The Woman in the Front of the Bus (30-Second Problematic Commercial)

The Woman in the Front of the Bus (30-Second Problematic Commercial)

What a weird commercial.

The final line of this commercial made for the Israeli beauty products company April is “Be proud to be a woman!”

So I guess this commercial is trying to make all of us women say “Wow, I also want to be beautiful and proud and sit in the front of the Charedi buses with all the men!”

But the funny thing is that this commercial, for me, had exactly the opposite effect. Seeing this seductive woman doing everything she can to attract the sexual attention of every man in the bus, seemed like an extremely powerful and convincing advertisement for separate seating on buses!



  1. This is just weird. Whatever happened to respecting other people? Of course they make the other women (who are attractive in spite of being robotic) look like sheep in how they are dressed alike and don’t move their faces. And this woman is what– eleven-teen, no older than eighteen, who is too naive and from too different of a culture to appreciate why there are social mores about women and men being separate. Who is the commercial’s demographic? Twelve year old girls who will want to seduce a Charedi man by wearing short red dresses?

    You are right: This is a silly ad.

  2. Are women nothing but sex objects? How pathetic.
    And a very powerful, in-your-face way of making a statement, in light of the past few months in Israel. But I guess that the message you get depends on you – if you see it as a reason to show off for men, or a reason to preserve your sexuality for your husband.
    But I’m not in favor of separate seating on busses.

    • JewishMom

      I agree with you. I think that it would be more accurate for me to say that this commercial is an excellent advertisement for modesty in dress and behavior and for the fact that women should save their beauty and sexuality for their husbands. And if people are acting modestly then there is no need, really, for separate buses (though I don’t have a problem sitting separately on the rare occasions that I ride charedi buses, I respect the Charedi commitment to tsniut)

  3. *facepalm*

  4. They do not understand beauty at all.

  5. there is something very pathetic about this ad. Ironically, in the guise of being anti-segregationist, It in fact actually pits WOMEN against each other.

    If I were the creative director, I’d have those backseat women getting inspired by the red girl, letting their hair down, loosening some buttons and dancing in the aisles!!!!! And maybe for good measure, have all the men panic, stop the bus, and run off in a stampede……including the driver.

    As the closing frame, the red girl would be driving the bus into the sunset, with the dancing sillhouettes of the “liberated” women seen through the windows.

    Now THAT’s what I call proud to be a woman!!


    • BTW, I’m being entirely cynical here, of course (regarding the creative direction).
      We all know the messages to women in advertising today are dangerously warped.

  6. Wow. I totally agree-it was incredibly pathetic. Its too bad that women have such low self esteem that they have to be seen as sexy by everyone.

  7. What I don’t get is how this is clearly not a Chareidi bus. The women are wearing sleeveless and the men are clean shaven without kippot.
    Weird commercial.

  8. I found this both sad and distressing. It seems to completely miss the point, and sends an ANTI-feminist message. “Be proud to be a woman” in this ad translates as: “Be proud if men think you’re sexy” rather than “be proud of your intrinsic amazing qualities and your accomplishments as a woman.” I hope I can protect my daughters from this type of media…

  9. although the message is inherently Israeli, the women on the bus were dressed in 60s fashion, as if reminding people of the old segregated buses in the US. Since when does makeup use politics to sell? This is totally warped.

    • JewishMom

      I’m impressed, I think you figured out the subtext of this commercial. The immodest woman is Rosa Parks, lehavdil.

  10. This just equates sitting at the front of the bus with immodesty. So much for modest religious woman who know in their guts that second class treatment of women is a chillel HAshem. THis is commercial appropriation not unlike the hijacking of “women’s liberation” to sell cigerettes “you’ve come a long way baby”. Just like cigerette companies sold death in the guise of liberation this add sells spiritual death . In the process of rejecting the second class treatment reject modesty and all religion and look hot while doing so ladies .

  11. While I agree that the commercial was in extremely poor taste, the fact is there is NO halachic basis for forcing women to sit in the back of buses to save men from being tempted by them. It is the worse kind of false piety for a man to verbally or physically abuse a woman, in order to make himself feel holier. I have experienced this behavior personally. A few months ago a Haredi man repeatedly attempted to push through my young son and I while we were walking and holding hands; he kept insisting that it was forbidden. Insanity.
    Yes, the commercial is appalling, that does not excuse the behavior of men who spit on little girls and call them ‘prostitutes,’ nor does it mean that women should be relegated to sitting at the back of the bus. Personally, I prefer the front because of nausea, not so I can ‘entice’ the male passengers. If they have a problem controlling themselves, then too bad for them.
    The events that led to all the news coverage over the past year were not isolated cases of wanton women dressed salaciously and trying to provoke a response; many of the women and young girls were dressed modestly and were not trying to cause trouble. I find it so frustrating that there are men out there who will use any excuse to bully a woman into their way of living, and women who are content to allow it to happen. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

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