Shakesville has a series on bad advertising, or badvertising, too, called Assvertising. Here’s a post on the Hungry Man series in the US, picking up on the very real problem of girly food turning big manly men into girly-men!
Just as an aside, it intrigues me that American ads often seem so much hammier and badly written, or produced, than the Australian mini-sagas. As a reader of US blogs I really can’t blame a lack of graphic, film or writing talent, and the population base is so much larger, it’s a mystery. Anyway.
The Hungry Man ad reminded me of the Australian Four ‘n ‘Twenty pies “rabbit food” ad, where two overalled building blokes discard their healthy lunches in favour of hot greasy takeaway. Note they ask each other “what did you get”, so clearly someone else, we assume a wife or girlfriend, has packed these grown mens’ lunches for them.
The message is clear:
Real men eat lots of meat and fat and lard!
Things that pertain to women are inferior and bad! (See also: Girl Cooties).
Women in the twenty-first century still pack mens’ lunches.
The US ad, though, goes a step further and implies that eating food deemed to be girly, e.g. salads, yoghurt and things like that, will actually cause you to assume female secondary sexual characteristics or behaviour. (Speaking of US ads being clumsier, you have to love the tagline “it’s good to be full”. Buuuuurp!) That American tomay-to can not only give you salmonella, but make you all wimminised, too.
Now perceptive readers will be saying, “But what about the line we get from antifeminist polemicists that one of the major indicators that men are really the oppressed class is that they die earlier? Here we’re seeing blokes whose women partners are clearly trying to keep them alive longer, but they deliberately decide that eating food associated with the despised female class is just not on and they must eat red meat and fat and lard in order to preserve their very identity. Or rather, the mainstream food and advertising industries are trying to push this way of thinking, and last time I looked they weren’t exactly a hotbed of matriarchal conspirators. Isn’t there something of a contradiction there?”
The quote about the “feminine sandwich” comes from this, which I discovered while googling to see whether there was any relationship between the ad companies running the “Hungry Man” campaigns in the different countries (it seems there isn’t). Stodge and manliness have had a long history together.