Mike S. sent us a link to a post at Feminist Looking Glass about the images on a Diet to Go truck. Diet to Go is one of those diet/nutrition services that provides prepared meals to members.
On one side we see a before-and-after image of a man saying “Thanks for giving me my life back!”:
Why might women want to sign up for Diet to Go? What reason would they have for wanting to lose weight? Is it to get their “life back”? To be healthier?
Oh, wait, I remember now:
Women should diet so they can have a body that gets them male attention again.
It reminded me of some Jimmy Dean sausage commercials Jasmine sent in a while back, which present sausages as a good, solid breakfast. Here’s one:
And here’s one that presents Mr. Sun talking only to a female character:
I watched several other commercials from the series online, and this was the only one that mentioned anything about the number of calories. So presumably women, and only women, care about the calorie content in their breakfast sandwich.
While the Jimmy Dean commercials ignore the idea that men might also be dieting, the Diet to Go truck acknowledges men as customers who might be worried about their health…and women as customers who want to get guys. Taken together, they illustrate the gendering of dieting: we gender who we think cares about the caloric or nutritional content of food in the first place, and we gender why we think they care about it if they do.
NEW! (May ’10): Michelle R. sent in another example of marketing nutrition/dieting different to men and women:
Related posts: marketing Pepsi Max to men, men don’t diet — they get ‘er done!, German ads for Men’s Health, eat Special K so you’ll be hot, men are fat and happy but women are just fat, and Weight Watchers targets men.