Tag Archives: food

What does this all mean?

So, what can be said in terms of sex, gender, and food?

As we have seen throughout this bog, everything can be examined with multiple lenses and it can be fun and sometimes really shocking.

By looking at gender in this blog, we can see that gender is all around us and there is no escaping it.  Gender is a social construct and is location specific, which means that how we view gender in our country is completely different to how we view gender in other countries.  When I said that there is no escaping gender, there really is no escape.  Gender is appears everywhere and we perform it every day as well.  Gender shows up in our food, commercials, ads, toys, clothes, etc.

So what can be said about sex and food?

Well, we now know that food is more than just the scrumptious stuff we eat off of our plates.  Food has many faces to it and has much more meaning to it than we have ever imagined.  We have also learned about the various relationships food has with people and our culture.  How the tiniest thing in food advertisements can mean so much.

And in terms of sex, we have learned that sex is also very complicated and there are many things that affect it.  Sex is no longer that simple pleasure that we enjoy.

However, to examine all of these together, the most important thing to note is that all of these are shaped by culture.  Culture is what shapes everything and become part of our society.  What we deem is acceptable food choices, or what is acceptable ways to present products through commercials is all based off of our culture.  This is why the world is so interesting.  Wherever you go, you will inevitably run into a different culture that will challenge you to think in other ways and to try new things.

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Snake wine and Frog Shakes

BALUT

http://www.gpwa.org/forum/eatting-filipino-balut-198757.html

Now that we’ve looked at western forms of aphrodisiacs, why don’t we look at something a little out of our comfort zone……….aphrodisiacs from other countries!

Not only do I think this is some of the most interesting stuff to read about and look at but the way these foods work as an aphrodisiac is extremely interesting as well.  For some of these cultures, food does more than just give us nutrients.  In Chinese culture, food is cooked the way it is and consumed in order to keep an equal balance of yin and yang.

To give you a taste of what some of these aphrodisiacs include, just read down the list (Festa):

–          Balut (Southeast Asia)

–          Snake essence in wine (meaning an entire snake is pickled in wine jars) (China/Vietnam)

–          Testicles (found all over the world)

–          Frog shakes (Peru)

–          Black chicken (Southeast Asia)

–          Caterpillar Fungus (China)

–          Hagfish (Southeast Asia)

–          Bird’s Nest Soup (China………and I’ve actually eaten this)

SNAKE WINE

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/photo1273692.htm

 

This may just seem like a list of foods that people can eat in order to increase their sexual performance and such but there is so much more to the process.  For example, unlike in American culture, you can eat chocolate and increase your sexual performance because it has nutrients in it.  However, when you eat testicles in some countries, not only does is it believed that it gives you nutrients, but it is believed also believed that you gain the potency of the sperm inside the testicle.  This may seem weird in our culture but in many cultures; this is completely normal and is something that we must respect for its tradition and cultural value.  But once again, are these foods something that actually gives us energy? Or is it a placebo effect again?  From my personal experience with Bird’s Nest, I honestly have to say that I just felt the same after having it.

Also, I just wanted to give you something else to think about before I end this post.  There is a lot of truth in that many of these aphrodisiacs have actual nutrients that can help increase our sexual pleasure/drive.  For example, going back to chocolate, it has been found that chocolate actually helps release serotonin which is responsible for us feeling happy and relaxed (Ciampa).  However, at the same time, you have to eat a lot of chocolate before anything like heightened sexual pleasure occurs.  So, let’s really think about it, is it a placebo or real?

 

References:

Ciampa , Linda. “Researchers say chocolate triggers feel-good chemicals.” CNN:Food. N.p., 14 Feb 1996. Web. 5 May 2012. <http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/indepth.food/sweets/chocolate.cravings/index.html&gt;.

Festa , Jessica . “Unusual Aphrodisiacs from Asian Countries.” AOL Travel. N.p., 03 Mar 2012. Web. 5 May 2012. <http://www.gadling.com/2012/03/03/unusual-aphrodisiacs-from-asian-countries/&gt;.

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Spinach keeps him hard

So I recently just looked at an episode of Popeye and how he eats spinach to become stronger and more masculine. Let’s seriously think about this concept though. Is food always used for satisfying our taste buds and keeping us healthy? Or is it more? Is food also a way for us to perform our gender and to fulfill our masculinity or femininity?

To proceed with this discussion, let’s look at this video that I found online that is another is also Popeye related:

So we have seen this video and quite frankly I have to say it was ridiculously corny and lame.  But let’s look at what it has taught us about fulfilling our gender (masculinity/femininity).  In the video we can see that this guy is trying to be like role playing as Popeye and is pretending as though he is going to sleep with Olive Oyl.  He goes to the drawer to take some Viagra (which is for sexual performance) but he soon realizes that it is all gone.  Instead, this real life Popeye eats some spinach which results in bulking biceps (which I personally found to be unattractive) and is ready to have sex.

Let’s think about this now.  Is the spinach he took really going to keep his erection hard?  Or is it a placebo effect that boosted his confidence (and masculinity) which is now going to make him perform better in bed?  To my knowledge and research, spinach does not keep a man’s erection hard.  But I do know that a little self-confidence can make a man’s penis work again.  Even Viagra has had some studies that shown that the tiny blue pill can physically work for some men but it has also shown that some men aren’t affected by it at all and some men just gain the placebo effect after intake (Loe).

Another way that we can tell this man is going through the placebo effect is because after eating the spinach, his biceps became huge……we do not see if his penis becomes hard, but we see his biceps.  Last time I checked, biceps have nothing to do with sexual performance.

You might ask and say, “Damn it Josh, this is just you being really analytical.  We all know that this video was an exaggeration of Popeye and not actually real.”  But you know what?  This type of stuff is extremely REAL as you will find out when you continue with my next posts.

 

References:

Loe, Meika . The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America. New York : NYU Press, 2011. Print.

 

Shakelightly. “Popeye the Sailorman: Spinach or Viagra”. 16 May. 2011 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 02 May 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUMxhkRidjc&gt;.

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Spinach Saves Damsel in Distress

When I was a little kid, I would remember watching Popeye all the time when it played late at night.
As a kid, I remember loving Popeye and staying up super late at night just to watch it all the time.  Some would say that was pretty irresponsible of my parents’ right?  Wrong.  My parents thought that Popeye was great.  They thought he was the type of man I should be like one day and he even influenced me to eat a lot of spinach as a kid.  However, did they let my sister watch Popeye when she was a kid?  The answer would be no.  My sister was told by my parents that she was supposed to watch tv shows for girls.

Now, let’s watch a brief episode from Popeye and see what it says about gender and food.

First and foremost, it is important to note that this episode of Popeye is an adaptation of the famous bedtime story, Jack and the Beanstalk.  In the episode, we can see that Popeye is trying to get three young boys to eat their spinach by telling them the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and replacing the character Jack with himself.  Instead of tricking the giant like in the original story, Popeye saves the golden hen by eating some spinach (which gives him incredible strength) and beats the pulp out of the giant.

Ok, so what does this tell us about gender and food?

It is basically telling children that if they want to become big and strong like Popeye and be able to beat up bigger opponents than you, you should eat a lot of spinach.  Also, in terms of examining gender and food, it is also important to see that this episode/show specifically targets boys.  As we see in this episode, Popeye is telling the story to boys only.  There are no girls in this episode.  This episode and show also tells us a lot about expected gender roles.  In the show, Popeye always has to eat spinach in order to save the female characters.  What this tells us about gender roles is that men must eat healthy foods like spinach in order to become tough and strong.  While on the other hand, women must wait for strong masculine men to come and save the day.

However, let’s think about it rationally.

Does eating  spinach really make someone into a tough person?  The answer is yes and no.  Although spinach is high in fiber, has vitamins to strengthen your bones, and great for your health, it will not turn you into a super tough macho man (Poulos).  And if women REALLY need a good rescue, couldn’t they just eat some spinach too?

I know, Popeye may seem a little outdated for our time but I challenge you to watch children’s movies and televisions today and tell me that these ideals don’t still exist.  And you know what?  This type of mentality totally existed in my family, so who is to say that it doesn’t exist in other families.

References:

Poulos , Rob. “Spinach Nutrition Facts – Health Benefits of Spinach.” Fast Fit Tips. N.p., 2006. Web. 1 May 2012. <http://www.fatburningfurnace.com/blog/spinach-nutrition-facts-–-health-benefits-of-spinach&gt;

s275ironman. “Popeye the Sailor-Let’s Stalk Spinach (1951)”. 17 Jan. 2010 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 01 May 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xw7BZ3613M&gt;.

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Binge Drinking is Manly

Now that we’re done with ads and commercials, let’s look at something more interesting and something that many of us do by choice…………..watch television (TV)!

In this post, I’m going to look at a TV show that I currently watch that is short and sweet.  That’s right, this TV show is about 10 min per episode.

Here’s the show:

In this episode, we see that Mordecai (the blue jay) and Rigby (the raccoon) knocked out their boss, Bensen (the gumball machine) by not holding the ladder.  After knocking Benson out, Mordecai and Rigby precede to take him to a party that he was supposed to.  At the party, the ex-boyfriend of the girl that Benson likes is taunting him and eventually challenges him to a contest where they have to see who can last the longest in eating chili peppers.  After the three characters win, they have the champion drink called the “Mississippi Queen” and after taking it, their worlds just spin out of control.

The next few descriptions/POINTS of the episode are pertinent to my argument:

1)      After drinking the “Mississippi Queen” their life becomes super fun and just like a rock n roll song.

2)      They leave the party and their vision becomes blurry.

3)      The friends end up at a coffee shop and order some food but when the food comes the servers are worried and friends end up in a cab.

4)      During the ride, the cab door opens up to the curb as the cab is still driving.

5)      The three friends end up back at the park, and the next morning they are found to be in front of the house and feeling like poo.

My point in this post is…………the chili peppers in this episode were actually supposed to be booze (which implies many other things).  I mean let’s think about, does eating a lot of chili peppers really make you do/feel all those things that I listed earlier?  No, but you know what does?  Alcohol.  Alcohol can impair vision (POINT 2), make people throw up (POINT 4), and even blackout (POINT 5), much like the three characters in this episode.

I wanted to discuss this episode specifically for this scene.  This scene reflective of many men in real life…..or at least in college.  In my experience, men always challenge each other to drinking contests at parties and all it is to show who is “more of a man”.  In other words, drinking challenges are a way for men to prove their masculinity/worth as a man.  However, as both participants will usually drink an excessive amount in such a short amount of time, they usually get to POINT 2,4, and 5.  Also, when reflecting back on what they did, they simply think that it was a funny experience, but what they don’t realize is how this relationship with alcohol can affect them in the long term.  Sure, alcohol can make someone vomit, impair their vision and even blackout, however, there can be many long terms effects as well.  Improper alcohol consumption can lead to a messed up REM sleep cycle, liver damage, brain development, and even sexual performance (Effects of Alcohol on the Body).  When we compare the negatives of overconsumption of alcohol and the pros to proving one’s masculinity, is it really worth it to do this?  I think another question to ask and maybe just for self-reflection is, why do we binge drink in the first place?

 

References:

“Effects of Alcohol on the Body.” Office of Education for Health and Wellness, Johns Hopkins University. N.p., 03 Mar 2006. Web. 29 Apr 2012. <http://www.jhu.edu/health/pdfdocs/EtOHEffects.pdf&gt;.

 

Morecartoonnetwork5. “313 (HD)”. 21 Jan. 2012 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 23 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_U9_35Umc00&feature=related&gt;.

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Is Annorexia Funny?

As I was doing research on commercials and deciding which ones would be good to critique, I just happened to find this one that I think is really interesting. It is a commercial from Thailand, but even so, I think that it can be applied to our country as well.

Here is the commercial:

First impressions? I don’t know about you, but I thought this commercial was really disturbing. Before I start, let’s recap what we just saw in this commercial. In the commercial, we can see that this ultra-thin woman wants to eat food but is really limited to what she thinks she can eat. Due to the fact that she is limiting her food choices and quantities, she is also starving her stomach which is why her stomach is making such a desperate attempt to eat food. Whenever her stomach is denied food, her stomach cries and the advertisers’ solution is to eat low fat tuna (which is obviously the product that is being sold).

Now that we’ve recapped everything, let’s deconstruct this video and examine the messages within this video. First off, this commercial is socializing women to think that they are supposed to be ultra-thin like this woman. This commercial doesn’t tell them that they can be whatever sized body they want to, it tells them that this body type is something that has to be achieved and alternate choice to starving yourself is to eat light tuna.

Is this the type of relationship we want people to be having with food?

Food shouldn’t be something we eat in order to be pretty or sexy. Food should be something that we eat in order to be healthy and to satisfy our taste buds! It is due to this type of relationship that we as a society have created with food that we see so many health related issues that are linked to food (ex. Anorexia, bulimia, etc). Also, this is a very real problem within our society. According to Duke Medicine, about 10 million people are suffering from eating disorders (Eating Disorders). That is nuts! To make this even worse, a large portion of the affected population is between the ages of 15-24 (which is a really important time for our development) (Eating Disorders).

Wondering what makes this an even more real issue? What makes this even more of an issue is that people don’t find this commercial disturbing or wrong, it’s actually titled, “Funny Diet Commercial” on youtube.

 

References:

“Eating Disorders.” U.S. News Health . DukeMedicine, 28 Jan 2010. Web. 29 Apr 2012  <http://health.usnews.com/health-conditions/mental-health/eating-disorders&gt;.

SherryQiu. “Funny Diet Commercial”. 06 Oct. 2006 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 23 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OBPWUijk4M&gt;.

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Devour his junk………food

Now that I’m done with looking at print ads, I’d say that commercials would definitely have to be next.  Although I’m only going to be looking at a few examples, I do think that think that it is worth to examine commercials because they are a different form of advertising and have a different amount of viewers/consumers.  It is because of this reason that the commercials I’m going to be examining in the next few posts are from recent Super Bowls.

My first television ad that I’m going to analyze is a Doritos commercial in 2011.  First of all, the reason why I chose a food ad from the 2011 Super Bowl was because that Super Bowl had the biggest amount of viewers than any other game in the past.  In 2011, there was an estimated 111 million people watching the Super Bowl (Bauder).    That’s right, 111 MILLION PEOPLE!!  That is a lot of people watching the same program.  Keeping that number in mind, just think about how many people are seeing the same thing and how the media is influencing all of these people by the ads they post throughout the program.

With that in mind, let’s look at the ad:

As seen through the commercial and much like the print ads that I examined, there is a lot of phallic symbolism.  However, something else I see that is much more apparent and prevalent within commercials are the uses of stereotypes.

Examples within the commercial:

1)       What is the stereotype of black men and penis size?  The stereotype is that black men are supposed to have ENORMOUS penises.  During the commercial, we can see that the white man looks over to the black man’s crotch area and is shocked.  When we see this, we think that the white man is shocked to see the black man’s huge penis, while in reality he was just surprised to see a bag of Doritos.  Not only is this stereotype harmful because not all black men have big penises and such, but it also negatively affects the black community because they are going to be eroticized for their “big penises”.

2)      At the same time as being shocked, the white man just can’t resist the temptation to grab the Doritos, which we already know represents the black man’s penis.  Although many people may not catch on this stereotype/generalization in this action, there is a very real stereotype present.  The white man’s irresistible temptation to grab an unsuspecting man’s junk/Doritos is parallel to the stereotype that gay men are hypersexual and can’t control their urge to have sex with someone else.

But to go back to food, how the heck do these stereotypes relate back to Doritos?

Answer: Consumers are like gay men, and Doritos are like black men’s penises.  Doritos are so delicious and awesome that they are irresistible to consumers.

Now that I have presented all this information to you and shown you how this commercial can be negative, just remember 111 million people also saw this.  Think about what percentage got as much out of the commercial as I did.

References

Bauder, David . “Super Bowl 2011 Is Most Watched Program EVER .” Huffington Post. 07 Feb 2011: n. page. Web. 24 Apr. 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/07/super-bowl-2011-ratings-s_n_819559.html&gt;.
2011DoritoCommercial. “The Sauna – 2011 Doritos Superbowl Commercial Ad”. 09 Nov. 2011 Online video clip. Youtube. Accessed on 24 April 2012. < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1yk85znbpY>.

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Consenting Alcohol

Ok, so this is the last post I’m going to do in regards to print ads displaying food, gender, and sexuality. I chose this particular ad because it depicts two bodies which give a blatant sexual connotation to the product, much like the ad found in the “Rump or Ass?” post.

In this particular print ad, Añejo Tequila is being targeted towards the consumer. As seen in the ad, you can see that there is a suggestive image of a woman on the bed with her dress showing a lot of skin. On the other side of the ad is a man who is completely naked. Due to the symbolism in the ad, we can see that the bottle of tequila is a phallic symbol of a man’s erect penis. Another important part of the ad is the text that says “Extra Añejo for an extra long night” (Sharpe). Through all the suggestive material in the ad, you can assume that the two people in the ad are going to have sex because they drank this tequila.

However, once again there are many implications to this ad.

1) Due to the fact that these two people figures do not have faces and are completely reduced down to bodies…..aka objectification. Nowadays we hear about the objectification of women all the time, but in this instance we can also see the objectification of a man which is also problematic.

2) This type of ad creates a negative relationship to food. What I mean by this is that the ad tells the consumers that if they are planning on having an extra long night (meaning if they are planning on having sex that night), then they should drink their tequila. Let’s think about what this implies for a moment. It is telling us that we should always drink alcohol of some sort if we are planning on having sex, which is not the type of relationship people should be having with food, especially alcohol. Sure, alcohol might be able to give some people confidence and put them in the mood, but that is only in moderation and is partially psychological. Due to the fact that this ad says that people should drink and have sex, that is a problem in itself. It doesn’t reflect on the issue between the consumption of alcohol and sex. Alcohol can affect people in many ways and can blur the lines of consent, which is really problematic.

Reference

Sharpe, Gwen. “Non-Subtle Sex in Advertising (NSFW).” The Society Pages . W.W Norton & Company, Inc., 27 Jun 2008. Web. 18 Apr 2012. <http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2008/06/27/non-subtle-sex-in-advertising/&gt;.

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Is BIGGER better?

I’m going to start this post with 2 questions, and the questions are for you too!

Questions:

1)      What is your favorite fast food joint?

2)       When you think of that fast food restaurant, what comes to your mind?

Here’s what my answers were:

My favorite place is Burger King (BK).  In my mind, there is absolutely no competition between McDonald’s and BK because it’s so much better than McDonald’s.  When I think of BK I tend to think of the awesome chicken sandwiches, onion rings with barbecue sauce and how I’m going to get fat or clog up my arteries with cholesterol.

Here’s another question, when you think about that fast food joint, do you also think about sex?  I’m assuming the majority of you said no, and I would have to personally say that I too would never think about sex and BK at the same time.  So why the heck do we put the two together then?  It’s because sex, gender, and food are highly relatable.

Below is an ad that I fell upon and thought it was a prime example to inspect under the lens of gender and sexuality, especially in terms of gender roles.

First, let’s examine all the innuendo and sexual symbolism.  To put it bluntly, the positioning of the sandwich in regards to the woman’s mouth seems as though she is going to give a blowjob (otherwise known as fellatio) to the sandwich which obviously represents a penis.  Also, the word “blow” in the ad just further implies fellatio.  To make things even more apparent, the sandwich is described as “long” (7 inches) and “juicy” and is filled with a lot of mayonnaise.  Also, just read this little description found at the bottom of the ad and I think you’d be able to recognize some more innuendo:

“Fill your desire for something long, juicy and flame-grilled with the NEW BK SUPER SEVEN INCHER. Yearn for more after you taste the mind-blowing burger that comes with a single beef patty, topped with American cheese, crispy onions and the A1 Thick and Hearty Steak Sauce. (The Cajun Boy)”

So, what does this say about gender roles and sexuality?

Well, it once again reinforces our heterosexual society because it assumes that sex is between men and women only. Could you imagine if the woman’s face was replaced with a man’s?  People would flip out!

What it also shows us about our gender roles is that for people who want to have sex with men; they should strive to meet a man with a long seven inch cock.  But even when we have met what we desire (which is a 7 inch cock), we should still want more……………..just like that darn BK Super Seven Incher Sandwich!

However, these roles are problematic because what if we don’t meet these expectations?  If a man doesn’t have a seven inched dick then he could feel really inadequate.  Also, for us people who like having sex with men, what if a seven inch dick (or even bigger) is something we found but isn’t as satisfying as we thought?  It brings up the question, is bigger really better?  Not only does it apply to penises, but also to food.  Are bigger plates of food tastier than smaller portioned plates?

Think about it and let me know what you think.    🙂

Reference

Cajun Boy, The. “Eating a Burger King ‘Super Seven Incher’ Is Just Like Giving a Blow Job.” Gawker. N.p., 24 Jun 2009. Web. 23 Apr 2012. <http://gawker.com/5301856&gt;.

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Rump or Ass?

**As stated in an earlier post, we know that our society is extremely heteronormative…..so its especially important to keep this concept in mind while I discuss this post. There are many reasons why I chose this next ad.  Unlike the Baileys ad, this ad deliberately uses a woman’s body to make its marketing statement.  I also chose this ad because this decision to use a woman’s body also blatantly shows us our societal views of women.  **

So here we go:

Based off of our society, we know that people generally tend to have a mentality that women eat salads and men eat steak and potatoes.  Due to the fact that all men LOVE steak and women….what a better way to market towards men by using steak and women, right? This is exactly what this ad does.

This ad uses a naked woman’s body in order to depict the certain types of meat cuts you can find on a cow.

By doing this, we assume that people are buying their product because they can then connect this diagram of a woman to a cow.  We can also assume now that people make their decision of what meat cut they want based off of the cow diagram that they now have in their head.  However, is this really the case?  Are we really choosing the rump because we envision the cow’s butt to be delicious, or are we really choosing the rump because the woman’s rump is sexy and therefore the rump cut is attractive to us?

Why else is this ad important to us?

It is important to note that ads like these clearly express our views on food, gender, and sexuality.  This type of ad shows us that one of the easiest ways to show how an ad is relatable to us (as consumers) is to use gender and sexuality because everyone knows what a man/woman is supposed to be and everyone loves sex.

But for me, this ad is important because it shows us how our society thinks of women.  Due to the fact that a woman is used to relate to meat cuts, what does that tell us?  It shows us that women are reduced strictly to their bodies and are nothing more than pieces of meat for our consumption.  It may not say it in words, but this is what the image implies.

 

 

Reference

Sharpe, Gwen. “Sexualizing and Gendering Food.” The Society Pages . W.W Norton & Company, Inc., 25 Mar 2008. Web.  Apr 2012. <http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2008/03/25/sexualizing-and-gendering-food/&gt;.

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