A set of stock photos on Hairpin must have hit a nerve because eight people — Renée Y., R. Walker, Amy E., Duff McDuffee, Lauren McG., Patricia P., Amy H., and Dmitriy T.M. — have sent it in. The images appear, titled “Women Laughing Alone with Salad,” without comment. Here’s a sampling:
Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and Gender, a textbook. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
These images resonate with readers, I think, because they are so damn familiar. They are a good example of advertising in general. They practically beg: “Please please please think it is fun to eat salad!” And they insist: “Eating salad will make you haaaaappppppyyyyy!” Much advertising today needs to convince you that the product will make you happy because we don’t need almost anything we buy. Necessity lost out to desire in marketing a long time ago.