Meagan Smith- Hunger as Ideology (Magnum Ice Cream)

Posted: November 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

This weeks readings focused on the representation of feminism in advertisements. I found Susan Bordo’s article called “Hunger as Ideology” as the most interesting. Bordo attempts to educate, describe and uncovers the current societal influences concerning food consumption for both men and women. I especially found it interesting that this article was written twenty years ago, and still to this day is relevant to what is happening in society.
The article addresses the ideals of food, sexuality and desire. Bordo examines how commercials, advertising, and fashion push the ideal of the ‘perfect women’ on individuals. She suggests that the image of a female nibbling her food is representative of keeping the ‘slim’ figure. It shows a restriction of female appetite. On the other hand men are supposed to exhibit a “hearty, even voracious appetite. It is a mark of the manly to eat spontaneously and expansively” (Bordo, 111).
This also leads into consumption as a sexual desire. “Eating is not really a metaphor for the sexual act; rather, the sexual act, when initiated and desired by a woman, is imagined as itself an act of eating, of incorporation and destruction of the object of desire” (Bordo, 112). While reading this article, and trying to think of ways I can relate it to modern day campaigns, Magnum ice cream came to mind.
The ice cream commercial shows Bilson climbing over cars while stuck in a traffic jam, in order to get to the magnum ice cream truck. The commercial doesn’t become sexually suggestive until a voice over says “nothing will keep you from magnum.” Finishing off with a bunch of other women running towards the truck as well. Sexuality not only plays through in the way Bilson takes a small bite from the ice cream bar, but also through the companies slogan itself, “For Pleasure Seekers”. The female consuming the ice cream bar becomes the sexual object to a concept of “the male gaze,” a feminist theory developed by Lauren Mulvey. It is the concept developed for film, where the audience is placed into the perspective of the heterosexual male, leading to the objectification of women.


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