Limp?Details Magazine article applies to Israelis too?

The October issue of Details magazine has an article in it by Jeff Gordiner titled The Pussification of the American Man. The byline on the cover reads How The American Man Went Limp, while the rest of the article describes modern heterosexual American men plucking their eyebrows, taking two hours to shave, crying with Oprah, reading Vogue and sleeping on 1000-thread-count sheets.

…male softness is no longer some fluky trend, some temporary lapse into quiche-eating. It’s the norm … We saw the old model of masculine bahvior on September 11 – American men saving people, fighting fires, getting their hands dirty, clearing rubble, dying in the line of duty – and it came as a sharp reminder of just how rarely (i.e., never) most of us do stuff like that. The average 21st-century guy is a quilted man, tucked under a fluffy coverlet surrounded by throw pillows. His world is one of comfort and frippery.

From a Jewlicious perspective, much of this article could easily apply to your average diaspora Jew. There ought not be any surprise there. Who amongst us hasn’t heard Israelis bemoan the softness of their chutz-la-aretz coreligionists? Did not Zionism seek to normalize the image of the weak shtetl Jew?

What is surprising however is how much of this article applies to the average modern Israeli. Yes, I know, Israeli Pussy (to paraphrase Details) is not a term you hear often to describe Israeli men, but if the shoe fits … I mean, I don’t remember the last time I heard an Israeli man make an innappropriate comment to a woman I was walking with. And look at how Israeli men are dressing these days. It is not unusual to see them wearing tight, low slung jeans and belly revealing shirts. Their blonde frosted hair is the product of several different types of “product.” And this in country where a pharmacist once accused a friend of being a “homo” because he wanted to buy conditioner.

Statistics show that fully 30% of secular Israeli men do not serve in the Army, and lack of military service does not confer the stigma it used to. Serving in the army has become the domain of friars Рwhy serve when you can get good job at a hair salon and drink latt̩s all day long?

What about Sharon? Read about his military exploits and whether or not you agree with his tactics, you have to admit he was a bad ass. And then there was that whole fiasco in Lebanon where he somewhat unfairly earned the nickname The Butcher of Beirut while otherwise unceremoniously kicking the PLO’s butt off to Tunisia. Now he has granted unprecedented and unilateral territorial concessions to the Palestinians in the hopes that they will finally like us. He recently gave a speech at the UN and basked in the glow of newfound warmth from the other kids leaders in attendance. Whatever happenned to the Israeli policy of Oom-Shmoom* where no one gave a shit about the UN? How did Israel’s toughest General became such a softie?

It’s not just the architect of the Gaza withdrawal that comes in for such criticism. In the months leading up to the withdrawal date, the settler men sent out their adolescent sons and daughters to lead the protests and tangle with the police. During the withdrawal, I was at first touched and then nauseated by the endless boohoohoo scenes as grown men, either formerly fierce settlers or Israeli soldiers sent to evict them, hugged and cried. I mean cripes you guys, you’re embarassing me!

Gordiner’s article seems to promote the notion that this “pussification” is good. It advances the sort of offensive notion that as the Y chromosone becomes less and less influential in men’s lives, brute strength and all the hallmarks of the Alpha Male are being replaced by the “sneaky fucker strategy.” Frankly, that sounds like a load of crap to me. But I have to grudgingly admit that an Israel where a potentially civil-war inducing operation was executed without any casualties, where Ariel Sharon is an internationally respected statesman, where women can walk down the street without being harassed by hormonally challenged men is, I guess, a good thing. Just give me a minute or two to mourn the death of Israeli machismo and get used to this. Maybe I’ll have a good cry and then just move on. It’s probably what Oprah would want me to do.

* Former Israeli PM David Ben Gurion once famously expressed disdain for the United Nations, known in Hebrew as Oom, which he dismissed as Oom shmoom.

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About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

43 Comments

  • good article, it’s true that if one were to go to eilat, for example, one would have a hard time finding a man who does fall under the “is-he-gay-or-just-metrosexual?” category.

    But I disagree with your point about Sharon softening up. Disengagement was not done with the purpose of winning Palestinian hearts.
    And if I’m not mistaken, didn’t Sharon ominously tell the U.N. that Isreal would not forget the one-sided treatment it received since the establishment of the state?

  • The vast majority of those wearing low slung jeans and sporting frosted hair are arsim, who incidentally are the ones who make inappropriate comments to women to this day.
    Also, interesting forum in which to publish the article. I believe only “pussies,” as you call them, read Details.

  • Please note, I never called anyone a “pussy.” Every time that vile designation is used it is in quote marks. We cite many articles here from many sources. Just because I quote from say, the NYT or Haaretz, does not mean I am a NYT or Haaretz reader. For the record, I am not a Details reader, not that there’s anything wrong with that …

  • I don’t advocate reading details, getting facials or spending more time on your hair than it takes to run your finger through it once and claim it has been combed, but if pussification means that people are driving a little slower and more safely on Israeli roads, that folks are less apt to go to war and more apt to seek peaceful resolution, and that the whole “yihyeh b’seder” (it’ll be fine; no worries) Israeli culture that led, for instance, to the bridge collapse at the Maccabiah Games, disappears because suddenly they care about details…

    Then I’m all for it. If what it takes to get there is to send the Israelis more hair styling products, I say send out that hair mousse by the ton.

    ck, you have a very important email from me.

  • The REAL issue in this cute little post (excuse me for being serious for a second, okay, Jobber and Ephraim – cuz you missed this one, dudes, and it’s important!!)

    The real issue is that tiny little factoid – 30% of secular Israeli men don’t serve in the army…

    so where’s the outrage??? Why are they not Parasites? HMMMMM???? AS they explore such important things like “conditioner” and throw pillows and some stupid high tech job and krav maga and etc.????

    Can what these “metrominimonim” (and that’s a cool Hebrew new word if ever there was one!) be MORE important than learning Torah?

    Before you start screaming…what I mean is, if there is no outrage for someone just pursuing their “lifestyle” and such, why is there such outrage for the frummies who pursue Torah…?

    Is learning Torah less helpful than drumming, art, etc.?????

    But no…not outrage. Outrage only for Torah learners…

    Jsirp wonders.

  • Actually, a fair percentage of Israeli 18 year-olds are rejected at the draft center, or simply not called up, because they have criminal records and/or are so badly socialized as a result of growing up in crap neighbourhoods and attending crap schools that they are deemed by army psychologists as unable to deal with army discipline in any form – not even as a cook or driver. A lot of Israel’s worst neighbourhoods are so economically deprived that the schools don’t even offer a basic education and social safety net, and the kids are being let loose on the world lacking basic life skills. This should be a huge scandal in Israel, but mostly the issue of the have-nots is ignored.

  • Um, middle – how about THIS POST!?

    And I quote for above….

    Statistics show that fully 30% of secular Israeli men do not serve in the Army, and lack of military service does not confer the stigma it used to. Serving in the army has become the domain of friars Рwhy serve when you can get good job at a hair salon and drink latt̩s all day long?

    those are not my words…they are CK”s…

    I’m just saying…everyone’s all like, Oh, well, yeah, there’s reasons and stuff for secular Israelis not to be in the army…

    AND we um…we like Torah study…

    BUT PUHLEEZE…did I just wake up from a 20 year dream and Moshiach is here…or no one’s ever heard the INSANE TRASHING OF KOLLELNIKS for DARING TO SPEND THEIR DAYS toiling in Torah?????

    Never heard the word Parasites? Never heard the charge: Hate the State. Dont’ serve in the Army????

    All this, who, us? is a bit disingenuous..and NO I’M NOT SAYING that CK himself hates Torah learners, etc. I’m saying there’s this vibe out there…

    and now that “regular” people can’t be bothered to serve their country, everyone’s all just, well, you know…ummmm – well PUSH THEM OUT OF THE BEIS MEDRASH ANYWAY – so they’ll get jobs serving latte’s to the other metronimim out there…

    I can’t believe this statistic is not cause for people to do a little soul searching about their beliefs and prejudices, where they get them and why they think them, etc.

  • ppl who don’t serve should be forced to live in Samaria or something, or… nowadays i’d say Azza might suit them more.

    as far as the death of machismo in Israel, or even in global Jewry, i’d have to say that it’s not dead… it’s just being balanced out. after all, doesn’t every Israeli girl want a moderately strong, sensitive and sentimental, not-afraid-to-cry-for-the-cameras-during-disengagement, zionist man to take her off to negev and make the desert bloom?

    i mean, that sort of pickup line has been working for me for AGES 😛

  • So many judgmental posts being negative against men. Why can’t people be left alone to do as they please without commentary about how they live their life and how they behave? As long as they’re not breaking the law or causing pain towards others, it’s not necessary. These cosmetic magazines raise the same b.s. issues to get attention but they’re really non issues. I like stories about personal growth, and art, and pride in your homeland, and exposing hypocrisy of certain factions. This isn’t really necessary

  • The major difference between the hiloni not serving in the army, and the kollelnik not serving in the army? The hiloni guy has a job. He is working, paying taxes, and not just sucking off the state.

    You want to study in Kollel? B’vakasha! On your own dime. And ditto for the 10 kids–have as many as you want…but kindly figure out how to support them.

  • THANK YOU DAPHNA FOR PROVING MY POINT!!!!

    There you have it – the self-hating Israeli Jewish chick in all her proud glory! Ahh the sweet taste of baseless hatred, Daphie Babie!

    Oh, so now it’s about some stupid job, paying 65 shekel an hour, doing what, exactly? Well, let’s see, there’s always hacking into world wide computers =- THAT’S A SURE WAY TO SUPPORT THE STATE — or whatever…yes, those Kollel people…what do they do all day, but just learn how to make the world a better place

    (And here come all the stories about corrupt chareidim – puhleeze – so boring, already…can’t anyone be original?)

    Yup, it sho’ is better at 18 19 20 to be serving beer in some stupid bar, picking up on American chicks who want to be VIOLATED, PLEASE OH YEAH BABY – by ANY ISRAELI at this point, just so long as HE HAS A JOB ANY JOB AND PAYS TAXES TO SUPPORT THE STATE-

    Yes, I loved your new style, your mousse filled hair, your cool clothes, and after shave, and now you SHOWER, TOO! MMMMMMPH!….

    It’s the accent. I CAN’T STAND SLIMY AMERICAN MEN WITH THEIR PLAIN OLD AMERICAN ACCENTS ANYMORE….I just want a metro Israel, with an ACCENT…someone who’s paid his TAXES TO THE STATE….

    And the guy’s all like, sure, Rachel, I mean, Susan, I mean…oh, I love you so much, my head swim like fish in tropical Island, where I went instead of serving in the army, so what was your name again?….

    Yeah, that’s A LOT BETTER, THAN learning how to live life like a Soul in this world….

    Those chareidim. let them get jobs! (never mind the 10 percent unemployment rate.)….

    And so it goes!

  • Jsirp, um, they need to serve the state in some way. It can be a military service or a national service, but it has to be done. And yes, they should be out there generating some income and some taxes. Torah study is fine just after work and on Friday and shabbat.

    My recollection is that 15% of all Israeli Jewish men do not serve for either religious or other reasons such as Lisa mentions. It could be that number has changed. Do we have a source, ck?

  • What the hell is it these days? Jobber finally vehaves and then, as if on cue, jsirpicco pops up.

    jsirpicoo, you know, sometimes you’re pretty funny. And I kind of agree with you, minus the incendiary and personal stuff that you spew. I try to express my disagreement with others in a respectful manner. I think you were a tad disrespectful and unbelievably presumptuous in your response to Daphna. I know Daphna is extremely capable and does not need to be defended by the likes of me. Let’s just say that you jsirpicco, have no idea what you are talking about wrt Daphna.

    Yes, I agreed with your central point. BUT YOU OVER DID IT! YOU WENT TOO FAR! IN THE MONTH OF ELUL YOU SHOULD PROBABLY AVOID SENSELESS PERSONAL ATTACKS … I am no rabbi, but I am pretty sure hashem wants us to be KIND TO OUR FELLOW JEWS…Yeah, that’s A LOT BETTER

    Hidey Ho!

  • Daphna, welcome to the ranks of those of us who have been generalized into a category of self-hating Jewish women. The generalization of American women wanting to be violated by Israeli men is not only untrue, but it’s misogynistic and harmful to American women. Of all the women I knew on my various Israel programs, I have to say that only one or two of them actively sought the attention of Israeli men. The rest were preyed upon when they were intoxicated (at Chabad’s famous Absolut Purim party or Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations, for instance) or when they were in trouble and looked to a stranger for help (one particular incident at a bus station in Petach Tikva comes to my mind.

    Talk about baseless hatred. Or rather, in Elul, in a time of teshuvah and looking at past behaviors with an eye toward repentance and alteration, let’s not.

  • As I understand it, guys who don’t serve in the army do sherut leumi, and i am really skeptical about the statistic. i’m pretty sure that a refusal to serve in any way still results in jail time, and while it’s probably not as bad as it once was, there is still a very real stigma attached to not serving.

  • CK- you’re getting soft, dude. Soft, soft, soft.
    (Or, Daphna’s cute and your her knight in shining Jewish armor…)

    Elul? Elul? This is blogging my friends – and I do so count you all as my friends! You don’t know what it’s like, all alone, the way I live, WHERE I live. No one to talk to. No tribal people around who can relate.

    Jewlicious people are the only real family I have. When did our banter turn to such thin skinned WIMPY JEW PEOPLE WHO CAN’T TAKE A JOKE, HUH???????!!!!

    Fine. Shana Tova. I have news for everyone, anyway. Jsirpicco is terminal. Please don’t share this with anyone else.

  • I stayed with a friend for a month last time I was in Israel, and his father, who I talked to a lot, was a former career Shin Bet officer turned school teacher. He teaches in suburban Tel Aviv, and his estimate was between 20 and 30 percent of his (entirely secular) students wiggled out of service every year.

    There was also an article in either J-Post or Ha-Aretz in late July about the growing percentage of secular Israeli girls suddenly “seeing the light” at 17, putting on a skirt, going before a Beit Din and declaring themselves religious, and getting out of army service that way.

  • oh, michael! I have some good news for the new year! I’m pretty sure I have a chill place for you to stay for at least the first two weeks you are here. That should give us enough time to find a real beit Jewlicious. Also, the two guys who live there are looking for a new drummer, so, uh, bring your drumsticks.

  • If only metrosexuality meant that men wouls be less of jack*#@es; but alas, the more things change, the more they stay the same! Fear not CK, the essesnce of man is still intact; only the superficial is gone!

  • I seem to recall something very similar being printed (in regards to the Sheik himself, Rudolph Valentino) in the 1920’s, lamenting the emasculation of American men. Frankly, I don’t think it’s as big of a problem as it is made out to be- styles ebb and flow, and men are just as suceptible to fashion as us ladies.

    Machismo is alive and well, no matter how much pomade it’s wearing, I promise you that.

  • Ah, so that explains the presence of drumsticks next to my keyboard this morning. Sorry, Michael, I know I promised not to interfere in your Jewlicious life, but I couldn’t resist…

  • Ck, he’s only trying to seduce traffic, you should see the carpola he has on his blog. He likes the shrill tone, most of, all of use find it grating but he persists. He will learn, let us hope.
    In terms of this article, I don’t think it applies that much to Israel, because of the constant military threat there, it’s a different planet. Wishing all the Jewlicious readers and writers, a happy healthy new Year!

  • Michael’s Mom, why would you promise that? Please, interfere in his Jewlicious life. We enjoy the comments and participation…and so does Michael.

  • Might I just add in my dying breaths…which blogger DOESN”T want to drive traffic to his or her site?

    And okay – you call it crapola (misspelled) – but when it was there, it was touching on something out there…the pain of people out there who dont’ know how to live their lives…(familiar?)

    Third – when Jsirpicco leaves this blog – you guys will be mostly reduced to just long-winded blah blah blah – no real humor – no nothing.

    I’m amazed, actually, how SERIOUSLY everyone started taking themselves…

    And yes, I know there’s a place in the world to have a serious discussion on issues…

    Jsirp was just calling people on their garbage when he saw it.

    And if you didnt’ see the tongue firmly in cheek, well, then, you actually are more hopeless than I may have thought.

    And as for shrill – well, at least I’m in line with the rest of American men.

    So – okay, goodbye. Continue on with your haughty, arrogant, and mean spirited posts – which they are, Jobber. You have got to be one of the most mean spirited bloggers I’ve ever seen!

    Well, and yes, I know there are likely to be all these posts of people clapping – Esther certainly won’t miss me a bit. She’s free to wonder why she hasn’t met that person. Chutzpah, certainly will be glad I’m gone…

    My only friend, alas, is likely to be Tom Morrisey. Figures, abandoned by the Jews. Picked up by the goyim…

    Yes, I’m going now. For really real (bli neder – don’t forget to annul all vows, people)…

    You wont’ have jsirpicco to kick around anymore.
    He died of a broken blogger’s heart.

  • Oy. See what I mean? That Details article was right. Witness, The Drama Queen. Jsirpicco, please have a Shana Tova. No one kicked you out dude. You are always welcome here. Just try not be such a, a, you know, baby cat. Heh.

  • When Jsirp’s a MAN – you guys cry like girls. When he’s a REAL and and walks off into the sunset – (okay, when he’s a girl and cries himself) you guys are all metro – sensitive on me.

    Well – it’s all too late. Too late. I’m really gone. Check out my site – deleted. Jsirpicco is gone.

    We had joy we had fun we had seasons in the sun.

  • okay I pretty much am unconcerned by everything in the paragraph except that extremely disturbing statistic about 30 percent of secular Israelis not serving in the army.It better be a dirty lie.

  • No lie, Alex…that’s the reason for jsirp’s rant!

    And yes, I really am leaving. I just forgot my coat and hat, but I’m leaving. Yes. No you can’t stop me

  • Amalekites. Wow. So I guess that means we have to kill them all? Let me introduce you to these guys Idi and Slobodan, you might get along.

  • WHA-A-A-A-A-A-T THE F*********K?

    They’re giving free food to the ARABS?

    While there are hungry Jewish children in Israel?

    Shande, shande!!!

    What genius thought this up? And how could anyone possibly have agreed to it? They muder babies, and Israel gives them food?

    If they can’t buy some food with all of the money they have extorted out of everyone, let them starve.

    Then maybe they’ll stop buying guns before they buy butter.

  • Jsirp!… Uh, sirp?….

    Man. If I weren’t so damned stuck in this phony, outdated macho persona… I’d have a good cry.

    Happy New Year. And keep doin’ what you’re doin’, but make it funky.

  • Homophobia is not a sign of manliness. A true manly man can be on a float at a gay pride parade blowing kisses to the crowd and still be secure in his heterosexuality. In fact, it would take a pretty heterosexual man to do that and not feel insecure. Homophobia however, mostly covers for fear and insecurity of the less than manly man – the pussy if you will – who views the mere existence of homosexuals as a threat.

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