I first discovered artist/satirist Miriam Libicki when I read a profile of the former IDF soldier on Zeek. Miriam 's now famous comic serial Jobnik documents her experiences in detail as a young American/Canadian women in the Israeli army. Additionally her illustrated short Towards A Hot Jew grapples with traditional cultural/ethnic Jewish stereotypes. Not only does Miriam's work tackle her own sexual coming-of-age and cultural immersion in a foreign land, but its backdrop, Israel in the early 2000s, lends itself to an equally charged and tumultuous environment.
Given all this fodder, I couldn't help but immediately drawn to Miriam Libicki which is why I had to contact her personally. The result, which can be seen below, was an email exchange which drew upon all of the subjects I mentioned above and more.
Misogynism in the Israeli Army: How prevalent in your experience?
No matter how individual soldiers treat each other, it is a misogynistic system. Women end up being seen as spoiled, less valuable, and there for their sexual uses, just because the IDF paints them into these roles.
I don’t think women who are unfit should be in combat, but when no woman is in combat unless she can rigorously and determinedly prove she is fit, and all men are in combat unless they can rigorously and determinedly prove they are unfit, I think it’s clear there is discrimination occurring. Misogyny isn’t a bad word for it, though it hurts both male and female soldiers.
Women are seen to have an “easier” time of it, their basic training being shorter, almost irrespective of what their eventual role will be. They have more choice in their hairstyles and footwear, and often have more relaxed relationships with their chain of command. But I think these facts lead to women looking like lesser soldiers than the men, and any achievements can be explained away by having fewer obstacles to overcome (allegedly) than a man.