Just in case y’all need another timely reminder of how the Food Industrial Complex loves to use harmful body-image stereotypes to shill products to women, check out Pepsi’s new “Skinny” can:“In celebration of beautiful, confident women, Diet Pepsi presents the taller, sassier new Skinny Can.”
According to Diet Pepsi: skinny = beautiful, confident, taller and sassier. Not surprisingly, this gimmick promotes Diet Pepsi at New York Fashion Week—Big Fashion’s festive week-long celebration of unattainable body types and blithely ignored eating disorders.
But as dismal and obviously sizeist as the Skinny Pepsi campaign is, it’s is nothing new. Big Food—and the soulless advertisers that do its bidding—have been on a real tear with this kind of marketing. It’s crossed the line into truly misogynist and pro-ana territory.
Last year, PhDork wrote about Campbell’s Soup’s campaign trumpeting the fact that some of their soups have only 80 calories a serving—a meal about as filling as a cup of apple juice. Unsurprisingly, the advertising featured women, not men; men get the sales pitch for Campbell’s Chunky Soups instead. C’mon, you know they’d never shill something called “chunky” to women.
But if you’re still hungry after your 80-calorie soup, Kellogg’s wants to sell you their Chocolatey Delight Special K cereal: These crunchy rice and wheat flakes (and oh-so-yummy chocolatey pieces) are the perfect way to get your chocolatey fix without undoing your day.
Right. Because women are on a perpetual diet, and their whole day would be positively undone by eating anything made of genuine chocolate.
Similarly, Yoplait markets their Yoplait Light yogurt in flavors like Pineapple Upsidedown Cake and Strawberry Shortcake as the diet-y alternative to dessert. Check out their TV ad—it’s amazing how much insecurity-prodding and dieting propaganda they managed to pack into 20 seconds.
Big Food and its advertisers trot out the usual “Ooh, this is healthy and will make you fit and skinny” cover story, but concern-trolling about a woman’s health is merely part of the marketing. It’s especially ridiculous in light of the fact that those yogurts and chocolatey cereal are created in labs from over-processed grains and lots of added starch, sugars, artificial flavors and sweeteners. They’re not healthy. They’re hardly even food.
But, of course, these products are meant make women feel as though they aren’t eating dessert. Women shouldn’t eat dessert, the thinking goes. Women don’t deserve to eat dessert. We should give up the pleasure of real, delicious food for a diet of virtuous self-deprivation eating artificial overprocessed crap instead.
The “guilt-free dessert” marketing ploy reaches its absolute nadir with Extra Dessert Delights sugarfree gum: Inspired by real desserts, Extra Dessert Delights comes in mouth-watering Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry Shortcake and Key Lime Pie flavors, to help satisfy sweet cravings for only 5 calories per stick.
Yes, gum—gum!—is being sold as dessert.
Not only is gum not dessert, gum is not food. You don’t even swallow it! Unfortunately, I suspect the marketing geniuses at Wrigley’s think that is precisely the allure of Dessert Delights. It’s eating dessert without actually eating! I couldn’t find a on-line video of the TV commercials for it, but needless to say, they all feature women enthusing over how decadent and delicious this non-food, non-dessert is.
How much does Big Food hate women? How low will they stoop to sell us unhealthy “food” by piling on the harmful stereotypes and sick body-image propaganda?
Y’all feel free to contemplate that one at your leisure. I’m going to go over to PhDork’s house and stick my face into one of her homemade pies.