Sunday, October 7, 2012

Are We What We Eat?

Assignment #7

Are We What We Eat?

When it comes to the topic of food and gender, it is obvious that food is an asexual product; it can be consumed by both genders without incident. However, there is a definite stigma when it comes to certain foods being consumed by one gender or the other. One example that I can think of are particular alcoholic beverages, as those have gender connotations. I wouldn't think twice if a businesswoman was enjoying a Metropolitan after her day at work, but if a male construction worker had the same beverage, he would get some funny looks from the patrons. As for cuisine, I believe a majority of food lacks gender connotations. I wouldn't be embarrassed if I ordered a cob salad and my date ordered a medium-rare steak, although there are people out there who would think otherwise.

As for the marketing of the food itself, the product has to target a certain audience/demographic in order to sell more effectively. This means that there is going to be an appeal to a certain need or audience. For example, the ad for a Boca burger (a vegetarian burger) pictures a standard looking burger, presumably the Boca kind. Above it is a slogan that says, "Stop staring at me like I'm a piece of meat." This is an appeal to the female demographic, as the slogan is most likely what a woman would say if someone was eyeing her up. It is also meant to be humorous, as the Boca burger is vegetarian, putting it in an appropriate context. An interesting detail is the red background and white text; it boosts the aesthetic appeal of the ad, also drawing attention to the product itself. Therefore, the advertisement for the Boca burger is meant for the female consumer.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Wendy's Baconator television advertisement. It depicts a crowd of rabid fangirls with male faces crudely juxtaposed onto them, except their excited screaming is female. A male announcer states, "Obsessing over a celebrity; that's wrong, unless the celebrity is bacon!" It then segways into a generic shot of an airbrushed, perfect-looking bacon burger, as the announcer states that the beef patties are "Fresh, never frozen!" Cut to a slightly overweight man wearing a red twintails wig (which greatly contrasts with the black and white setting) eating a baconburger. With a triumphant shout of "BACON," all of the male fangirls surge past him, presumably towards the local Wendy's. This advertisement has an obvious male slant, with a touch of humor. It's supposed to show how men are excited to the point of paroxysms for a baconburger, instead of a celebrity. It is somewhat patronizing, however, to both men and women, as men won't scream and faint over a burger, while women might be offended at such a crude juxtaposition of a male face on a female body. It's an ad for males.

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