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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » "Chick food" (you gotta be kidding me, right?)

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Author Topic: "Chick food" (you gotta be kidding me, right?)
000
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So I have noticed lately a lot of U.S. food chains using gender to sell food. I had not noticed it so much previously so I wonder if there's been an increase. (Like Burger King was just on the t.v., with a "you don't want 'chick food', real men want a double-hamburger" kind of approach). I don't think I have to reiterate on this site how inane and stupid that idea is. But has there been an increase? Do you think messages about gender are appealing more to guys now than they did a decade ago, b/c they feel more threatened? Or are these commercials never uncommon and it's just happenstance that there have been more lately?

[ 01-17-2007, 02:53 AM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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Leabug
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Appealing to gender stereotypes has always been a marketing technique. All you have to do is watch old commercials from ANY time, or look at old ads in newspapers, and it's clear that the marketers play up the gender factor. I'm sure you know all about commercials that use female stereotypes to sell goods (ie any cleaning or kitchen product is almost always geared towards women), but male stereotypes have always been there as well. Look at the commercials for products geared towards men, typically- ie, cars, technology, big giant meals ("I'm a Hungry Man!!" for those 1 lb. giant frozen Hungry Man meals), etc...

I don't really think it's a new occurence, but I do agree that I've seen commercials that are way more OBVIOUS about trying to appeal to "real men", like that Burger King ad you mention (that's the one where it's a musical about real man's food right?), perhaps as a retaliation against the whole "metrosexual" trend and an attempt to snag the business of those men who would be put off by a "metrosexual" approach to advertising.

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Lea

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Heather
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Perhaps of interest, there is actually a substantial part of eco-feminist theory that very much links meat-eating with oppression towards women. Both in terms of how it's marketed, in terms of the brutality involved, and the basic oppressions of any group of sentient beings per how they play out. Carol Adams' "The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory," is the cornerstone piece on that, and Mary Daly addressed it a lot, too.

(Here's a brief look at Adams' work.)

Meat, as a rule, has pretty much always used machismo and icons and ideals of cultural masculinity in its marketing.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Ecofem
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I want to second Heather's recommendation of Carol Adams (and Mary Daly). "The Sexual Politics of Meat" really opened my eyes to see connections that I hadn't before, like how eating eggs and drinking milk is not just exploitation of animals but women (as in female non-human animals. [Wink] ) I shudder to think I'd be used solely for egg harvest (this does go on in the form of human egg donation, but I'll just leave it at that.) Of course, despite being vegetarian, I'm not vegan and can't claim to not be perpetuating the problem.

This is totally an area of interest of mine (where my name comes from [Smile] ) but I'm away from all my books and articles right now. Unfortunately, no specific titles are jumping into my head. However, I remember an interesting piece (more on environmentalism-vegetarianism than feminism) that started with a line like "eating is a lot like having sex." If you're interested and don't mind waiting (like a month and a half!), I can look up the name for you, iheartdc.

[ 01-17-2007, 02:59 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Ecofem
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One book did come to mind:

"My Year of Meats" by Ruth Ozeki is a fun (and bizarre) novel that touches on a lot of political issues.
http://www.ruthozeki.com/meats/conversation.html

I totally recommend it as an "easy" and informative read!

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babybear
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I was recently in McDonald's and saw an advertisement for salads. It said "I'll have what she's having". I guess salads are only meant for females!
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Alatariel
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I remember hearing some of my girl friends talking about how a salad is the best thing to order for a first date meal, because it proves that you're feminine and dainty. I also remember reading a 1970s Archie Comic that had one of the guys being shocked (and impressed) that a girl would eat some really big burger instead of a salad, because the burger was a "man's meal". So, it's not a new thing, just an annoying one.
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Gwaihir
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It's theories like Carol Adams' that make me uncomfortable around vegetarians, even if they don't say anything about my meat eating. (I KNOW they're thinking it and tsk-tsking inwardly)
I think she's right, though, about how people don't equate that slab of meat on their plate to the live animal it once was.
My uncle owns a dairy farm and I remember being there on one occassion and partaking in the slaughtering of chickens. I did it with no compunctions, but I did feel sorry for the chickens. . then thankful to them for providing us with food. I remember wishing the hatchet had been sharper so they would have a quicker painless death. . . not sure what I'm trying to say with this other than that I don't think it's right to put animals in pain, though I don't have a problem with killing them.
Animals die all the time and get eaten by other animals. Organisms consume each other and that's the way of life.
I make an effort to always eat meat from organic farms where the animals are less likely to be abused, however, I never liked the idea of farming in general: keeping animals for food, raising them from babies, taking care of them, treating them when they're sick, naming them. . only to kill them in the end.
If it were at all possible, I think we should go back to hunting; at leat the animal has a chance of getting away.

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Heather
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quote:
It's theories like Carol Adams' that make me uncomfortable around vegetarians, even if they don't say anything about my meat eating. (I KNOW they're thinking it and tsk-tsking inwardly)
I gotta say, the single thing I always see start to derail productive conversations about this issue, in which people have myriad habits and perspectives, is someone coming in and deciding another person is judging them....when it hasn't happened.

You know, I've been veg pretty much my whole life, and I LIVE with a massive carnivore, and I'm not inwardly tsk-tsking at anyone. (Occasionally bummed I have to smell meat when I'm eating my own meals, sure, but that's a different matter.) There is always an optional dynamic where people recognize that their choices and the choices of others aren't the same and stay concerned with their choices, and it's so helpful with discussions like this to remember that, okay?

So, to keep it productive, let's not go there, and let's also not be essentialist about this stuff (e.g. what is and isn't a "way of life," when we actually get to make choices as people, whatever they may be) no matter where we sit on the spectum, okay? [Smile]

So bring the topic back TO topic, I believe that what iheartdc is asking about isn't whether or not it's okay to eat meat or how people feel about vegetarianism, but about how gender (thus the placement of the topic) and gender constructs come into play when it comes to advertising food or putting forth a certain diet, as well as advertising and gender in general.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Gwaihir
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Sorry about that. I thought I did bring the subject back on topic when I was talking about hunting and the mindset people have of thinking about animals as animals vs. animals as food.
Also, sorry for projecting prejudices on to myself that apparently aren't there. . it's just been that almost every single vegetarion I've met or otherwise encountered has given me a total snobbish "I'm better than you 'cause I'm not an animal MURDERER" attitude. I remember during the whole Robert Pickton incident that was going on in Vancouver, vegans were actually writing in to the newspaper articles and comparing Pickton's murders of women to people who eat meat. Maybe they were trying to reference Carol Adams, but either way it obviously came across as very offensive.
I think the defensiveness I feel when being around a vegetarian/vegen, etc is basically I don't have a problem with what they eat, but they DO have a problem with what I eat. It bugs me.

Anyway, to go back on topic, like Leabug I've definitely noticed that they're being way more obvious about gender stereotypes in commercials, which surprises me since I thought we were past that blatant kind of sexism in advertising. . I'm so glad now that I live in a place that doesn't have tv.

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Heather
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quote:
I think the defensiveness I feel when being around a vegetarian/vegen, etc is basically I don't have a problem with what they eat, but they DO have a problem with what I eat. It bugs me.
Well, it's tough to equate those things, because you still also eat what veggies eat, too, and the problem is an ethical one which isn't a thin-air or imaginary issue.

However, you can have an issue with what others do, or with general practices, and still recognize the right of people to make choices for themselves and that it's really all about making your own choices, and finding ways to increase awareness of things in fair ways that honor everyone as much as possible.

For instance, 25 years later, I'm still addicted to cigarettes. People have some really valid problems with smoking, and I'm well aware of why and know the validity of those problems. In other words, I'm aware I do something that does me harm and does others harm, and in the same vein, I'm a smart grownup who has a right to make my own choices and I expect other people (given I'm being as considerate of them as possible) to acknowledge that.

Being an *** is pretty much equal opportunity. Vegans can be assholes just like meat-eaters can be assholes, and even someone with a sound platfrom, and one that's certainly valid per its issues, can misuse it or use it in a way that's nonproductive or outer limits. Doesn't mean anything is wrong with the issue so much as who is employing it and how. [Smile]

That said.... it is certainly interesting to consider how exposure to all this media has varying effects, and how much of a break we get from this stuff by opting out. For pretty much the first time in my life, I'm living somewhere with a TV, and I confess that every now and then when it's on, I feel like I must have been living on Mars.

...and I like it better on Mars. Think I'll stay. [Smile]

[ 01-17-2007, 07:41 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Gwaihir
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Yeah, I guess that tends to be a problem with any label people put on themselves; enough of them end up setting a standard for the rest of the people who identify under that label. Say, if "Suzy" comes up to me, identifies as vegan and starts haranguing me for eating meat, calling me a murderer and whatnot and I'd start to think, soo. . that's what vegans are like. But in reality it's like, no, that's what Suzy's like.

As I thought further about it, I decided that part of the issue I have is that people can decide not to eat meat--that's fine, but when they start saying that meat is "disgusting" it makes me sad, because it's really not. Meat is a natural thing; we're all made of it and it's what we all look like on the inside. To me, that'd be like someone saying they can't stand various bodily fluids.

Then again, on the other hand, I can't understand why anyone would want to eat the junk they pass off as "man food" on the commercials . . or most commonly-eaten processed food these days. My personal solution to the commercial problem is if it's possible, just not have tv. You're not going to die from lack of it and if there are shows that are any good, they'll put them out on dvd anyway.
I'm so glad my parents raised my sister and me without television.

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000
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Say now, /that's/ an interesting idea, Heather. I've always been in (I think) a pretty media-saturated family.

What is some of the stuff you've noticed since you got a t.v., that surprised you a little or made you think?

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PenguinBoy
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Oh lord, the TV and the media is all full of crap, and discrimination of every sort. Because it tells people what they want to hear. It's the discriminations that makes people feel better about their own insecurities. So it sells. Allot of people forget that they're not just being sold the products, they're being sold the adverts and programming.

Luckily we can work to protest, moderate and counter that negativity.

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