The commercial above is one of Target’s many “everyday collection” advertisements. This commercial sends contrasting messages; it advertises Oreos as a desirable food that should be sought out, and yet the female has to hide the fact that she’s eating any, as shown by her walking to them in the dark. This is a form of the “fatten up/slim down” style of food advertising, as mentioned by Hesse-Biber. Ads will promote foods that are certain to cause weight gain while advertising them using a slim model. In her article, “Reading the Slender Body,” Susan Bordo writes about how the female body today is expected to be “tighter, smoother, more contained.” She says that this new female image promotes “the right attitude;…suggesting willpower, energy, control over infantile impulse,” things that women today want in order to compete with males. Advertisements use this female desire to sell their product. While this may be profitable for food companies, it stigmatizes women who do not fit into the slender stereotype.
If ads began using women of many sizes, would it improve the mindset of how women should look? Would the product still sell? I think that adding women of different sizes to ads over time could decrease the negative assumptions made about fat women, but it is unlikely that advertising companies will take that leap anytime soon.
Hesse-Biber, Sharlene Nagy. The Cult of Thinness. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
Bordo, Susan. “Reading the Slender Body.” Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California, 1993. N. pag. Print.