Hunger as Ideology Essay

In “Hunger as Ideology” Susan Bordo observes closely women and their constant obsession with weight control and the gender ideologies present in the food advertisment.

Girls learn at a young age that being slim is beautiful and they start thinking about tricks on how to achieve that beauty. Media knows that women like “control “and commercials use this word a lot, appealing to an audience who feels this lack of control, teaching them that one easy way to get what you want is using your sex appeal. With a lot of relevant examples Bordo is focusing on locating gender disparities in dvertising and the effects that these commercials have on women body, behavior and psychology. In the first paragraph Susan Bordo introduces us to a commercial where two little girls have a quite disturbing conversation about what is beauty ”Your mom is so slim, so beautiful! Does she eat? ” Even from a young age girls learn that the way they look is directly connected to the amount of food they eat.

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”Silly, just not so much”. The FiberThin commercial is trying to create envy between women ”Aren’t you jealous? ” and then also offers a solution to this problem ”Not if I know her secrets.Today even after we learned that these kind of commercials influences girls to have eating disorders we can still find the following ads like: The first picture is advertising a weight lose program, kids get a clear message that in order to feel good you have to be skinny.

The second picture is an ad for a famous brand name and even if it does not say anything about being skinny it is hard to miss how tiny the model is. As grown ups we know that this is not real and it still influences us, imagine what an influence has on children who look up to movie stars and models. This is how eating isorders start and it looks like not much has changed since Bordo first criticised commercials. Women have been fighting for their rights for a long time, they want to be free and in control of their decisions, their life and of course their body. Contemporary advertisements take advantage of this desire and include the idea of control in their ads. Bordo points it out that the Virginia Slim Menthol ad is targeting african american women, who have advanced a lot in the past years from slavery to freedom,”You’ve come a long way baby”. This ad is inviting women to celebrate their freedom and to exercise their rights by smoking VirginiaSlim Menthol.

Even if this is an ad for cigarettes there is still a connection to food and body image. “Decisions are easy. When I get to a fork in the road, I eat. ” The idea is that you can have the control of your body, you can eat whenever you want, as long as you are smoking you will stay SLIM. Control is used to sell anything from eyeliners(“Perfect eyeliner. Puts you in control, And isn’t that nice for a change”)to ca-box deodorant (“Control.

I strive for it. My cat achieved it”) Today the fashion has changed but only in clothes, ideas are the same. Women are still looking for control and models are skinnier than ever.Bordo is very interested in the ways that society looks into the ads we see every day and what assumptions are made about gender identity, or “…the differences attributed to men and women in the stories we tell ourselves and the ways we picture out attitudes toward food, eating, cooking, body size, and shape” The media has a lot of influences on women, how they feel about their body, what is their role of in society, how should women behave and finally how can we achieve perfection.

http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=M-3VSzOkQ34 This youtube video informs us that we are becoming a digital world and we are pending a lot of time in front of television where we can typically see over 9000 commercials a day. Advertisements are made not only to sell products but also to sell ideals, values and normalcy. Like Bordo says advertisements are not made to make people think in a certain way.

They thrive off what society typically wants themselves to be, whether society wants to be thin, curvy, muscular, or beautiful. It seem like everywhere you look you find that the human body and the sexuality are used to sell products. Gender role of male in advertisements has somewhat different from female.The difference is that men should be powerful, aggressive and cool in order to show men’s gender. The same product will have a totally different vibe when it’s advertised by a man;we will find a construction worker who eats the burger so he can get more strenght to do his manly, powerful job.

This is the macho-man myth stereotype and therefore is the expectations of society. The men should have a tough physical job and they can eat as much as they want because they need power to do their daily routine. The origins of stereotypes, especially the macho-man myth has evolved from the beginning of basic society.Males were the aggressive hunters and warriors of most civilized society. When the same burger is being advertised by a women we find Paris Hilton, a very attractive woman by todays standards, who is wearing almost nothing, covered in foam and washing an expensive car. We don’t know what she is advertising until the end when she is taking a small bite of the burger.

This ad gives clear image of what woman’s body should be and the amount of food she should be eating to achieve those standards. The stereotype here is the woman as a sex symbol, a very degrading image and also a bad odel for the young generation. Women had always had a strange relation with food and you can see that in advertisement even today. Like Bordo says it is normal for women to cook the food, but when time comes to eat it we are ashamed.

I found this commercial for Nintendo DS; a beautiful woman sitting at a table with an apple pie in front of her, but instead of eating it she decides to call it art and takes pictures with her Nintendo DS. For centuries women were taught that the only positive relation with food is when we prepare it, we give it away or we use in small quantities it to make our bodies more eautiful. Another issue that Bordo is talking about is the division of labor divided between men and women. Most of the time we can see women in commercial singing and acting happy while cooking and cleaning as if that job would be the ideal happy place for a woman. Happiness we can achieve in lot of ways but I am pretty sure most women when they dream about being happy they do not picture themselves cleaning or cooking.

Men will have a different line of work, “men strive, compete, and exert themselves in the public sphere while women are cocooned in the domesticated arena” Very seldom we an find men cooking, and when we do see man cooking it is a special occasion like breakfast with his child(“My pancakes deserve the rich maple flavor of Log Cabin Syrup”) The man still has the power ”my pancakes” but decides to share it in a special moment with his son. “Occasionally, men are shown serving food-in the role of butler or waiter. They may be depicted roasting various items around the campfire, barbecuing meat, preparing a salad for a special company dinner, or making instant coffee. ” Men will cook foods that are easy, not from scratch like women or will barbeque since that is a tough job.

Part of women job is to urture, to take care of everybody before her. “always the women in the background speaks the language of love and care through the offering of food. Nothing says Cookie I love you like Nestle’s Toll House Cookies Do.

” I this commercial they are implying that if you can show your love by serving these cookies, again women will take the role of servants and males will be the consumer. Because media has become such a large part of our society it is impossible for any single person not to be influenced by the power of media. We all want to be accepted and loved and taken care of and media is using that desire and ot of tricks to make us buy products. In the past women are placed in the kitchen and in the present they are still in the kitchen only they also have a career, but the ideas are the same, women are viewed as the domestic partner who prepares food and takes care of everybody.

Women and food will always be explored because of the twisted relation between the two: the happy relation when women are preparing food to express their love for the important people in their life and the not so happy relation where women want to achieve the perfection advertised by media.


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