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Mansplaining Israel-style — #MeToo #NotAboutYou

To all who, like Blazer's Raanan Shaked, find curbing their base impulses oppressive: #MeToo is #NotAboutYou

It was only a matter of time. I could hear the bomb ticking beneath the buzz of Hebrew media showcasing the local #GamAni #MeToo campaign. I should have known that someone like Raanan Shaked, the editor of Israel’s Playboy-wanna-be “Blazer,” would wait until Friday to publish a response like this one, in Yedioth Ahronoth’s click-bait Shabbat supplement.

Shaked’s “Walking on Eggs” opens: “Here I am. Outing myself. Shoot me. Stone me. Do with me as you will. The finger of blame was pointed at me throughout the week. The grave indictment was read time and again by a folk tribunal of one woman after another — some of them very well-known, loved, and highly esteemed. The court found me guilty. The offense: I was a man.”

In one of the worst cases of mansplaining I have ever read, Shaked allows that “male aggression, force, exploitation of status and financial hierarchy, subordinate relations at work, and physical ability have repeatedly perpetuated gender inequality.” But he peppers his cross-armed screed with jocular descriptions of his wife’s insult at being omitted from a media figure’s list of workplace victims. He practically begs women to hurl virtual mud his way for his bold acceptance of the mantle of advocate of downtrodden men. (And yes, I am being uncharacteristically and ‘femininely’ compliant for fulfilling his latter wish. We aim to serve. Wink.)

A benevolent contralto voice-over is audible in his closing permission to women to “let the campaign continue and roll on” and subsequent command, “But keep it focused and don’t turn it into a pricey war between sexes or cheap Like-mill.”

Enough. You’re right. Walking on eggs sucks. Just ask any adult woman who has turned it into an art form rivaling that of a swami trodding hot coals. Try walking on those eggs on work-required pumps with a key between your fingers while looking over your shoulder for the last guy that rubbed up against you or insisted that he knows your type, “red-headed on top but not on the bottom.” (I’m a brunette.)

Eggs break. So do women.

This campaign is vital in a Land where the slogan “The good guys are pilots and the good girls go to pilots” topped an iceberg of condoned military exploitation of women for nefarious purposes. It is vital in a Land where the wage gap between men and women expands rather than contracts as women achieve higher levels of education. It is vital in a Land where leaders laud admirable advances in healthcare and life expectancy that still favor men and leave women far behind their first-world sisters in other nations. It is vital in a Land where Rabbinical establishments condone the gagging of little girls and their parents to protect their and their siblings’ marriageability.

Now is not the time for you to interfere with Israel’s realization that Israeli women are also one out of one in the cruel and oppressive game of sexual harassment and abuse. Now is the time for you to suck it up, walk on some eggs, cover your crotch if you have to, and yeah, man up!

#MeToo גםאני#

About the Author
Varda Spiegel was Nurse-Director of the Bedouin Mobile Unit of the Negev, later serving as Maternal-Child Health Director for the Ministry of Health Jerusalem District. I am the author of Hershele and the Chicken Skates, was the English Web Content Manager for the Israel Museum and have translated from Hebrew to English for Haaretz and the ANU Museum of the Jewish People. I'm a grandmother, mother, and beachbum.
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