I’m trying to catch up on some of our email, so you’re getting another round-up of similar-themed items, this time on the gendering of food. Laura L. sent in an advertisement for Muscle Milk, a product generally marketed to men, that she saw on the BART (San Francisco’s public transportation system). The ad presents the product as a means to become more attractive by building muscle — a body type usually encouraged for men but not women — and thus gain sexual access to your friends:
It’s interesting because it’s a gendered product that uses a tactic common in products that market to women: you’re body isn’t good enough, but our product will fix it. It’s not the first time the company has used tactics more often seen in products aimed at women.
In another example of the association of meat-eating with men, Tom Megginson, who blogs at Work that Matters, sent us a link to a story at AdFreak about KFC’s inventive promotional campaign for their Double-Down sandwich, which, if you didn’t know, consists of bacon and cheese between two chicken breast patties (fried or grilled). The promotions, which started in Louisville, KY, involve undergrads wearing sweats with “Double Down” across the butt and giving out free stuff:
The KFC announcement of the program makes it clear that only women are wanted as “brand ambassadors” to help them meet their “key target of young men.”
While men are encouraged to eat high-fat/sodium/calorie monster/mega/ultra/double meat-based items, women, of course, get to eat yogurt. Brianna L. found this Australian commercial for Yoplait Formé, in which women are shown eating foods that are clearly meant to appear unappetizing and illustrate they are sacrificing flavor for their diet, as well as policing one another’s food choices:
Notice at 12 seconds in they all wave away the plate of cookies, but then, just for a second, one of the women shows weakness and starts to reach for one. The woman next to her, however, quickly reins her in with a disapproving look and gesture. As Brianna points out,
Even the tag line “feel fuller for longer” shows eating is not about sustenance, or taking pleasure in food. Being in perpetual hunger – that’s the status quo, at least until a magic yogurt comes along to save you.
Now for a palate cleanser, watch Sarah Haskins’s take on yogurt commercials.Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.