Could someone please tell me when food started to develop a gender identity. I did a double take buying a burger last night. There was a sign advertising a ‘his and hers’ combo. I stood there gazing at the beautiful coloured poster – burgers looking delicious, quietly salivating but also wrestling with an uneasy awareness that they were very different burgers. ‘His’ burger – the ‘manly’? burger – had BEEF – yes in capitals. ‘Hers’ (hey that’s me! – as I quickly located myself genderly) was CHICKEN – with Cesar Salad. I tried not to laugh hysterically but it occurred to me that this is considered completely acceptable advertising. Sure there is nothing directly offensive – unlike certain other burger advertising that…well…lets just say exploits female sexuality in ways that are about as subtle as …just take a look – its easier than explaining: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1krJqn3smbI
But I have seen this pattern before. Fast food advertising does this almost magician like ‘slight of awareness’ where the option for the woman is obviously LOW FAT! BECAUSE SHE IS WATCHING HER WEIGHT, OR SHOULD BE…THINKING ABOUT WHAT SHE IS EATING. Again shouting because I am over the food guilt propaganda masquerading as targeting tastes. Lets call it what it is; the clever creation of subtle self surveillance by pervasive normalisation of ideas of what men and woman put in their mouths.
Yes – that was an intentional sexual innuendo because female sexuality is quite clearly captured by this process. I want to be able to happily masticate in public without some lascivious dude attaching my enjoyment of food with a certain act that rhymes with mastication. I am also worried about the vegetarians of this world – are they some other gender? Do they fall into some androgynous burger zone.
Unfortunately and slightly ironically – if you point this out to people they generally say ‘its just a bit of fun’, ‘don’t take it too seriously’. So again there is the shut down of any critical analysis because advertisers do not want a critically thinking public – that would be a disaster.
So enough chewing the fat – time to swallow the cold hard truth. Food needs to be freed from its new role as a definer of gender and sexuality. I’m not sure how – but we could all start with a bit of naval gazing AND NOT TO DO A BODY FAT CHECK! Thinking about our own responses to advertising and noticing our own conversations about food is a good place to start.
Easy as pie.