I’ve got an example of the switcheroo that I’m not quite sure what to make of, although I think I smell some misogyny in it somewhere. I’m sure I’ll find it by the time I get to the end of this blog, which I’m starting with no particular plan in mind.
Have you ever found yourself standing in your kitchen at 3 AM licking a plastic bowl in an obscenely sexual manner? Me either. Even if the bowl did, at one time, contain some kind of chocolatey substance. I think the reason I’ve never done that is that a) I don’t starve myself, and therefore b) I’m not obsessed with food of any kind. Apparently that isn’t the case with most women, or at least that’s what Betty Crocker would have me believe with her commercial for her Warm Delights (TM – ding!) line of microwaveable chocolate cakes meant to be eaten before they cool down sufficiently. Watch this if you need to stretch whatever muscles keep your eyes in place with a good rolling.
The women in this commercial are nothing short of fiendishly lustful when it comes to their bowls of molten cake. Honestly, I’m glad the commercial ends when it does, lest I be forced to watch one of these women rub the bowl on her crotch while grunting. Imagine that the women in this commercial were to be replaced by men. No fucking way, right? It’d be the funniest thing on TV. So what’s the deal with this shit? Why isn’t it strange for a commercial to feature a woman fondling an empty dessert bowl like it’s Mark Wahlberg?
I used to work in an office. Pretty much every office in the known universe has at least one person, usually a receptionist, who keeps a bowl of Hershey’s Kisses on her (I don’t want to generalize or anything, but it’s a her) desk. That bowl without fail attracts swarms of women who, wishing to get away from their desks and bullshit with coworkers but not wishing to take up covert pot smoking, will descend on the bowl of chocolates and guiltily wolf them down. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard some woman moan and groan over a piece of cake or candy, lamenting the “sin” she’s committing by eating it in the first place: “Oh, I’m so bad! I really shouldn’t have done that. I’m going to hate myself tomorrow, but I can’t resist!” The fact that women are experiencing feelings of guilt, shame, and remorse as a result of eating something is absurd and points to a few troubling (and, I’ll admit, obvious) problems with women’s relationship with food and their bodies, and possibly even their conception of morality.
Fascistic beauty ideals lead to some serious problems. I’m beginning to feel like a propagandist, what with how many different ways I’ve had to word this same concept, but here goes: when a culture tells women that their worth lies in whether men want to fuck them, they’ll do whatever they think they need to do to increase the number of men having inappropriate and objectifying thoughts about them. Considering the fact that sexual manipulation is one of the only sources of power women possess, their tendency to go along with the fuckabilty mandate isn’t all that shocking. The kind of woman men want to fuck, as represented in mainstream media, is roughly a size two, so the message is fairly clear: if you want any of the limited kinds of power and esteem that women can gain in this society, don’t eat anything, especially anything that tastes good. Hence the obsession with the opportunity to eat fattening foods and the fact that these cake-eating women look close to orgasm in this commercial.
It’s perfectly acceptable for these women to behave lustfully with regard to food, which is odd considering the fact that they aren’t permitted to do so when it comes to actual sex. Really, what commercial have you seen in which women are expressing sexual desire for something besides a bowl of sugar? I suppose it really isn’t much of a shock; women aren’t allowed to express sexual desire without being labeled sluts, so it has to go somewhere. Best direct it toward something that doesn’t threaten men’s control over the realm of sexuality. Something like cake.
I suppose I’ve figured out where the misogyny lies in the Betty Crocker Warm Delights switcheroo, and it’s even worse than I suspected. Many women are so indoctrinated with the “be fuckable or die” (that shit’s copyrighted, dude) ultimatum that they’ve lost the plot. There is nothing immoral about eating something that tastes good, even if it does become apparent that you’ve done so after the fact. There is nothing ethically unsound about nachos (they make vegan ones, you know). What’s ethically objectionable is harming your health and removing all the joy from your life in order to increase the number of Coors Light drinkers who want to pork you. Feel guilty about eating meat, or buying gas, or listening to house music, or liking Family Guy, but eat the goddamned cake and tell the world you aren’t signing up for the starvation plan.