August 14th, 2010

Goth marquise

Mostly about advertising: a rant

Dear Advertisers and manufacturers of certain snack foods,
It's a dangerous world for women, weak and spineless as we are. Cupcakes and chocolate bars lurk in the shadows of every corner, waiting to ambush us. Sweets and biscuits stalk us, day and night, breaking into our homes with malice and violence on their minds. We are helpless before them, utterly controlled and governed as we are by our uncontrollable animal natures that force us to be enslaved to all that fat and sugar. It is indeed a very, very hard thing to be a woman, trapped in these bodies that lack any kind of self-control, decision-making powers or independence. How lucky we are that you are there to save us, with your lower calorie versions of these dangerous enemies. Every day, thousands of women are saved from the hell of eating what they want by sweetener-loaded, food-value empty diet cereal bars with their addiction-soothing tastes of Real Chocolate. Where would we be without you, nannies of the food world, given that we have all the impulse control of a three-year-old.

I'm pretty sure I remember the days when advertising to women was mostly about looking after men and children. I'm really, really, really fortunate that these days you know we're people too and that we *need* sugar and sweeties and shoes and gossip to function. I shudder to think of those poor women of former days, whose basic natures were so ignored. Yes, I am just a big child! Yes, I will die if I don't have sweet things! Yes, I need you to protect me from the spectre of not being thin enough through your treat substitutes, because I am totally incapable of saying no to cake or chocolate by myself. I'm just not strong enough, controlled enough, adult enough to look after myself.

Enough, already. Here's a newsflash. We don't need to be told 'naughty but nice', we don't need to be 'saved' from sweeties. We're grown-ups who can choose for ourselves, who can walk past cake shops and chocolate stalls without gibbering or whimpering or needing counselling. We're not naughty three-year-olds who can't say no and who need to be addressed in a special language of rewards for good girls.

Here's a thought experiment. Put a man in one of those adverts for lo-cal snack bars and see how likely it looks. Pretty damn stupid, yes? I am not taken in by your attempts to infantilize me. I can look cake in the eye and say no all by myself. And if I decide to say yes, the world does not end.

Oh, and those protective, non-fattening good girl foods? They don't even taste nice.

yours in high dudgeon,
The Marquise