I don’t give a shit about chocolate at all.

4 Apr

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.


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21 Responses to “I don’t give a shit about chocolate at all.”

  1. Feminist Avatar April 5, 2008 at 1:40 PM #

    I think this is more about sexuality than ‘be fuckable or die’ (although both interact in complex ways). The mouth has operated as a symbol of women’s sexuality for hundreds of years, symbollically representing the vagina. What enters a women’s mouth symbollically represents her desire for sex. In the past, women who talked too much were thought to be sexually impure, as the Scottish proverb goes, ‘a glibed tongued woman seldom chaste is found’. A woman’s silence represented her purity. Today, in a world obssessed by food, a woman’s appetite symbolises her sexual appetite. The slim woman is not just somebody who can control her desire for food, but who has control over her sexuality, presumably by having enough sex, but not too much sex. The over-weight or hungry women in compensating for her lack of sex by eating. Her physical appetite is compensating for her sexual appetite.

    This idea then complexly informs ideas about fat women all being desperate for sex, because nobody will fuck them, and allow people to say heinous things such as a fat chick couldn’t be raped because she obviously wanted it. The thin women becomes sexually desireable because her sexuality is controlled and non-threatening.

    And all of this combines to make a Betty Crocker Ad.

  2. Chiroptera April 5, 2008 at 3:02 PM #

    While generally I agree with what you say here, may I raise a couple of points?

    (1) There are some women (and men) who watch what they eat because they want to be healthy and feel good. Avoiding foods with processed sugar isn’t always about beauty and weight loss (though frequently it is). And some of us have blood sugar problems and really really shouldn’t eat that stuff.

    (2) You said, The kind of woman men want to fuck, as represented in mainstream media, is roughly a size two. I’m sure you didn’t mean to suggest that women are sizes, but just let me make it clear that people wear sizes rather than being sizes.

  3. Genevieve April 6, 2008 at 2:47 AM #

    While there are some people who sleep-eat and don’t remember doing so, I doubt it’s in such a sexualized fashion. Also, if I were to wake up and realize I had just consumed a bowl of chocolate stuff in my sleep, I’m sure my reaction would be along the lines of: “shit, I was sleepwalking/eating” rather than: “oh no the calories!”

  4. Rav April 23, 2008 at 6:29 AM #

    It reminds me of my boyfriends mother. She is so busy during the day that she never eats, and then she sleep walks to the fridge at 3 am and will eat a whole chocolate cream pie, a pack of frozen cookie dough and anything else sweet she can find. Then she silently walks back up to bed as if nothing happened. It’s not remotely sexual in any way. Sleep eating is dangerous and my husbands mother is well on her way to getting diabetes from the huge amount of sugar she consumes late at night. It’s not sexy, funny, and it’s sad that Betty Crocker tries to turn it into something of the sort.

  5. Amananta April 23, 2008 at 6:55 PM #

    Well I see the obsession with chocolate, which I must admit to having a bit of it myself (although I don’t get up and go foraging lustfully after it at 3 am!) , as being partly an outgrowth of the diet industry’s beating on women. It goes something like this: due to constant, brutal social pressure, almost all women in America periodically starve themselves, often for a prolonged amount of time, for most of their adult lives (and now sadly for most of their girlhoods as well.) The body doesn’t want to starve – the instinctual need to live and the recognition that FOOD IS LIFE eventually overwhelm the “self control” of deliberate self-starvation. When a person has been starved they seek out foods with high sugar and fat content. Chocolate fulfills both of these requirements, and has a flavor many people like very much. It is readily available for very little money to Americans. After the overwhelming urge to feed oneself overcomes the psychological pressure to starve, people can behave in a distressed and insane fashion. The psychological effects of starvation have been studied and are well documented, and obsession with food, including chocolate, is one manifestation of this.

  6. octopod April 24, 2008 at 9:22 PM #

    No kidding. And it isn’t even just the effects of starvation — even the effects of some food deprivation are comparable. Take, for instance, the behaviour of college students with free food. When you don’t have quite as much to eat as you’d like, you go into full-on “oh there’s a fruit! yoink, nom nom nom” mode.

    This is NOT unnatural. In fact, being blase about getting offered food is pretty unnatural, come to think of it — very much an artifact of the present-day superabundance of food. I’d say that mild food deprivation as a baseline state is very much what all animals are optimized to live in. Sugar and fat SHOULD be a huge draw, and chocolate (sugar, fat, and also theobromines and various lovely aromatics) should be even more so. Try giving a chip of chocolate to a rat — or anything else sweet and/or fatty (watermelon, peanut) for that matter. They go nutso for it. This is perfectly reasonable.

    The modern upper-class abundance of food, though, creates the luxury which allows these bizarre beauty standards of self-control to be shoehorned into the mainstream, via weird patriarchal virgin/whore bullshit. And here, once again, we have this ad. Because, guess what? people are still optimised for “wild” living conditions, despite the weirdness into which a few of us have catapulted ourselves since the rise of agriculture, which was only about 10ky ago.

  7. K B April 24, 2008 at 10:21 PM #

    I like food and I like chocolate… unfortunately, I often get people who are perfectly reasonably sized and shaped telling me “you need to eat more/gain weight” while saying that they’re jealous of my metabolism. Personally, I wish I could down a little more food at once, and more nutritious, not because I get too much “junk” food, but because I get too little “healthy” or more substantial food to gain weight… I just don’t get hungry enough to eat when I’m distracted… but when I can, I do make an effort to eat more.

  8. A brain washed teen April 27, 2008 at 4:39 PM #

    Actually, I sympathize with the women you’re dissin’ (yeah I said that word), not everyone tries to loose weight just to look like sexy vixen, there are health issues as well. So when you’ve been trying to eat healthy and avoided all those sugar filled goodies that the media keeps telling you will cause cancer, diabetes and contribute to global warming and you have that moment of weakness it makes you feel guilty, but the pleasure of the chemicals exploding in your mouth tends to override it.

    Although, that’s quite a small proportion of women. I know how it feels though and I allow myself a certain amount of sugary crap to make sure I don’t go on a sugar crazy binge and ruin all my good work.

  9. chlorophyll April 27, 2008 at 9:21 PM #

    Yeah I must have this social gastronomical conditioning really pounded into me because I still do a double-take when I see men enjoying things like ice cream and yogurt in broad daylight. Fags!

  10. Patricia June 26, 2008 at 10:36 AM #

    The thing about diets are that you’re not supposed to starve yourself. You’re supposed to eat healthier foods and not stuff yourself.

    So, women that say “OMG! I shouldn’t be eating such a big breakfast!” or “I feel great, I’ve only eaten carrot stick today.” are missing the point.

    Besides, people should be concerned with eating predominantly healthy (one chocolate will not kill you unless you have medical problems) and also EXERCISE.

    While I have heard the phrase “I really shouldn’t have had that Big Mac yesterday” more times than I can remember, I don’t often hear “I’ve only had 2 glasses of water today” or “I didn’t go jogging yesterday, so I’ve got to go today”, which tells me these women aren’t really committed to health.

  11. Screaming Lemur July 20, 2008 at 6:31 PM #

    I like chocolate… does this mean they take my Angry Feminist card away? LOL
    But yeah, frankly if chocolate is these women’s substitue for sex I’d rather just have the sex. And women who say “I haven’t had a thing to eat all day” as if it’s something to be proud of bug the hell out of me. Yes, let’s ignore your body and then eat cake at 3 am and then whine about how guilty you feel the next day. Sigh.

  12. Odium October 10, 2008 at 1:49 PM #

    I’m living proof that somebody with a Y chromosome can have a pofoundly sensual relationship with chocolate, moreso than with sex itself, which I do my best to avoid. If it’s like Mark Wahlberg to the woman in the ad, then to me it’s Scarlett Johannson or Clara Bow or Minerva or whoever the whippersnappers today have deemed the pinnacle of whatnot. Of course, there’s always the danger that I’ll look like I’ve actually swallowed one of the aforementioned and now consist of two people…it’s an acceptable risk.

  13. isme October 11, 2008 at 1:39 AM #

    Then it is a good thing that “the most beautiful women” tend to be so thin…you could eat quite a few without putting on much weight.

  14. Valerie July 29, 2009 at 11:04 PM #

    Have you read “Good Girls Don’t Eat Dessert”?

    It’s study on the obsession of women and the thon culture. How women replace the impulse to be pure with the impulse to be thin, and the pressures placed on them by society.

    Instead of a threesome being sinful, a bowl of chocolate icecream, with the works, is now a thing to be shameful of.

    I don’t agree with all of the book, and I do consider myself a “sex-positive” feminist, but the ad is annoying.

    And I do love me some chocolate. The darker the better.

  15. ActuallyIHateChocolate September 27, 2009 at 7:53 PM #

    I made a blog, not necessarily about how much I hate chocolate but about the shit I’m expected to buy into because I’m female, so as an avid reader I was stoked to see this post.

  16. Imaginary December 12, 2009 at 8:41 AM #

    Who here licks their plates after they’ve done eating? *raises hands and waves*. If you’ve raised your hand(s), I am actually interested to know if you’ve ever orgasmed because of it. Because if so, I’m doing it wrong.

  17. Immir April 5, 2010 at 6:38 AM #

    I’m a total plate licker. And when I try and suck the last bit of a jelly shot out of a little plastic cup, I bet it looks a bit sexual :P

    I agree with this 100%:
    ‘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.’

  18. joy July 10, 2010 at 10:14 PM #

    “eat the goddamned cake and tell the world you aren’t signing up for the starvation plan”

    is a quote for the ages. This you should know.

    Also all of Feminist Avatar’s comment.

  19. Gowan October 22, 2014 at 8:47 AM #

    I don’t know … isn’t the notion that chocolate is better for women than sex a radical feminist one? I mean, chocolate is tasty (usually). No one assaults women by forcing them to eat chocolate. Also, one piece of chocolate has no negative impact on your health, while one time PiV sex can ruin your health.

    In patriarchy, is it not more sensible for women to want chocolate than to want sex with men? The risk of being killed by chocolate is more manageable, I think.

    Of course I 100% agree that the guilt many women have about eating chocolate (or anything else) is a problem. It’s normal to feel bad about eating unhealthy stuff, but for many women, it doesn’t seem to be about that, it’s more religious. “Sin” is a word that doesn’t make much sense when talking about chocolate, except when you’ve eaten unfair-trade chocolate.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Thirteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists « Shut Up, Sit Down - April 20, 2008

    […] Nine Deuce presents I don’t give a shit about chocolate at all. posted at Rage Against the Man-chine. I loved this post as soon as I read it, and I was really […]

  2. Thirteenth Carnival of Radical Feminists « Carnival of Radical Feminists - August 24, 2008

    […] Nine Deuce presents I don’t give a shit about chocolate at all. posted at Rage Against the Man-chine. I loved this post as soon as I read it, and I was really […]

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