Just Eat It, Eat It, Eat It, Eat It – No One Wants To Be Defeated

It’s about that time again in the beautiful state of Vermont where the sun has decided it’ll come out from behind the clouds and shock all of us residents who may have forgotten it actually does get warm here. As such, I have made my way down to the beach to celebrate several times in the past week alone. And, sadly, my first trip to the beach involved me cramming my pale body into last season’s too tiny bikini. One pretty painful sunburn later and a trip to Victoria’s Secret to get a suit that actually fits means I’m ready for round two. Bring it on beach.

The title of this post is a slight manipulation of words in Michael Jackson’s song “Beat It.” It describes the struggle I feel to eat healthy (especially during the summer) to shed a few of those winter pounds, despite the fact that I see advertisements constantly for food that won’t be friends with my hips and thighs. And this got me thinking: who’s responsible for what I’m eating? Obviously myself, for caving occasionally and shoveling a Big Mac into my mouth as fast as my jaw will let me. But what about McDonald’s for putting those highly processed two beef patties, special sauce lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun images in my face all the time?

This is about responsibility people. But it’s a difficult issue because everyone wants to point fingers in different directions. I think it’s fair to say that people have two hands, so one of those fingers should be pointed right at themselves. But what about the other hand? I think that a finger should also be pointed at the media. Research has been conducted on this topic, and results have found that food advertising primes consumers to eat more (Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior.) The study had participants watch programming that showed food advertisements and also had a control group of participants that watched programming without the presence of food ads. Those that were shown programming with food advertisements ate more of the snacks that were on the table in the viewing room.

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Another article from CBS News, “Are Media to Blame for Obesity Epidemic,” suggests that the media depict obese persons in a negative light- such as engaging in behaviors such as eating unhealthy foods and sitting on the couch. These images have led to feelings of low self esteem, binge eating episodes, and some even noted experiencing weight-based discrimination. To combat these stereotypes, the media have started to incorporate images of overweight people exercising and engaging in healthy behaviors like cooking healthy meals.

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It’s interesting to see how differently people feel on the topic of whether or not media are to blame for obesity. Some commenters thought it was ludicrous, while others did believe media played a role in consumption and behaviors.

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And I’m well aware that my own opinion is not right or wrong, and may be lost in the sea of others, but at least I’m putting it out there. What do you guys think? Can someone other than the consumer be blamed for what they eat? Is the media at fault? Which media are putting positive food information out there and which media are fueling the cycle of readily available, highly processed food; and poor eating habits?

WP 5/7

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You Are So Beautiful, To Me (And To You, Too)

I saw a piece of media the other day that really resonated with me. This can be hard to do, considering how often we are all, as consumers, bombarded with messages. This particular ad hit home on such a deeper level, because the message was for something that I believe as a woman is a problem for us all at times: our self esteem.

It seems that in almost every other piece of media, be it TV commercials, magazine advertisements, models being seen as the ‘ideal body type,’ photoshopped celebrities, and even cartoons (Jessica Rabbit, Sailor Moon, the Disney Princesses, etc) shows women that they need to be thin, flawless, and always put together. But let’s face it ladies: we’re not. Especially today. Maybe in the days when women didn’t work full-time jobs and then come home to their second shift of raising their families they had time to always eat right, exercise, make themselves up, and dress to the nines. But these days? We’re going to college, starting careers, and finding things that mean more to us than some of these dated female body ‘ideals’.

Dove created an advertising campaign “Dove Real Beauty Sketches,” whereby a forensic artists draws these women from behind a curtain as they describe themselves to him. Before this session, the women are asked to become friendly with another woman. Afterwards, the second woman must describe what the other woman looked like while he draws her. The forensic artists compares the sketches he drew based on the descriptions the woman being drawn gave, compared with the sketch that somebody else described of them. The results are startling. We as women, are WAY too hard on ourselves. Even when we have an amazing feature, such as dazzling eyes or an enticing smile, we overlook them because we’re often consumed with analyzing our flaws.

Dove does an incredible job of opening up people’s eyes to seeing our own natural beauty. These women that had this experience first-hand are so moved by the results that some of them are speechless, brought to tears, or forced to change their outlook on their own image.

The quote that most resonated with me was this one:
“We spend a lot of time as women analyzing and trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right, and we should spend more time appreciating the things that we do like.”

I myself am guilty of hating certain aspects of myself (my chin, my thighs, my stomach, my ________ ; depending on the day). But the sad thing is I have so many reasons to be happy in my own skin. This advertisement brought so many thoughts I have on my insecurities to the forefront and made me realize I need to let go and realize that it’s okay to accept your flaws and start focusing on the things about yourself and the rest of your life that make you happy.

And if me posting this on my blog makes any of you realize some of the things I have I consider it a victory, because we need to as women stop hating ourselves, and hating our bodies- because we’re beautiful! And as this ad shows, other people see it easier than we do ourselves, so we need to work on noticing our own beauty and being proud of it.

NP 4/30

Mission (Im)Possible: Make Healthy Food Marketable

Obesity is  the elephant in the room in a lot of cases. Often times weight is a very sensitive subject, but with the rates on the rise, it is an issue that not only needs to start being talked about more, but there must be steps taken in order to lower obesity rates and prevent future obesity in our children.

The food industry has been blamed for these high obesity rates, according to an article The Food Industry Role in Obesity Prevention. The reason is often due to the fact that easy access, low cost, low quality food has become far too prevalent. There is often a Dunkin’ Donuts, a Subway, a McDonald’s, and a Burger King around every corner. Possible solutions involve food companies turning to single-serving packaging, despite higher costs associated with this. This doesn’t necessarily seem like the answer to me, as this excess of packaging will further degrade the environment at a faster rate, not to mention the decrease in obesity should come from individuals better developing their eating habits and exercising some self-control.

Another idea the author of the above article proposed was changing the way food companies market food in order to increase people’s desire to eat healthier foods. Marketing is always a good way to affect consumer’s behaviors, and often times it is done in order to get populations to eat cheap, unhealthy food. Why not make the switch to healthier food options?

Principles that drive food consumption are the “Law of Least Effort” which maintains that convenience and cost are major factors that lead to consumption. The second principle is the “Taste-Nutrition Tradeoff,” which suggests that taste and nutritional knowledge drive consumption habits. In essence, this means that food companies need to make healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables affordable as well as easy to obtain. There should be salad bars around every corner instead of burger joints.

So why is this epidemic such a problem for men and women in the first place? And how should we market healthy foods to each? Men carrying excess weight are at greater risk, because they often carry more of this weight around their mid-section, in the form of visceral fat, while women often carry the bulk of their excess weight around their hips and thighs, giving their bodies more of a pear shape. Men who have more of this visceral fat are at much greater risk for developing colorectal cancer, stroke, and osteoarthritis, while women are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, and gall-bladder disease. Also, post-menopausal women have a greater visceral fat rate, thus threatening older women’s health (Gender Differences in Health Risks for Obesity).

So, food marketers: STEP YOUR GAME UP! We need lots of advertisements and public health campaigns dedicated to making healthy foods look fun, delicious, available, and affordable. A way we can get more men to eat healthier foods is through seductive marketing. This tactic has already proved successful in the case of Carl’s Jr., and can also work for healthy foods through advertisements such as this one:

As I’ve stated in plenty of my other previous blog posts, women are already known to consume healthier foods than men, including more fruits, vegetables, and yogurt in their diets as well as less red-meat and runny eggs (“Men Eat Meat, Girts Eat Greens“). Perhaps food marketers could attract mothers with healthy food on the go, such as Wendy’s trying to offer healthier options such as their new grilled chicken flatbreads:

Although this fast-food option is persecuted, men and women are most likely going to continue to enjoy it for it’s convenience factor. What food companies must do, then, is offer far healthier food options that don’t involve red meat, fried meat, and white breads. This flatbread offers wheat, grilled chicken, and vegetables, a far better option than a bacon cheeseburger or chicken nuggets. McDonald’s has responded in a similar fashion by offering full-size grilled chicken snack wraps, a SLIGHT step in the right direction.

An even better marketing attempt for women would be to show the importance of eating a well-balanced meal with your family. This kind of activity helps to get society to take more time out to value their food and the importance meal-time can be. The Disney Channel is taking a step in this direction with advertisements such as this one:

The more that we realize the issue of obesity is a problem, the sooner the world can start taking steps to amend it. This can be done by creating marketing materials that showcase healthy eating in a positive light, instead of constantly bombarding us with fast food images that serve to immediately gratify consumers and then later lead to a slew of health issues.

So what do you think? What’s the best way to market to Americans in order to get them to change their lifestyles? Scare tactics such as no-smoking commercials showing extremely obese individuals struggling to live a normal life? Or positive advertisements showing how fun an easy it can be to eat healthier?

NP 4/23

The “Dominos” Effect: Using Interactive Marketing to Persuade Millennials

Millennials. Generation Y. The “Net Generation”. The Boomerang Generation.

Who are they? They’re me. And you, too if you were born after 1980. The first wave of millenials are between 18-29 years old, according to an article The Millennials: Who They Are, And Why They Are A Force To Be Reckoned With.

Millennials are the generation that succeeds Generation X. They are typically White, tech-savvy, single, highly educated, liberal, and highly involved with cell phones and social media. And guess what? We’re powerful. And our  power is only going to increase as we get older and start generating more income.

The most important factor as millennials gain power is what we do with it. For example, too many issues to count plague this country: a lack of high quality food at affordable prices, obesity, environmental degradation, uneven distribution of wealth; the list goes on and on. If nothing else, we’ve got McDonald’s shaking in their boots, and Good Riddance. The reason? Because previously, McDonald’s was able to successfully advertise extremely unhealthy, highly processed foods to children. Recently, these practices have been frowned upon so they need to step up their game. Since millennials tend to be more concerned with healthy ingredients, knowing where their food comes from, and socially responsible business, McDonald’s needs to shape up to keep up with the competition.

mcdonaldsAnother characteristic that defines us millennials? One of these is always glued to our hands:

iphoneWe’re obsessed with instant gratification. And when it comes to fast food, we want to interact with it. This is evident by intense social media campaigns with KFC introducing their new “Boneless Chicken,” Subway offering healthy $5 Footlongs, and Chipotle; a company known for their social responsibility- creating an app where you can order your fresh burrito in advance.

However, as a college student, there is one company that sticks out like a sore thumb to me when it comes to attracting millennials. Not surprisingly, it’s the largest pizza delivery Mogul in the country- responsible for satisfying many midnight cheese cravings on a minimal budget: DOMINOS!

While at a friends the other night, we decided to all order a pizza after watching our favorite TV shows. Dominos ads flood television, with their new Artisan pizzas that are supposed to be made with better ingredients like Spinach and Feta. There are now Handmade Pan Pizzas that supposedly take longer to make but are more delicious as a result. AND, their Cheesy Bread didn’t seem to clog enough arteries before- so now it is made with “as much cheese as a medium pizza!” Thank goodness. Well, Dominos definitely did their job right, because us couch potatoes were convinced!

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We headed to their website, and to my own pride I can say it had been quite a long time since I ordered anything from Dominos. I was surprised at how interactive they have made ordering a pizza. You can literally create the pizza you want and see it build right before your eyes. First, you select your crust. Then the sauce. Then the cheese. As you add each ingredient, you see it being added onto the plain pizza on the screen. As you add toppings, you can choose to add them only to one half, which was convenient. For each ingredient you can choose the ‘light’ option, or the ‘extra’ option. This was great for me, because I love my pizza with light cheese and extra sauce. After your pizza masterpiece has been created and you submit your order, a hilarious interactive timeline comes up to let you know the status of your pie. You can choose a theme for the timeline, such as a tropical one with a parrot that speaks to you, a hair metal theme, baseball, or a Reggae themed pizza tracker.

We selected the parrot theme and couldn’t stop laughing as the parrot relayed to us that our pizza was being prepared, then placed into the oven, and at last- out for delivery.

Dominos did an amazing job of creating a site that was super interactive and fun, which really caters to the millennial generation. Even if the quality of the food is sub-par, they have done an amazing job of persuading young people that they’re a fun, interesting company looking to increase the level of enjoyment you get from your food. I commend them for changing their marketing and revamping their products in order to better resonate with the millennial generation.

WP 4/19

Creating Feelings for Food

As I’ve said in previous posts, marketing plays a MAJOR role in the way we see food, how we feel about it, and influences if we actually buy it. Marketing also occurs in a variety of ways, and the less people that recognize this type of communication as marketing, the more successful the campaign is. For example, using narratives to sell products and ideas is becoming increasingly more popular. This becomes a way to connect with consumers on a deeper level in order to influence their buying behaviors.

This “No Tale, No Sale” marketing approach was analyzed in an article “No Tale No Sale: A Novel Approach to Marketing Communication“using two different narratives: Bridget Jones’ Diary as well as Fight Club. Interestingly enough, each of these books targets an audience of a different gender. Bridget Jones is a female character that many other women can relate to- she goes through the same struggles of work, love, shopping for comfort, and battling with food and weight gain.

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Fight Club, on the other hand, is a novel that serves to attract a male audience despite the fact the majority of people who purchase fiction books are females. As such, the storyline serves to attract males by featuring a narrator stuck in a boring 9-5 life (something many men, young and old, man be akin to). Desperately seeking a thrill in life, Tyler Durdan enters to save him from his life of pity and despair. He becomes alive through starting a fight club, where men can join and pummel one another as sport. The book was a great success, which I can attest to as many of my guy friends love not only this book, but many others by Chuck Palahniuk.

Social media is another marketing tactic used to sell goods. Oreo has begun using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest in order to help boost sales. The way this is done is by showing how social an act enjoying an Oreo can be:

Oreo is also now being talked about in over a hundred countries, which is evident through use of another language posted at the end of this commercial.

Interestingly enough, what I find the most interesting about marketing food is the attitudes people develop toward it. For example, in Bridget Jones’ case, she feels upset and then turns to food, which may persuade some readers to do the same. In the case of Oreo, their marketers make enjoying an Oreo nostalgic, and fun. That ability to create emotions in us toward products is remarkable and most definitely influences us when making food purchases.

If other women are similar to myself, I also associate with battling with food. Although I enjoy eating healthy most of the time, there are certain things I just can’t give up: chocolate, bread and butter, pizza, pasta, ahhh the list goes on. But after I eat these things, the guilt creeps up and I think about lying on the beach in my bikini like a baby beached whale. Is this need to eat for comfort instilled in us because we see it done in the media? I can’t help but wonder. And why does this battle with food seem to be mainly a woman’s issue? Do men feel the same way or do they eat what they please without an ounce of remorse?

NP 4/16

 

Food Selection: Supermarket vs. Sofa

Sunday Fun-Day is a holiday of sorts for many, especially for  worshippers of the tube. Why do you ask? The best of television airs back to back on this lovely day. We’ve got The Walking Dead, Shameless, Californication, and House of Lies. These programs are a great way to end the week, but as our eyes are glued to our TV sets, we’re absorbing way more than just storylines.

I’m talking about ads, my friends. Those marketing moguls are out there, and they will find you. Their mission is to find stations and programs that air content that will draw viewers that are likely to become consumers of their products. And after a few hours as a couch potato I noticed something- a startling number of these ads involve food.

I’ve been looking into gender differences in food media and so I did a little at-home-research by keeping track of advertisements aired on TV stations with predominantly either male or female viewership. I compared ads aired on Lifetime to get an idea of how food is marketed to women with ads aired on Spike TV, a more male-dominant channel.

I was curious to know if seeing food advertisements actually made a difference on the foods males and females consume, respectively. This phenomenon is called priming. According to an article “Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior,” priming suggests a “subtle and potentially far-reaching effect of food advertising on eating behaviors.” This particular study focused on food ads targeting children. I was curious to try this kind of research out on adults, highlighting differences in male and female television.

What I found was interesting: on Lifetime, those ads dealing with food focused more on the nutritional aspects of food, with ads for Yoplait yogurt without high fructose corn syrup, Cuties clementines for kids, brown rice Triscuit crackers, and new 30% reduced fat Hershey’s chocolate.

While watching Spike TV, the food commercials were overwhelmingly featuring fast food chains such as KFC, Taco Bell, Sonic, and alcohols such as Miller Lite and Jager. The latter focused on how fun this food is, with Taco Bell ads featuring happy-hour deals with frozen drinks and the now well-known and loved Sonic guys bro-ing out in their car housing fast food. These ads focus on how consuming these products make a man out of you, even though consumption might lead to a Michelin Man-esque figure.

It’s interesting to see these advertising differences in parallel. It has been proven that women consume more yogurt, fruits, and vegetables than men (The Difference in Eating Habits Between Men and Women). Perhaps the advertisements each gender is exposed to prime their future food choices.

Here’s a little food for thought:
Do you believe advertisements play a role in future food selection and consumption? Or are we simply already programmed to like certain foods? Does food selection take place at the grocery store, or has the sofa already programmed us to make these choices ahead of time?

WP 4/8

For the Love of Chocolate

It’s already been established that the main goal of advertising is to sell products. When it comes to products that are low in nutrients, ad campaigns generally focus on the fun that is associated with that product. For example, Cheetos decided they wanted to break into the adult market, so they started the ad campaign “Take a Cheetos Break”.

Priming is an interesting concept when it comes to analyzing food advertisements. Priming is part of social cognitive theory that “suggest(s) a subtle and potentially far-reaching effect of food advertising on eating behaviors that may occur outside of participants’ intention or awareness (Bargh, Brownell & Harris).”

In other words, priming is a test for causal relationships- i.e: seeing certain food advertisements will lead to consumers purchasing more of that product.

Many women, myself included, fall victim to chocolate cravings. A personal favorite of mine is Dove chocolate. Indulging in those little squares of heaven seems to be a cure for many of my ailments, be it a long day, a broken heart, or just a plain old sweet tooth. After reading the article cited above, “Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Food Eating Behavior,” I couldn’t help but wonder if there was a link between chocolate ads and chocolate consumption in women.

Many men make cracks about women’s love of chocolate. And, subsequently, many chocolate commercials feature women reveling in chocolate ecstasy. I couldn’t help but wonder: do advertisers target females when trying to sell chocolate because they already buy it, or do women buy chocolate because they see these ads? This is somewhat of a ‘chicken and the egg’ conundrum.

I think priming may play a role in the link between female consumers and chocolate consumption. Chocolate ads often portray indulging in chocolate as an escape from the everyday mundane; and try to convince female consumers that although chocolate is unhealthy it’s OK to enjoy it, almost like as a woman we’ve earned the right.

Priming operates through the perceptions associated with a certain type of behavior, and those used to enact that type of behavior oneself. This is why I can’t help but wonder if women are bombarded with these types of chocolate advertisements, and are then simply mimicking the eating behaviors they see in the hopes of achieving an escape, or an inner bliss. (Funny, because Bliss is the name of a Hershey’s brand of chocolate, also featuring ads targeted at women)

hershey-blissSo what do you think? Do women consume more chocolate in response to advertisements they see, or are advertisers targeting women because they’re known to be greater chocolate consumers? Does priming play a role? And what about male chocolate consumption? I’m sure women can’t be the only ones with a sweet tooth, so why don’t advertisers try and break into the male market?

NP 4/2

‘Magically Delicious’ and not a bit Nutritious

It’s no recent surprise: children love sugary foods. How many of us as kids have eaten more of our dinner because our parents promised dessert after? Kids love to chow down on ice cream, candy, cakes, cookies, and pies. Unfortunately, food marketers are also bringing sugary treats to the breakfast table.
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This isn’t a brand new phenomenon, and it may partially explain the exploding childhood obesity epidemic. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and sending messages to children to consume one like Lucky Charms, packed with 15 grams of sugar per serving, just isn’t right.

Sugary cereals are certainly not going to help give kids the energy they need to do well in school and to participate in sports. In an article written by Deborah Thomson, Marshmallow Power and Frooty Treasures: Disciplining the Child Consumer through Online Cereal Advergaming, children choosing sugary cereals for breakfast may very well be strongly influenced by a new marketing technique: advergaming. In these types of games, children are shown over-consumption of these cereals and are given a sense of power.

What I wanted to know, however, was the difference in breakfast choices for male and female adolescents. Are boys more likely than girls to make unhealthy breakfast decisions, or is it the other way around? Or is gender a non-factor? This information may help with public health campaigns to help children make better breakfast choices.

An interesting publication “Gender Differences in the Eating Behavior of Italian Schoolchildren” helped answer some of my questions. In their study, boys were less likely than girls to consume fruit – a trend that continues on to adulthood. This food trend is also translated to French, Norwegian, and American schoolchildren. In order to research breakfast choices, participants in the study were asked if they ate breakfast. If so, they were asked which foods they ate.

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The results: 7.3% of males and 11.8% of females reported not eating breakfast. With regard to differences in gender and the selection of healthy foods for breakfast, girls were more likely to select crisps bread, yogurt, and fruit. Males were more likely than females to choose biscuits, cornflakes, chocolate spread, packaged snacks, bread, and small pizzas at breakfast.

The study suggests the reason behind these gender differences in breakfast foods may be due to the fact that females are more attentive and informed consumers.

Although gender differences exist for breakfast choices, poor food choices are still made by both male and female adolescents. How do we fix this problem? Is it the food marketers we should be mad at such as General Mills, Kellogg, Pillsbury, and Pop Tart? Or should the parents crack down and not allow their kids to beg for these breakfast foods?

We must stray from the current media exploiting how ‘tasty’ these sugary cereals are and remember that nutritious is more important than delicious. And why not have the best of both worlds with real fruit, yogurt, and granola for breakfast?!

NP 3/26

“Here Comes Honey Boo-Hoo :'(“

Obesity is a problem thats sweeping the nation. It’s not a problem just for guys or just for girls. It’s everyone’s problem. Why has this become such a huge issue? It may be due to the fact that many young people learn their poor eating habits from observing others who do not observe ideal dietary practices.

Arthur Bandura’s Social Learning Theory offers insight to support this idea. He argues that people can learn new information and behaviors by watching other people. This is referred to observational learning, or modeling.

“Here Comes Honey Boo0-Boo” is a show that I found while hanging out with my friends. It has provided us with endless enjoyment, depicting the life of a southern family who’s youngest daughter is involved in pageantry. The majority of the family is a good deal over-weight, and this video might offer up some conclusions as to why:

Entertainment media’s main purpose is, to no surprise, to entertain. However, with such great issues relating to food such as the obesity epidemic, which leads to severe health problems in many cases, when should the entertainment industry step in and start adding valuable and accurate information regarding healthy food choices? This type of programming is referred to as ‘edutainment’, and is valuable especially for the development of healthy food practices for young individuals.

Eating ‘sketti’, a strange rendition on traditional spaghetti, seems to be pretty unhealthy. Ketchup and butter are both significantly worse for you than regular tomato sauce. Ketchup is packed with sugar, and adding that much butter to it provides excess, unnecessary fat. Why is this a staple meal for this family? Because the mother claims “The kids like the ketchup and butter and I was raised on the ketchup and butter meat.” Her poor food choices have stemmed from growing up on meals like this, and she has taught her children to eat the same way.

Her children have seen their mother prepare these meals and eat them, so they are modeling these food behaviors. Their mother thinks this is an acceptable meal, and now so do the kids. Its a vicious cycle.

Instead of modeling their food behaviors off of their mother, the children should recognize there must be a problem considering their mother is significantly overweight. Edutainment programs such as “Nerdel Live” provide children with healthy messages about food choices so they make better decisions about what to consume, creating a more balanced diet.

Although it’s always fun to watch Honey Boo-Boo and her family roll around in the mud and eat appalling foods, it’s important that viewers realize these dietary practices are unhealthy. The last thing we need is for viewers to apply the Social Learning Theory and begin modeling these behaviors. Even though this family is depicted on TV, that doesn’t mean their behaviors should be emulated.

 

WP 3/22

Cooking Shows: Some for the Girls, Some for the Bros

Cooking shows aren’t just for the ladies anymore. In the past, cooking shows were thought of as traditionally showing a woman in her kitchen showing others how to cook. Today, cooking shows have been revamped to show high speed cooking shows in unrealistic conditions such as Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” “Top Chef,” and “Chopped.” When flipping through the channels, images like this are now a thing of the past:

julia-child

An article by Cheri Ketchum published in the Journal of Communication Inquiry entitled “The Essence of Cooking Shows: How the Food Network Constructs Consumer Fantasies,” highlights some gender differences present in cooking shows. When showcasing such women as Sara Moulton and Martha Stewart, she says “Within a tradition of women being socialized into being intimate care providers, this also affirms a larger gender-stereotyped fantasy of social relations.” She continues to note that “these lone women also advised their audiences how to make meals that were sure to please others, a common selfless act that women are encouraged to engage in.”

Cooking shows are more and more often created to cater to a male audience, such as Anthony Bourdain’s shows “No Reservations” as well as fast-paced shows featuring the now-famous Emeril yelling “BAM” each time he adds something flavorful to his dish.

emeril

Ketchum describes Emeril’s show style as “He was, essentially, the anti–Martha Stewart, challenging calm decorum, careful rules for cooking, and advice from nutritionists.”

Men enjoy these fast-paced shows better than a simple how-to-cook show layout. “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” with Guy Fieri is another example of a show on Food Network aiming to attract a more male audience.

Interestingly enough, sex appeal is being used more and more in cooking shows to attract both male AND female audiences. Why might this be? Perhaps the age old saying is appropriate: sex sells!

Something tells me the kitchen’s heating up, and it’s not because of the cooking creations, its because of the cooks themselves!

Common today are cooking shows featuring very attractive men and women. For example, Rachael Ray and Giada De Laurentiis to cater to male viewers wanting to see some pretty ladies in the kitchen.

EVERYDAY ITALIAN and BEHIND THE BASH Host:  Giada DeLaurentiis

The ladies need some eye candy on cooking shows too though, don’t forget. One blogger discusses the The 8 Sexiest Men on TV Cooking Shows, mentioning hotties such as Ludo Lefebvre, Jamie Oliver, Rocco DiSpirito, Michael Chiarello, and Govind Armstrong.

ludo-lefebvre

Um, yes please. Ladies are ya with me?! Does anyone have any other favorite cooking show hosts, whether for looks or kitchen skills? Why do you like them?

Cooking shows have shifted from a traditional idea of a woman preparing a meal to please others, and now feature many men eating prepared foods out, or preparing food themselves. This difference in gender portrayed on food shows many even be responsible for increased numbers of males cooking today. Perhaps the old gender stereotypes are being broken down when it comes to food, or perhaps they are only shifting to feature domestic female hosts and exciting males traveling the world in search of the best meals.

What do you think? Why is there such a gender difference when it comes to food and food media such as cooking shows? It’s often said ‘the best way to a man’s heart is through is stomach’, but the best way to a woman’s heart sure doesn’t lie in preparing that meal, at least for me anyway!

NP 3/19