15 Jun 2008, Comments Off on Ad Nauseam: No man likes a feminine sandwich

Ad Nauseam: No man likes a feminine sandwich

Author: Helen

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.

Comments (0)

  • Oz Ozzie says:

    You too can live a longer boringer life… 😉

    How to measure quality of life? Who’s getting what they want? I submit neither sex, and as for advertising (the process of casting false pearls before real swine by those who the swine look down on)

    But there is an important pro-feminist lesson in these adds: men who are unable to pack their own lunches are doomed to a shorter life without choices!

  • Tim says:

    There was a Solo ad campaign that took a similar approach, eg. bloke sees spider, shrieks in girlish terror, but after drinking Solo can beat up a shark. Because real men punch fish!

  • ChrisS says:

    What? No mention of lunch-cutters?

    On another theme, hope does spring eternal, as The Bloke has advanced skills in healthy eating habits and makes serious attempts to turn me away from the path of lard & pov-related food. Although his superb home-brewing lead me astray.

  • Helen says:

    Chris, don’t tell me …ladies… eat lard? Bring me my fainting couch!

    Actually now I remember there’s a soup ad currently running where the woman starts sitting with legs akimbo, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand and burping loudly as a result of borrowing her man’s extra chunky soup.

  • Julie says:

    What do you think of the “warm tinny” ad for… actually I can’t remember the brand, but tinned soup anyway? It seems to me like an attempt to butch up a type of food that’s not normally seen as blokey, similar to that extra-chunky soup ad.

  • Darlene says:

    Tee hee, I was drinking Solo the other day and somebody remarked that it was an odd thing to do.

    I’ve seen the burping chunky soup ad. Absolutely stupid. Presumably we damsels are supposed to prefer watery type soups. Goes to show that men are as influenced by advertising as women, albeit in different ways.

  • Bernice says:

    Oh come on, it’s a spoof? Please? Though the line, “you are what you eat”… yes, that’s it – it’s a Heart Foundation ad, right? Right?!

  • Docwitch says:

    It’s just possible that all this zealous over-consumption of chemical and hormone ridden meat and lard may potentially give men breasts, lower their sperm count, and raise their risk of diseases like prostate cancer. The same goes for other macho behaviour such as drinking lots and lots of beer. A good dose of the nasty kind of oestrogens.

    But hey, as long as they’re doing ‘manly’ things, and avoiding ‘girl cooties’. The mainstream food and advertising industries do prey on this misogynist fear of emasculation and exploit it out of sight.

  • Helen says:

    The latest Four’n Twenty pie ad – which I haven’t yet seen on TV (the Rabbit Food ad has been going forever) is here. I find this hard to watch, as it’s such a graphic depiction of the alpha male vs. the lower status male. See the joy drain out of the young man’s face as he’s snubbed by the guy he thought was his friend – every mum’s seen that happen in the playground; it’s a real punch in the gut. (Actually, , bullying by exclusion is supposed to be girly. These advertisers aren’t really keeping up.)

  • Marian says:

    Another ad I hate is the one where a romantic love song is played in a pub. Suddenly, the drinkers all cover their beers – to stop the taste being contaminated by all those girly emotions.

    Helen et al

    You obviously haven’t seen the other version of the chunky beef soup ad, where the girl grows a penis. This one even shocked my unshockable teenage sons.

  • wilful says:

    to try to balance the ledger a little bit (though I don’t know why I’m bothering, the ad, and the ad industry, is beyond redemption), men (fathers in particular) are regularly portrayed in ads and in pop culture as complete morons unable to tie their shoelaces together without help from a patronising woman.

    This suggests to me that rather than an underlying sexism, advertising appeals to lowest common denominator wherever it may be found.

    Also, small point: “every mum’s seen that happen in the playground“. Actually I think a few dads have seen it and been unhappy as well. Suggest parent would be a better word.

  • Helen says:

    Yes, good point about the dads in the playground. I also give you points for not trying to put across the ideas that the Ads with Stupid Men are part of a great overweening matriarchal conspiracy™ . (If you look at the imdb info for The Simpsons, the writers are overwhelmingly male.) But the ads to which I’m referring go a step further, making women and anything associated with them almost an untouchable disease. Like I said, the “girl cooties”. You may prefer the ad I’m about to put up if I can get the time. There’ll be plenty to offend you there.

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