner of the fashion eyewear company, is seen bespectacled dancing around a pole within a subway car, across from a young, well-kept man. As the dance ends, he dons his glasses and discovers he is actually looking at a full-bodied woman.

Viewers sent in complaints to Israeli television’s Channel 2 and to the radio regarding the objectification of disregard for women, contending the ad sends a clear message that an overweight woman is not a beautiful woman, Yedioth reported.

“The ad shows a woman pole dancing – hinting to pole dances in stripper clubs,” wrote one of the disgruntled viewers to David Regev, the Second Authority’s ombudsman. “There is no need to point out that the ad humiliates women and presents them as sexual objects. I demand that your order a halt to broadcasts of the ad or limiting it to hours when children are not watching.”

Regev asked the commercial stations for clarifications, according to Yedioth. “The ad arouses discomfort as it does indeed objectify women and broadcasts, despite the humor, a negative message about the image of women,” commented Regev. “Our decision will be made after receiving responses from the franchisees.”

Women’s organizations were also outraged.

“They take Bar Refaeli and put her in a pornographic pose just to catch the viewer’s eye,” Yedioth quoted Sharon Cherkesky, Wizo’s manager of government relations, as saying. “There is no relation between the product and the ad’s content.”

Naamat chairwoman Galia Wolloch, said it was a pity the advertising industry does not adopt new codes and remains stuck to old patterns of behavior that degrade women’s bodies. “It’s even more disappointing and outrageous that Bar Refaeli, as a woman who can influence public attitudes, makes a conscious choice to perpetuate harmful perceptions of women.”

Carolina Lemke Berlin responded that the TVC campaign is humorous, amusing and young. The company stressed that “pole dance is a popular form of sport, including competitions in Israel and around the world. Bar Refaeli was trained by Neta Lee Levy, the European champion.”

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