As I was writing many of these posts, I’ve come to realize that I have been highly critical of the society we live in. But you know what? I don’t want to come off completely as a Debbie-downer so this next post is to show that there ARE some positive things in our society that we should be proud of too.
To keep it short and simple, women have been oppressed and treated unequally in our society for as long as history has been written and they still are to this day. For example, within the workplace, the average woman makes less than the average man. To learn more about gender inequality in the workplace, click here to read an interesting article that I found on this topic (Fitzpatrick). Women have always been on a lower playing field than men but I really like this commercial from Pepsi because it shows women in a more positive light than many other food advertisements we have already looked at.
Here is the video (once again this is another Super Bowl Ad, and from the 2012 game):
So, what does this ad tell us about food and gender equality?
First of all, what it tells us about food is that this ruler (Elton John), views Pepsi as something only fit for royalty and those who deserve it. In other words, it is a privilege to have good food and drink. But due to Melanie Amaro’s bravery and courage to defy the king, she gives all people the opportunity to have Pepsi. What parallels can be made about food? Well, believe it or not, FOOD IS A PRIVILEGE. I mean seriously, think about it. Not all people can afford to eat in really expensive restaurants. For example, what DC college student (aka me) is going to be able to eat at Citronelle? This restaurant’s average menu price can range anywhere from $14-35 for a small plate of food (Cooper). Is a college student like me really going to be able to afford this? Hell no! I’d probably stick to 2Amy’s where I can get an entire pizza for $12. But let’s think about it some more, I’m privileged in that I can sometimes treat myself to good food. Some people can’t afford to eat out at all and are actually going day to day trying to put food on the table. Also, keeping in mind that there is so much gender inequality in the workplace, how are women and “non-normative” gendered people supposed to achieve such simple privileges with no equal pay or job opportunities?
Anyways, I realize that may be another Debbie-downing point, but here is the good part!
The reason why I liked this commercial was because it shows women on an equal playing field as men (especially a man of power, the King). Through the commercial, we can see that the jester was trying to impress the King with his performance in order to be rewarded with a Pepsi drink. After the jester failed epically, a woman of color approaches the bench to give a shot in obtaining a Pepsi (Melanie Amaro). She sings the justice out of the song R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin and is offered a drink from the approaching king. Next, she defies the king and liberates all the people from this Pepsi privilege.
This is a good representation of women because it represents a strong woman who defies an oppressive system. Here’s how the commercial does this:
When Melanie Amaro sings, she sings on a platform to a king on a throne (if you didn’t catch it the first time, watch it again). When she does a good enough job to deserve a drink, the King gets down from this thrown, crosses the floor, and steps onto the platform that Melanie performed on. What this tells us in terms of power is the King has the most power but as he offers to give Amaro a drink, he has to get on her level….meaning the power is equal. However, does Amaro just become another privileged Pepsi drinker like the king? Hell no! With the equal power distribution between Amaro and the King, she takes advantage of the opportunity and liberates all the people from this Pepsi privilege. This is why this is a great commercial.
Cooper, Rachel . “Citronelle Restaurant Review – Michel Richard Citronelle.” About.com Washington, DC. n.d. n. page. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://dc.about.com/od/restaurantreviews/gr/CitronelleRevie.htm>.
Fitzpatrick, Laura. “Why Do Women Still Earn Less Than Men?.” TIME US. 20 Apr 2010: n. page. Web. 25 Apr. 2012. <http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1983185,00.html>.
Pepsi. “Pepsi-King’s Court Super Bowl”. 03 Feb. 2012 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 24 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcf01QTcO6E>.