Ad Critique: Sexism in Al Rifai Nut Advertisements


It’s almost mind-boggling how creative advertisers have become to enforce gender binaries and create sexist commercials in order to turn a quick profit. Al Rifai, a Lebanese nut company, managed to turn a poster for a seemingly innocuous food into yet another example of chauvinistic advertising. Who knew cashews and walnuts could be so offensive?

The advertisement consists of two pictures, one of a walnut and one of a cashew. The walnut picture bears the slogan “Because he’s got the brains,” while the cashew’s slogan reads, “Because she’s got the curves;” underneath these phrases are the words “Happy Valentine.”

According to Al Rifai, men are attractive because of their intelligence, while women are found valuable solely through their physical, not mental, attributes. This sexist message is particularly damaging because it reinforces the societal preoccupation with women’s physical appearance and conflates physical beauty with a woman’s worth. As Susan Bordo wrote in “Reading the Slender Body,” “women in our culture are more tyrannized by the contemporary slenderness ideal than men are, as they typically have been by beauty ideals in general.” Objectifying women by comparing them to cashews? That’s nuts.

Bordo, Susan. Unbearable Weight. “Reading the Slender Body.” Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993. 185-212. Print.


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