"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Eat Like a Man!

So, this post from Feminocracy points out yet another annoying advertising campaign in which large-portioned food is marketed only to men. In this case, it's Taco Bell's new large boxed meal:

Here's what one of their marketing guys had to say about it:
“The Big Bell Box will satisfy even the biggest hunger at a great value for your money,” said David Ovens, Chief Marketing Officer, Taco Bell Corp. “By combining some of Taco Bell’s favorite items and packaging them together in a convenient and portable box, we provide even better value for the hungry man.”

The hungry woman, it seems, is out of luck. What messages do this -- and the countless advertising campaigns just like it -- send? I'll list just a few:

a) The invisibility message: Women do not matter and are not worth our advertising time and money.
b) The biological determinism message: Men just naturally have larger appetites than women, so it's only natural that this big meal would be marketed to men.
c) The homophobic/misogynistic message: Real men can pack away large amounts of crappy fast food! And you want to be a real man, don't you? (Not one who's girly.)
d) The beauty standard/body hatred message: Well, we can't very well market this giant meal to women, can we? It might add excess poundage to our property their bodies and reduce their fuckability!
e) The male privilege message: Go ahead, men. Satisfy your hunger. Indulge without fear of judgment. And don't bother thinking about how only you, and not women, are afforded this luxury.

And all that from just a 15 second ad. Fuck you, Taco Bell.


Anonymous said...

ooo my gosh. i am so glad that someone else recognized this ignorancy!!! and for anyone who thinks,"this isn't a big deal," then you are ignorant too!! it really pisses me off how they really emphasize the word man. Eat like a Maaaaannn. Fuck you TB. They used to be my favorite fast food chain. Now I doubt I'll ever eat there again!

Anonymous said...

(Oh, Lord, I cannot put into words how much I love that first comment.)

I want Taco Bell to recognise that I don't eat like a man. My boyfriend may want to order two appetizers, an entree, and dessert, but I'm happy to take home leftovers. Honestly, I don't know a lot of women with larger appetites than your typical man's (except in the case of your freakish boyfriend), and being gluttonous doesn't really appeal to me (you know, except when we're at Dairy Queen). And furthermore, you don't see a lot of (any?) cosmetics companies marketing their products toward men despite the trannies out there, so this doesn't strike me as so much of a big deal.

Tracey said...

It's just that food isn't gendered, so its marketing shouldn't be. "Eating like a man" is a dumb, annoying concept.

Anonymous said...

Equally annoying is the fact that Secret's ad campaign changed from "strong enough for a man" to "strong enough for a woman". COME ON!

Dina Baxter said...

Taco Bell's just doing the same that Swanson's been doing for, well, forever. Lean Cuisine handles the other half of the offensive food/diet gendering issue pretty well. As for dieting programs themselves, they've been offensively, aggressively gendered virtually since the days of Kellogg. It's not Taco Bell's fault that as a society we've decided to assign gender, sexuality and measures of self-worth to various dietary habits.

That being said, I really want a t-shirt that says "Fuck You, Taco Bell!"

Anonymous said...

great post...after all women are supposed to be hungry!

Anonymous said...

What an excellent post. I linked to it in my post (http://scryberwitch.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/commercials-that-piss-me-off-pt-iv/).
I also have a link to complain to Taco Bell.
Thanks for calling them on their shit!