Whoring Out Hanukkah

8 years ago

OK, so it's not really whoring anything but women for alcohol sales (business as usual, I suppose), but this poorly written press release for Agave99 Tequila made me embarrassed to be Jewish:

Martin Silver, President of Agave99 Tequila is announcing Today Friday, December 11, 2009 at 11:30 am a mitzvah crusade to provide free Holiday cheer for all eight nights of Hanukkah. He has hired the nations first Kosher shot girls to go out to hundreds of restaurants, bars and night clubs through out the City of New York and Long Island. The eight sexy kosher angels dressed in mini skirts, high heels and 100 percent kosher tank tops will be healing the stress and worries of this years tough economy. They will handing out free kosher tequila shots and singing hava-tequila. The Mitzvah crusade will start on the first night of Chanukah.

My first response to this is that a real mitzvah (an act of human kindness or a good deed) would be to find a PR person for this company who understands basic grammar rules and spelling. My second thought was far less charitable. Is it just me, or would a large segment of the population not find scantily clad women a good way to heal stress and worries? Why the fuck do marketing companies not give a rat's ass about what (many hetero) women might find to be effective advertising. Is our money not kosher enough? Bah!

Of course, the gimmick of pimping out women and a holiday to sell something is not new for Mr. Silver. Back in May, Silver told Jennifer 8. Lee of the New York Times Cityroom blog that the kosher certification was "a marketing gimmick." Just in time for Cinco de Mayo! Whoo hoo! I'm shocked that the man restrained himself from sending out a team of women wearing sombreros and bikinis to promote Mexican independence. (Or maybe he did and I just don't know about it - I shudder to think about that.)

Silver's company, Star Industries, also distributes Georgi vodka, employing much the same naked-women-sell tactics. Lindsay at She's Got Everything complained, "I used to be confronted by the Georgi vodka truck, which features a giant picture of nothing but a woman's bikinied ass, almost every day on my way to work when I walked by Madison Square Garden." (Lindsay also takes down a recent Remy Martin campaign showing one woman biting another's necklace.)

Interestingly, there was quite a dust up in 2006 when the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA, which oversees public transit in the New York City region) pulled the ads from subways and buses. Silver claimed that his first amendment rights were violated, telling the New York Sun that "the bikini-clad model is his daughter, Laurie Adams, a 36-year-old promotions and advertising manager at Star Industries. 'Best buns in the city,' he said. "'friends call her ‘buns' now.'" Great. My father should only be so proud of me. (He does think I have a shana punim, or beautiful face. I'm happy to keep it at that.) Retch...

Anyway, it is never too late to find inspiration to turn the situation around, sort of like the religious fanatic wacko Maccabees did against their secularist oppressors. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself. That's the sad truth about Hanukkah, though. Once the Maccabees won, they were brutal to Jews who observed their religion in ways different from them. Sigh.) Marla at Vegan Feminist Agitator uses the Hanukkah story to support veganism, and I like her positive take on the holiday:

Historically, Jews pride themselves on standing up to oppressors, speaking up for the underdogs and not caving to social pressures to get in line and reinforce the status quo... I think that cultivating this inner-Jew in all of us – the outsider by circumstance and choice, the person who knows her own vulnerability and deeply cherishes her freedom – has the potential to make us all more compassionate, ethically consistent and loving people.

I'm a teetotaler, but even I'll drink (not Agave99 or Georgi vodka, though) to that. Kosher tequila or not, I hope everyone had a happy feminist Hanukkah.

Suzanne also blogs at Campaign for Unshaved Snatch (CUSS) & Other Rants and is the author of Off the Beaten (Subway) Track.

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