Skinny Cow Advertisement

An ad for Skinny Cow chocolates demonstrates perfectly the societal assumption of sex-gender-desire unity that Butler discusses. In it, a woman is lounging on a massage table while a dashing man attempts to tempt her sexually. However, she is much too focused on her chocolates to care, stating “Nothing beats 130 calories!” This setting is revealed to be a dream as the woman is actually laying in a grocery store aisle. The company is clearly marketing its products to women, presumably because women tend to be more concerned about their weight. The fact that the ad uses a man as the absolute best thing a woman could dream of (other than their products, of course) shows that the company assumes that all women desire heterosexual relationships and that they desire them more than almost anything else. However, as Butler discusses, the presumed unity of sex, gender, and desire, as well as the almost obsessive fixation on heterosexual sex, does not play out for everyone. What if this woman desired sex with another woman? Or with no one at all? Or, perhaps she does desire sex with men, but a promotion at work more.

Butler, Judith. (1990) “The Compulsory Order of Sex/Gender/Desire,” “Gender: The Circular Ruins of a Contemporary Debate.” From Gender Trouble.

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