Egg Hunt

 

Picture an egg. Smooth, unblemished shell protecting a wobbly albumen and bright, sunny yolk. Maybe the shell is brown, perhaps a glossy eggshell white. An array of a dozen lined up neatly in a carton waiting in the chilled cases of your supermarket. How do you find the best eggs? They’re all graded A or AA, surely they’ve passed with flying colors. Does the price difference between the “vegetarian fed” “cage free” egg and the just plain egg reflect quality? Do those statements tell anything about the life of the real animal making this perfect egg?

Eggs are a difficult thing to shop for.  Beyond a golden yolk from a “natural diet”, the consumer doesn’t expect to notice a difference (Lutz 2012). It is a trust exercise to drop more money on eggs with appealing labeling- we trust in our understanding of the label’s meaning and, more nebulously, in the long-term benefits these better eggs guarantee us. If you seek out eggs you believe to be humanely produced, and eat those eggs, writes Lutz, there is no cost to you for being wrong.  There’s an abstract moral cost, but you aren’t going to receive a letter from the USDA at year’s end reviewing your egg consumption.

Consumers survey well in response to humane, responsibly raised products.  Who’s really going to say “No” when directly asked if hens should get sunlight and space to roam around, even if they genuinely don’t care.  It’s a different story when you’re alone, staring at the prices on the shelf.    Estimates for giving hens a little room to stretch out their wings in cramped battery cages predict a $2 carton of eggs would raise to $2.22, by nearly a quarter, at lowest estimate.  To shift to a cage free system would bring that price up to $2.81. Studies like Tonsor and Wolf (2010) have confirmed willingness to vote for tighter regulations on egg production systems is significantly lower when voters know it can effect their grocery costs. Even when regulation passes, the ability of producers to pass on the costs of higher welfare standards isn’t guaranteed. Instead of accepting an increase in your spending on eggs, you could opt to purchase other items. Each protein industry, pork, beef, chicken, eggs scramble to make sure that regulation effects the others as well, keeping food prices, if not stable, at least stable in relationship to each-other.

The push and pull of labeling starts because each new word on a label not only informs about that item, it casts the other goods as lacking. (Blandford) “Cage free” eggs make you consider that the other eggs are produced in cages. Their perceived value goes down. Labels might even describe common practices, like hopefully all new cars are “Free of Bees”, but as soon as Ford starts mentioning that in their ad copy, every other car is a potentially buzzing hazard. This ridiculous escalation, as well as use of terms with similar meanings but no certification behind them like “natural”  can make it useful to have a third party, such as the government, define terms used(Lusk 2012). It’s still a sea of terms.  Is “cage free” different from “free range”? What’s free roaming, that sounds like something to sell phone plans?

Who can blame you for the confusion? Even egg grades, a USDA mandate on all cartons, are taken on an assumed definition.  I had believed egg grades referred to something about egg size, despite the presence of additional labels such as JUMBO or EXTRA-LARGE, but what is graded is the gooiness of the egg-white.  Labels like “minimally processed” mean one thing to the regulating body and another to a consumer. Even when labels have a mutually understood meaning, like “Grass Fed” they rapidly take on a larger meaning. While working at a butcher shop, I was asked many times if our pork was grass-fed. A grass fed pig would be a miserable, scrawny thing, as pigs don’t have the special stomachs to digest grass.  I mention this not to discuss the lack of zoological knowledge but because “grass fed” and other labels like it because a buzzword quickly, seen as encompassing much more than just the diet of the animal. A grocery trip would be a several hour excursion if you pulled out your phone to look up every labelling term, assuming you could easily find the definition that was being used for that particular item.

Locally produced food has less “food miles” to your table.  Local produce is often popularly defined as originating within 200 miles of its retail location. Locally produced, according to the USDA is any egg laid within 400 miles of the production facility, or within the state. (The state of California has a vertical length of over 700 miles). Eggs local to Richmond could come from outside Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburg, Columbus, Charleston, Charlotte, or from a farm actually in Virginia.  State regulations can add specificity, but this is a far cry from a backyard chicken coop, or even picking up eggs from a farm-stand, just in terms of the miles your egg has traveled.  Your eggs have probably seen more of this country than you.

Labeling barely scratches the surface of actual moral and health issues with eggs. Omega-3 rich diets and cage free habitats don’t tell us anything about other common practices, like beak trimming and culling infant male hatchlings in egg production facilities. Egg labeling is confusing and only gives us a few issues to focus on, possibly even things producers were doing anyway like with the “Bee Free” Ford I jokingly proposed.

Works Cited

Coleman, J. (1999). Industry & trade summary eggs No. 3268). Washington DC: OFFICE OF INDUSTRIES U.S. International Trade Commission.

Lusk, J. (2012). Consumer information and labeling. In W. Armbruster, & R. Knutson (Eds.), US programs affecting food and agricultural marketing (1st ed., pp. 349-373). New York: Springer.

Rahn, A.P. (2002). “An economic perspective on the United Egg Producers’ Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg Laying Flocks”. Revised version (November 26) of a paper prepared for a meeting of the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, St. Paul, MN. March 21.

Sumner, D., W.A. Matthews, J.A. Mench, and J.T. Rosen-Molina (2010). “The economics of regulations on hen housing in California”. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 42(3): 429-438.

Tonsor, G.T. and C.A. Wolf (2010). “Drivers of resident support for animal care oriented ballot initiatives”. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics 42: 419-428.

Blandford, H (2012) Humane Treatment of Farm Animals.In W. Armbruster, & R. Knutson (Eds.), US programs affecting food and agricultural marketing (1st ed., pp. 471-504). New York: Springer.

 

Finding Corn in Commercial Bread

Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat

INGREDIENTS: STONE GROUND WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR, WATER, YEAST, BROWN SUGAR, WHEAT GLUTEN, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING: SALT, MONOGLYCERIDES, ENZYMES, ASCORBIC ACID, SOYBEAN OIL, VINEGAR, CULTURED WHEAT FLOUR, MONOCALCIUM PHOSPHATE, SOY LECITHIN

DISTRIBUTED BY FLOWERS BAKERIES, LLC
THOMASVILLE, GA 31757

 

Materials Safety Data Sheet for a baking enzyme

Industrial baking enzymes- Danisco (a Dupont subsidiary) produces Powerbake which is a blend of dactyl tartaric acid ester of mono-diglyceride which are made from edible refined vegetable fat, with calcium sulfate as an anti-caking additive, and the enzymes itself made from bacterial and fungal lab cultures. (recombinant DNA)
Cultured wheat flour has the bacterium Propionibacterium freudenreichii inoculated into the flour which ferments the wheat.  The bacteria is fed on a yeast extract which is not fed on corn, but is a byproduct of brewer’s yeast fermenting beer or industrial breads.
The monoglycerides are a vegetable fat derivative which could be a corn product.
Mono calcium phosphate is produced from Calcium Hydroxide and phosphoric acid. Calcium hydroxide is obtained as a series of byproducts from ammonia-soda processing or a mineral deposit. The acid is produced either from burning elemental Phosphorus or from a series of other mineral and combustion reactions.

Lethicin may also be produced from corn sources but soy lecithin is solely from soy sources.

It appears other than the monoglycerides involved in producing the cultured wheat flour, the majority of corn consumption for production of this loaf of bread comes from fuel for chemical reactions, transport, and any corn consumed by production and transport workers.

What are you hungry for? Female appetite in the 2017 SNL Totino’s sketch

Sketch:

Professor Boaz

UNIV 211

April 15, 2017

What are you hungry for? Female appetite in the 2017 SNL Totino’s sketch

Anxious about entertaining a group of friends for the big game? So is the main character in the 2017 Saturday Night Live skit of a fictional Totino’s ad spot.  The commercial opens with a woman, played by SNL regular Vanessa Bayer, entering the living room.  She attempts to check in on a group of men yelling at the television, and is dismissed as knowing nothing about sports. Directly addressing the camera, she agrees, saying “When it comes to the big game there’s only one thing I know about. Feeding my hungry guys.”  We are then introduced to the featured product, a heated tray of Totino’s Pizza Rolls.  As the commercial continues, the husband persistently demands the pizza rolls, despite a living room table loaded with untouched veggies, chips, and dip. More guests arrive, increasing the demand on the hostess for sustenance, and she is relieved at the information that another female guest is here, “more hands” to help her prepare the food. She pauses in her delivery of this thought, and the lighting of the scene becomes romantic and diffuse.

Sabine, played by Kristen Stewart in a leather jacket, enters and introduces herself to a flustered main woman, who upon being asked her name replies “I’ve never had one” to the uproarious laugh track. The woman and Sabine tenderly arrange food, but when she goes to bring the food to the “hungry guys” Sabine asks her what she is hungry for. She doesn’t articulate her desire with words, but aggressively places a hand on her own breast, again to the delight of the laugh track.  Sabine and the woman are seen in vignettes smoking a cigarette, spraying each other open-mouthed with water from the faucet, and tenderly undressing and trailing their hands and fresh pizza rolls over each other’s skin.  The women tenderly address each other in French. As these romantic scenes continue, and the women share a kiss, the scene cuts back to the living room , reminding the viewer that the kitchen is not a separate room.  This has been occurring within feet of the oblivious guys.  The camera’s back and forth culminates in the husband, still looking at the TV, jokingly asking “Are you two making out back there?” when following up on the status of the food.  The men and the studio audience lose it at this, even as the romantic moment between Sabine, and the still unnamed woman, continues.

In its self-aware parody of Super Bowl commercials, the 2017 SNL Totino’s sketch makes a powerful display of female desire, not common in commercials, but also reinforces cultural norms about the gendered kitchen, and lesbianism with separation created between the kitchen and the men. Ultimately, though allowed to enact her desires, the female lead remains nameless and within the original location of her relegation to a serving role.

USC Sociology researchers Messner and Montezdeoca’s essay “The Male Consumer as Loser”, discusses that advertising “theorizes the social location of target populations”, when formatting their message (1880). The assumption can be demographics, or more specifically, attitudes of shared progressiveness (1880). The satirical nature of the SNL sketch mirror cultural norms in a knowing wink to the presumed audience.  Messner and Montezdeoca see two facets to this widespread “post-feminist joke”, that it reflects real insecurities and provides plausible deniability for continued misogyny (1905).  The assumed progressive audience, get told yes the advertiser is in on the joke so it is okay to laugh at the stereotype. The ad ends up reinforcing the message, providing plausible deniability on the part of the audience and advertiser.

Cornell Women’s Studies scholar Joan Brumberg’s piece Fasting Girls, explores that historically, appetite was a sign of overactive desire.  Displaying appetite showed a lack of self-restraint and was widely thought, even by medical professionals, to lead directly to physical and presumably behavioral ugliness.  The ideal Victorian housewife displayed no real appetite of her own, but cooked to sate the hunger of others.

Women in today’s media are still shown as existing to serve the appetites of others. Renee Randazzo, professor of counseling at U Mass surveyed women about experiences with media in her study Queer Women’s  ‘Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media’.  In their responses, they found that women “reported less sexual agency but more sexual experience when they had viewed more media featuring scripts that cast women as sexual objects” (100).  Seeing images of women in media resulted in women not feeling like they had agency, which shows up in their increased passivity- participating in sexual activity but feeling no agency. Women see themselves in media, but don’t hear themselves having voices.  They exist for the desires of others.

The Totino’s skit loudly rejects this exclusion of women from having appetites and desires, with the character at one point being asked directly by Sabine “What are you hungry for?”  Vanessa Bayer’s character is preparing food for the vocally demanding “hungry guys” as is the assumed role of a woman when there is a group of guests over. When Sabine asks her what she wants to do, the woman becomes uncomfortable, deflecting with her obligation to get the food out to the guys. She is demonstrating anxiety at being asked to do something out of what is expected to her.  Women aren’t supposed to take up space or have desires of their own.  As Mentedoza and Messner discuss, many commercials ridicule the idea that a boyfriend should spend time on activities that please his girlfriend without a quid-pro-quo. To the woman, her desire isn’t simply hers, but something that results in a further back and forth of obligation and commitment.  Female desire is seen as a burden, in the bedroom and in day-to-day life.

Sabine is told “Every game before this one I’ve been asleep”, by the awestruck woman. This Cinderella-like awakening comes with Sabine’s willingness to ask the woman about her appetites and desires. This is exactly the script put forward by discussions of consent surrounding sexual activity, that allowing both parties to express desires without expectation of them being fulfilled can be empowering. It is not only the kissing that is mind-blowing, but the concept that Vanessa Bayer’s character not only can have a desire but can act on it without guilt or equivocating.

But who is able to see this expression of desire? The physical separation implied by the framing of the commercial, and the inability of the men to notice the actions of the women directly visible but located in the kitchen reinforce the idea of the kitchen as a separate, women’s space.  When women are seen as overstepping cultural bounds, being too assertive in their needs or statements, they are often told to “get back in the kitchen”. Cooking and cleaning are seen as women’s domains. Activity in there doesn’t trouble men unless it effects the arrival of their food, an idea directly shown by the sports fans calling into the kitchen for their food but otherwise ignoring the woman. The kitchen nook in their neutral-toned apartment, exists visually as her space, marked by two vases of flowers, a touch of femininity.

The blocking of this commercial, the creation of a space also echoes common ideas about lesbianism as something that happens in the absence of men, either due to circumstance or women’s only spaces. U of Utah psychology researcher Lisa Diamond found that “presenting same-sex sexuality as a matter of private lifestyle” was a mainstay of depictions of lesbianism  in popular culture.(105) A heterosexual couple holding hands walking down the street is unremarkable, but two women holding hands are subject to potential violence and censure such as being told not to exhibit this behavior where children might see.  There is no benign public action of same-gender affection between a queer couple. Media and societal messages create immense shame tied to actions and feelings of queerness (120). For lesbian, bisexual, and other queer women, this message amplifies the social messages invalidating their desires.  Not only are women’s desires made fun of, but these desires are considered doubly abnormal.

In mainstream media, and in this skit, there is very little implication that the lesbian interest of a girlfriend is a threat to her heterosexual relationship. Lesbianism in mass media often exists as a prelude to direct male involvement in a fantasy threesome, or as a visual for the male audience to enjoy. (Diamond 105) The lack of male access could be seen as a subversion of this male-oriented lesbianism rampant in advertisements. They are denied acesss visually by framing of the scene as well as their lack of awareness, through their own insistence on watching the game and being waited on, without rising from the sofa.  The inquiry “Are you two making out back there?” cannot touch Sabine and the woman, who continue expressing their desires as the commercial ends. It ends up being a joke on the men, that their fantasy is right there but they are blind to it, similar to popular media tropes of events at female sleepovers and in sorororities.

This SNL skit is a follow up to a previous Totino’s skit featuring Vanessa Bayer as the same character. In the 2016 skit, the men ritualistically chanting at the sports game were revealed as reacting to a blank screen, possessed, with black eyes, an X-Files parody trailer. Both skits satirize male fixation on sports while still depicting a situation in which the activity is gendered and the woman is assumed to fill the role of food provider.  Last skit, she was afraid of the men but this year she ignores them and pursues her own desires.  As discussed by Randazzo, it is possible for queer relationships to be “sexualized” in a positive way, when shown as healthy and desirable just like the desires of a straight couple (114).  The SNL skit doesn’t quite hit that mark.  Vanessa Bayer’s character can name her desire still hasn’t received a name- she has an appetite- but it exists only in the women’s sphere. Additionally, it never addresses the message given by both Bayer and the men, sports aren’t for women.  It still shows a gendered divide of interests and spaces.  Seemingly progressive ad spots are still trying to sell to the audience, flattering them about their liberal outlooks while continuing to rely partially tired stereotypes. Diamond cautions that feminists must not be lured into thinking that just because contemporary images of same-sex sexuality are ‘positive’, they are socially and psychologically benign (105). We need to be aware as consumers that inclusion and parody can conceal agendas or end up reinforcing the message to an audience that doesn’t consider it tongue in cheek.  In the SNL Totino’s skit, there is a powerful demonstration of the existence of female desire as something that should be acted upon, but it doesn’t push the desire out of the female space.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. Fasting girls: the emergence of anorexia nervosa as a modern disease, Cambridge, Mass. and London, Harvard University Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. 366, illus.,

Diamond, Lisa M. “‘I’m Straight, but I Kissed a Girl’: The Trouble with American Media Representations of Female-Female Sexuality.” Feminism & Psychology 15, no. 1 (2005): 104-10.

Messner, Michaela., and Jeffrey Montezdeoca. “The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30, no. 3 (2005): 1879-909.

Randazzo, Renee, Kaelin Farmer, and Sharon Lamb. “Queer Women’s Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media.” Journal of Bisexuality 15, no. 1 (2015): 99-129.

Totinos- SNL. Dir. Saturday Night Live. Perf. Bayer, Vanessa, Kristen Stewart, Larry David, et al. NBC, 2017.

Draft 3 What are you hungry for? Female appetite in the 2017 SNL Totino’s sketch

What are you hungry for? Female appetite in the 2017 SNL Totino’s sketch

Anxious about entertaining a group of friends for the big game? So is the main character in the 2017 Saturday Night Live skit of a fictional Totino’s  ad spot.  The commercial opens with the unnamed woman, played by SNL regular Vanessa Bayer, wearing a boldly pink sweater, entering the living room.  She attempts to check in on a group of men who are all yelling at the television, and is quickly dismissed as knowing nothing about sports. Directly addressing the camera, she agrees to her lack of knowledge, saying “When it comes to the big game there’s only one thing I know about. Feeding my hungry guys.”  The camera has shifted to follow her, and in the kitchen we are unable to see the “hungry guys” or the sports programming. The kitchen, in their neutral-toned apartment, exists as her space, marked by two vases of flowers, a touch of femininity.  We are then introduced to the featured product, a heated tray of Totino’s Pizza Rolls.  As the commercial continues, the husband persistently demands the pizza rolls, despite a living room table loaded with untouched veggies, chips, and dip. More guests arrive, increasing the demand on the hostess for sustenance, and she is relieved at the information that another female guest is here, “more hands” to help her prepare the food. She pauses in her delivery of this thought, and the lighting of the scene becomes romantic and diffused..

Sabine, played by Kristen Stewart in a leather jacket, introduces herself to a flustered main woman, who upon being asked her name replies “I’ve never had one” to the uproarious laugh track. The woman and Sabine tenderly arrange food, but when she goes to bring the food to the “hungry guys” Sabine asks her what she is hungry for. She doesn’t articulate her desire with words, but aggressively places a hand on her own breast, again to the delight of the laugh track.  Sabine and the woman are seen in vignettes smoking a cigarette, spraying each other open-mouthed with water from the faucet, and tenderly undressing and trailing their hands and fresh pizza rolls over each other’s skin.  Sabine is told “Every game before this one I’ve been asleep”, and the women tenderly address each other in French. As these romantic scenes continue, and the women share a kiss and embrace, the scene cuts back to the living room and we see that the kitchen is not actually separated from the living room.  All this has been occurring within feet of the guys, and they have been totally ignorant.  This back and forth culminates in the husband, still looking at the TV, jokingly asking “Are you two making out back there?” when following up on the status of the food.  The men and the studio audience lose it at this, even as the romantic moment between Sabine, and the still unnamed woman, continues.

In its self-aware parody of Super Bowl commercials, the 2017 SNL Totino’s sketch reinforces cultural norms about the gendered kitchen, and lesbianism. 1Equating of hunger with women’s desire

2 The physical separation between the kitchen and the  invisible wall

In Messner and Montezdeoca’s essay “The Male Consumer as Loser”, they discuss that advertising “theorizes the social location of target populations”, when formatting their message (1880). The assumption can be demographics, or more specifically, attitudes of shared progressiveness (1880). The satirical nature of the SNL sketch mirror cultural norms ina knowing wink to the presumed audience. The assumed progressive audience, get told yes the advertiser is in on the joke so it is okay to laugh at the stereotype. Life isn’t really

This SNL skit is a follow up to a previous Totino’s skit featuring NAME in which the men ritualistically chanting at the sports game were reacting to a blank screen in an X-Files parody. Both skits satirize male fixation on sports while still depicting a situation in which the activity is gendered and the woman is assumed to fill the role of food provider. #######  intellectualism stuck helping others

Messner and Montezdeoca see two facets to this post-feminist joke, that it reflects real male insecurities and provides plausible deniability for real misogyny (1905).

1 Hunger and Desire

Brumberg- Appetite as voice

What are you Hungry for

Historically, Appetite was regarded as a barometer of sexuality 148 jjb

150 jjb purity of diet tied to sexual purity/purity of thought, “Displays of appetite indicated… a lack of self restraint”

Expectation of women to have a small appetite/ be hospitable and serve the appetites of others

Randazzo, Farmer and Lamb, in their study Queer Women’s  ‘Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media’  of and found that women “reported less sexual agency but more sexual experience when they had viewed more media featuring scripts that cast women as sexual objects” (100).  Seeing images of women in media resulted in women not feeling like they had agency, which shows up in their increased passiity- participating in sexual activity but feeling no agency.

 

What is also big in this is the idea of appetite and hunger, with the character at one point being asked directly by Sabine, the other woman “What are you hungry for?”, being allowed to have desires.  In Joan Brumberg’s piece Fasting Girls, she explores that historically, appetite was a sign of overactive desire.  The ideal housewife had no real appetite of her own, but cooked to sate the hunger of others.  Displaying appetite showed a lack of self-restraint and would lead directly to physical and presumably behavioral ugliness

Cinderella/awakening

Trends in advertising(

Appetite played for humor, with pizza roll scenes

2 Women’s Spaces

Kitchen as Women’s space

3 The physical separation implied by the framing of the commercial, and the inability of the men to notice the actions of the women directly visible but located in the kitchen reinforce the idea of the kitchen as a separate, women’s space.  This also echoes common ideas about lesbianism as something that happens in the absence of men. Researched Lisa Diamond found that “presenting same-sex sexuality as a matter of private lifestyle” was a mainstay of lesbianism or “fad” lesbianism in popular culture.(105)

Diamond 104 “presenting same-sex sexuality as a matter of private lifestyle,”

Diamond (105) feminists must not be lured into thinking that just because contemporary images of same-sex sexuality are ‘positive’, they are socially and psychologically benign

shame tied to feelings of queerness 120 (hiding in the kitchen space() Lesbianism as humor

French- secrett language of women

 

Lesbianism and masculine identity

Peer pressure

Husband looking to friends for acknowledgement of his joke about the two women making out in the kitchen. There is a pause and then

One of the Randazzo study participants acknowledged that “Straight men are pressured to, you know, say they like that,” 107” incessant co-opting of lesbian sex for male arousal.”108

Diamond 105 such images implicitly convey that the most desirable and acceptable form of female–female sexuality is that which pleases and plays to the heterosexual male gaze,

men feel pressure to their masculinity as well, to act the dominant narrative of finding lesbianism appealing and humorous.  We see this in the husband immediately turning to his friends for acknowledgement after making the joke about Sabine and the woman making out, and their over the top masculine responses with mock physical aggression and loud agreement.

 

Conclusion

Randazzo 114 queer relationships can be “sexualized” in a positive way, it’s shown as healthy and desirable just like the desires of a straight couple

Still hasn’t received a na,me- she has an appetite-

Invisible wall

Still  has men enjoying sports women doing something else

no name

 

 

Works Cited

Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. Fasting girls: the emergence of anorexia nervosa as a modern disease, Cambridge, Mass. and London, Harvard University Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. 366, illus.,

Diamond, Lisa M. “‘I’m Straight, but I Kissed a Girl’: The Trouble with American Media Representations of Female-Female Sexuality.” Feminism & Psychology 15, no. 1 (2005): 104-10.

Messner, Michaela., and Jeffrey Montezdeoca. “The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30, no. 3 (2005): 1879-909.

Randazzo, Renee, Kaelin Farmer, and Sharon Lamb. “Queer Women’s Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media.” Journal of Bisexuality 15, no. 1 (2015): 99-129.

Draft 2

 

Anxious about entertaining a group of friends for the big game? So is the main character in the 2016 Saturday Night Live parody commercial for Totinos.  The commercial opens with the woman, wearing a boldly pink sweater, entering the living room.  She attempts to check in on a group of men who are all yelling at the television, and is quickly dismissed as knowing nothing about sports. Directly addressing the camera, she agrees to her lack of knowledge, saying “When it comes to the big game there’s only one thing I know about. Feeding my hungry guys.”  The camera has shifted to follow her, and in the kitchen we are unable to see the “hungry guys” or the sports programming. The kitchen, in their neutral-toned apartment, exists as her space, marked by two vases of flowers, a touch of femininity.  We are then introduced to the supposed subject of the advertisement, a tray of Totino’s Pizza Rolls being heated as an appetizer.  As the commercial continues, the husband persistently demands the pizza rolls, despite the living room table being loaded with veggies, chips, and dip which remain untouched. More guests arrive, increasing the demand on the hostess for sustenance, and she reacts with relief to the information that another female guest is here, more hands to help her prepare the food. She pauses in her delivery of this thought, and we see the lighting shift to a romantic, diffuse tone.

Sabine, played by Kristen Stewart in a leather jacket, introduces herself to a flustered main woman, who upon being asked her name replies “I’ve never had one” to the uproarious laugh track. The woman and Sabine tenderly arrange food, but when she goes to bring the food to the “hungry guys” Sabine asks her what she is hungry for. She doesn’t articulate her desire with words, but aggressively places a hand on her own breast, again to the delight of the laugh track.  Sabine and the woman are seen in vignettes smoking a cigarette, spraying each other open-mouthed with water from the faucet, and tenderly undressing and trailing their hands and fresh pizza rolls over each other’s skin.  Sabine is told “Every game before this one I’ve been asleep”, and the women tenderly address each other in French. As these romantic scenes continue, and the women share a kiss and embrace, the scene cuts back to the living room and we see that the kitchen is not actually separated from the living room.  All this has been occurring within feet of the guys, and they have been totally ignorant.  This back and forth culminates in the husband, still looking at the TV, jokingly asking “Are you two making out back there?” when following up on the status of the food.  The men and the studio audience lose it at this, even as the romantic moment between Sabine, and the still unnamed woman, continues.

In Messner and Montezdeoca’s essay “The Male Consumer as Loser”, they discuss that advertising “theorizes the social location of target populations”, which can be assumed desires or attitudes of shared progressiveness (1880). The satirical nature of the SNL sketch can lead to it mirroring cultural norms in a way that is a knowing wink to the presumed audience.  Messner and Montezdeoca see two facets to this post-feminist joke, that it reflects real male insecurities and provides plausible deniability for real misogyny (1905).  

1Equating of hunger with women’s desire

2 The physical separation between the kitchen and the

3

In its self-aware parody of Super Bowl commercials, the 2016 SNL Totino’s sketch reinforces cultural norms about the gendered kitchen, and lesbianism.

1 Hunger and Desire

Brumberg- Appetite as voice

What are you Hungry for

Historically, Appetite was regarded as a barometer of sexuality 148 jjb

150 jjb purity of diet tied to sexual purity/purity of thought, “Displays of appetite indicated… a lack of self restraint”

Expectation of women to have a small appetite/ be hospitable and serve the appetites of others

Randazzo, Farmer and Lamb, in their study Queer Women’s  ‘Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media’  of and found that women “reported less sexual agency but more sexual experience when they had viewed more media featuring scripts that cast women as sexual objects” (100). What they found was that today’s media continues to perpetuate the idea that women are acted on by appetites rather than valid in their own appetites.

 

What is also big in this is the idea of appetite and hunger, with the character at one point being asked directly by Sabine, the other woman “What are you hungry before?”, being allowed to have desires.  In Joan Brumberg’s piece Fasting Girls, she explores that historically, appetite was a sign of overactive desire.  The ideal housewife had no real appetite of her own, but cooked to sate the hunger of others.  Displaying appetite showed a lack of self-restraint and would lead directly to physical and presumably behavioral ugliness

Trends in advertising(

Appetite played for humor, with pizza roll scenes

NAME

2 Women’s Spaces

Kitchen as Women’s space

Bring food to men

3 The physical separation implied by the framing of the commercial, and the inability of the men to notice the actions of the women directly visible but located in the kitchen reinforce the idea of the kitchen as a separate, women’s space.  This also echoes common ideas about lesbianism as something that happens in the absence of men. Researched Lisa Diamond found that “presenting same-sex sexuality as a matter of private lifestyle” was a mainstay of lesbianism or “fad” lesbianism in popular culture.(105)

Diamond 104 “presenting same-sex sexuality as a matter of private lifestyle,”

Diamond (105) feminists must not be lured into thinking that just because contemporary images of same-sex sexuality are ‘positive’, they are socially and psychologically benign

shame tied to feelings of queerness 120 (hiding in the kitchen space() Lesbianism as humor

Lesbianism and masculine identity

Peer pressure

Husband looking to friends for acknowledgement of his joke about the two women making out in the kitchen. There is a pause and then

One of the Randazzo study participants acknowledged that “Straight men are pressured to, you know, say they like that,” 107” incessant co-opting of lesbian sex for male arousal.”108

Diamond 105 such images implicitly convey that the most desirable and acceptable form of female–female sexuality is that which pleases and plays to the heterosexual male gaze,

men feel pressure to their masculinity as well, to act the dominant narrative of finding lesbianism appealing and humorous.  We see this in the husband immediately turning to his friends for acknowledgement after making the joke about Sabine and the woman making out, and their over the top masculine responses with mock physical aggression and loud agreement.

3 Masculinity and Sports Advertising

Messner 1887 “However, when they do appear, it is primarily as emotional or sexual blackmailers who threaten to undermine individual men’s freedom to enjoy the erotic pleasure at the center of the male group.”

 

Conclusion

Randazzo 114 queer relationships can be “sexualized” in a positive way, it’s shown as healthy and desirable just like the desires of a straight couple

 

 

Works Cited

Brumberg, Joan Jacobs. Fasting girls: the emergence of anorexia nervosa as a modern disease, Cambridge, Mass. and London, Harvard University Press, 1988, 8vo, pp. 366, illus.,

Diamond, Lisa M. “‘I’m Straight, but I Kissed a Girl’: The Trouble with American Media Representations of Female-Female Sexuality.” Feminism & Psychology 15, no. 1 (2005): 104-10.

Messner, Michaela., and Jeffrey Montezdeoca. “The Male Consumer as Loser: Beer and Liquor Ads in Mega Sports Media Events.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30, no. 3 (2005): 1879-909.

Randazzo, Renee, Kaelin Farmer, and Sharon Lamb. “Queer Women’s Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media.” Journal of Bisexuality 15, no. 1 (2015): 99-129.

Draft 1

Anxious about entertaining a group of friends for the big game? So is the main character in the 2016 Saturday Night Live parody commercial for Totinos.  The commercial opens with the woman, wearing a boldly pink sweater, entering the living room.  She attempts to check in on a group of men who are all yelling at the television, and is quickly dismissed as knowing nothing about sports. Directly addressing the camera, she agrees to her lack of knowledge, saying “When it comes to the big game there’s only one thing I know about. Feeding my hungry guys.”  The camera has shifted to follow her, and in the kitchen we are unable to see the “hungry guys” or the sports programming. The kitchen, in their neutral-toned apartment, exists as her space, marked by two vases of flowers, a touch of femininity.  We are then introduced to the supposed subject of the advertisement, a tray of Totino’s Pizza Rolls being heated as an appetizer.  As the commercial continues, the husband persistently demands the pizza rolls, despite the living room table being loaded with veggies, chips, and dip which remain untouched. More guests arrive, increasing the demand on the hostess for sustenance, and she reacts with relief to the information that another female guest is here, more hands to help her prepare the food. She pauses in her delivery of this thought, and we see the lighting shift to a romantic, diffuse tone.

Sabine, played by Kristen Stewart in a leather jacket, introduces herself to a flustered main woman, who upon being asked her name replies “I’ve never had one” to the uproarious laugh track. The woman and Sabine tenderly arrange food, but when she goes to bring the food to the “hungry guys” Sabine asks her what she is hungry for. She doesn’t articulate her desire with words, but aggressively places a hand on her own breast, again to the delight of the laugh track.  Sabine and the woman are seen in vignettes smoking a cigarette, spraying each other open-mouthed with water from the faucet, and tenderly undressing and trailing their hands and fresh pizza rolls over each other’s skin.  Sabine is told “Every game before this one I’ve been asleep”, and the women tenderly address each other in French. As these romantic scenes continue, and the women share a kiss and embrace, the scene cuts back to the living room and we see that the kitchen is not actually separated from the living room.  All this has been occurring within feet of the guys, and they have been totally ignorant.  This back and forth culminates in the husband, still looking at the TV, jokingly asking “Are you two making out back there?” when following up on the status of the food.  The men and the studio audience lose it at this, even as the romantic moment between Sabine, and the still unnamed woman, continues.

In Messner and Montezdeoca’s essay “The Male Consumer as Loser”, they discuss that advertising “theorizes the social location of target populations”, which can be assumed desires or attitudes of shared progressiveness (1880). The satirical nature of the SNL sketch can lead to it mirroring cultural norms in a way that is a knowing wink to the presumed audience.  Messner and Montezdeoca see two facets to this post-feminist joke, that it reflects real male insecurities and provides plausible deniability for real misogyny (1905).   In its self-aware parody of Super Bowl commercials, the 2016 SNL Totino’s sketch reinforces cultural norms about the gendered kitchen, and lesbianism.

As discussed in Randazzo, Farmer and Lamb, in their study Queer Women’s  ‘Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media’ , men feel pressure to their masculinity as well, to act the dominant narrative of finding lesbianism appealing and humorous.  We see this in the husband immediately turning to his friends for acknowledgement after making the joke about Sabine and the woman making out, and their over the top masculine responses with mock physical aggression and loud agreement.

What is also big in this is the idea of appetite and hunger, with the character at one point being asked directly by Sabine, the other woman “What are you hungry before?”, being allowed to have desires.  In Joan Brumberg’s piece Fasting Girls, she explores that historically, appetite was a sign of overactive desire.  The ideal housewife had no real appetite of her own, but cooked to sate the hunger of others.  Displaying appetite showed a lack of self-restraint and would lead directly to physical and presumably behavioral ugliness.

Randazzo, Farmer and Lamb, in their study Queer Women’s  ‘Perspectives on Sexualization of Women in Media’  of and found that women “reported less sexual agency but more sexual experience when they had viewed more media featuring scripts that cast women as sexual objects” (100).  What they found was that today’s media continues to perpetuate the idea that women are acted on by appetites rather than valid in their own appetites.

 

The physical separation implied by the framing of the commercial, and the inability of the men to notice the actions of the women directly visible but located in the kitchen reinforce the idea of the kitchen as a separate, women’s space.  This also echoes common ideas about lesbianism as something that happens in the absence of men. Researched Lisa Diamond found that “presenting same-sex sexuality as a matter of private lifestyle” was a mainstay of lesbianism or “fad” lesbianism in popular culture.

Transcript of SNL Sketch – for academic use only

GROUP: GO,Go,Go Touchdown!!! (cheering)
*Woman in pink cardigan walks from kitchen area of apartment to a group of men standing and sitting watching TV*
WOMAN: Is everyone enjoying the big game?
MAN IN PLAID: Come, on babe don’t act like you know sports

*upbeat music, men laugh, slap eachother jokingly*
WOMAN: *Looking at camera* My husband’s right. When it comes to the big game there’s only one thing I know about. Feeding my hungry guys.
[Cut back to the group of men dejectdly yelling at TV]
MEN: “Come on” Aww no, fumble” *Emoting with arm waves*
WOMAN: And this year’s game is bigger than ever. Which means I’ll be feeding them more Totinos than ever.  *Holds up tray of pizza rolls *
*Door opens, man enters holding bag of chips (large)*
PLAID MAN: Babe, need more Totinos, Dave just got here.
WOMAN: Not a problem because this year I’ve got the new Totino Totino Two-Pack. It’s twice the Totino for twice the Hungry guys.
Husband: (interrupting) Enough yapping, we need the Totinos. Ted’s here too and he brought his sister.
WOMAN:Great more hands to help me make more Totinos pizz*she trails off, staring at SABINE wearing a leather jacket*
AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER

GENTLE PIANO MUSIC BEGINS TO PLAY
WOMAN: (brethy) Oh my.
SABINE: Hi I’m SABINE. What’s your name?
WOMAN: I’ve never had one

AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER
SABINE: That’s a shame.
*She tuns and is tenderly laying out the pizza rolls, SABINE gently helps*A Wedding ring is clearly visible on her hand
WOMAN: (concerned) I should bring these out.
SABINE: No Stay with me
WOMAN: What about my hungry guys?
SABINE: What are you Hungry for
*WOMAN grabs own breast*

AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER
[Scene cuts to view of the men watching TV, a couple of them are holding bottled beers]
GROUP : Touchdown! Yes!
PLAID MAN: Hey, babe, we need those Totinos, what’s going on back there?
VIOLIN MUSIC SWELLS

*SABINE is embracing a rapturous WOMAN*

AUDIENCE:LAUGHTER

*SABINE gently touches her lips, the scene is partially obscured by a bright lens flare and blur.
[Camera shifts to show box of Totino’s Pizza rolls sitting on the counter (In the scene there is a clean kitchen with a vase of yellow and white tulips but nothing else on the counters in the spotless kitchen]
*WOMAN is smoking a cigarette while being caressed by SABINE*
[cut]
As the music continues, WOMAN thoughtfully bites her lip and carefully sketches SABINE, who is touching a pizza roll slowly to her lips. We see the drawing of SABINE holding the pizza roll, nude .

AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER
*WOMAN blinks and looks off to one side*
SABINE’s gaze focusses on WOMAN
SABINE: What is it? (Gently)
WOMAN: Every big game before this one I’ve been asleep.

 

[cut to scene of them SABINE spraying and soaking WOMAN, open mouthed, with water from the faucet (still in the kitchen)]
WOMAN: But, SABINE

*SABINE bites bottom lip.*
WOMAN:*in French* “You have awoken me” [Laughter]
SABINE steps toward WOMAN, they both inhale heeply and touch foreheads, SABINE cradling WOMAN’s jaw
WOMAN: *In French* “I feel like we are the only two people on Earth.”
SABINE *In French* : We are .
[Camera cuts to show men sitting around veggie platter, solo cups, and mixed six pack. We can see into the apartment kitchen there is no dividing Wall, we see the two women appear to be almost kissing.
GROUP:”They’re going to punt” “They’re going to punt” “They have to”

AUDIENCE:LAUGHTER( simultaneous with GROUP dialogue)

 

[Camera cuts back to scene of SABINE and WOMAN gently touching each other]

VIOLIN CRESCENDOES

*SABINE slips her shirt off one shoulder, WOMAN gently follows suit.
We see the two lie down on their sides on the counter, SABINE gently brushes WOMAN’s hair off her forehead. WOMAN reaches out and brushes SABINE’s hair from her face as well, using a pizza roll held between her fingers tenderly.
AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER

* SABINE closes her eyes in enjoyment*
[Cut: Closeup of the pizza roll being trailed across skin and up what pans out to be revealed as WOMAN’s neck as laughter lightly trails off]
WOMAN *In French* My husband has his Totinos. And you. You are my Totino.”

AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER

[CUT]

PLAID MAN(looking at TV): Babe, what’s taking so long with those Totinos? You girls making out back there?
*Looks at men on either stide to see their reaction to the joke* They laugh.*
GROUP: “Ha HA HA” “You’re crazy”

*One of them claps the other on the shoulder in comraderie*
[Cut: We see WOMAN and SABINE on the counter, kissing, with a hand obscuring the view of the lips

AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER (As WOMAN’s hand brings a pizza roll into view over SABINE’s Shoulder)
*They kiss again, more fervently*
VOICEOVER: Totino. This Spring Find your Totino.
[This title and subtitle appear on screen with a small logo for film festival de Cannes (superimposed over the two kissing) ]
Music swells
As the scene concludes

AUDIENCE: LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
PLAID MAN: Babe? (no change in emotion)

 

 

Exploratory Draft

Image of five men in sports jerseys and casual wear sitting around a coffee table with chips, dip, and veggie platter, holding beers, while two women kiss in the kitchenette in the background
Still from SNL Sketch Totinos air date 2/5/2017

Observations:

  • The men are all dressed in the colors of the Patriots or patriots jerseys while the women are not.
  • One of the women is wearing a bright pink.
  • There is no room left on any of the seating for the women to join the men.
  • There are chips, dip, veggies, an assortment of alcoholic bottled drinks, and a box of Totino’s pizza rolls in the kitchen.
  • It is a group of mostly white men who appear to be mid-30’s.
  • The apartment itself is very neutral, in masculine greens and blues.  There are two flower arrangements and one pitcher with a floral design.
  • In addition to the open kitchen, the cabinets have glass fronts preventing the contents from being concealed.
  • The two women are noticeably less groomed than the men, dishevelled by what looks like rainwater still soaking their hair.

In this image, the sports viewing audience is all male.  The two women are not paying attention to either the men or the television (implied to be located where the viewer of this image is). The men have the traditional snacks for a group gathering, chips and dip and vegetables, but we do not see them eating any.  The women are in the kitchen, which is not a physically discrete space, but an alcove of the larger room.  Nevertheless, the sofa and the physical positioning of the two groups of people make it feel as though there is a real divide between the two spaces.  It reminds me of how restaurant kitchens have a very small window for food to come out of, not that there is a physical separation here, but the viewing audience is assuming that food will somehow make its way out of the kitchen and to them.

The men are seated carefully so they are not touching each other on the sofa, and they have left no room for the women to come join them in the living room, a communal space.  By contrast, we see the women mid embrace, tenderly touching each other.

What is also big in this is the idea of appetite and hunger, with the character at one point being asked directly by Sabine, the other woman “What are you hungry before?”, being allowed to have desires.

I need to explore more into the ritual of food and sporting events (going back into the piece Tailgate Warriors) and masculinity.  In the larger sketch, we see an assumption by the men that the food will be brought to them, which ties in to larger expectations about cooking and eating in a heterosexual couple’s relationship.  I want to look at the occurrence of lesbianism in the kitchen, a traditional woman’s domain, and its lack of acknowledgement by the men and how that connects to our cultural understandings of same-sex attraction between women as something that occurs in the absence of men, due to a “lack”. Similarly, lesbianism is often used to appeal to a straight male audience, or as a punchline to a joke, so how does this image being from both a comedy skit and a fake food advertisement tie into those cultural themes.

Ultimately, the kissing happening in the kitchen is very isolated from the men, both their awareness and their needs, but their understanding of the kitchen as a space is such that even though it is right there, they are not engaging with its happenings.    Is it subversive?  Is it a rejection of previous commercials in which women are responsible for feeding men on game day?  Are we getting to take female desire seriously?

In Class Analysis Exercise

 

]
In this SNL Sketch with Vanessa Bayer and Kristen Stewart, the two women fail to serve the food oriented demands of the group of men watching sports in the apartment, rejecting their needs while pursuing a romantic encounter. In the kitchen they pursue their own interests rather than preparing the culturally required snacks that accompany viewing of the Super Bowl. After opening the skit with the rejection of the protagonist’s potential of sports knowledge due to her gender, a second woman arrives, the sister of a n invited guest. The two enter the kitchen, a separate “female” domain, and begin what becomes a quickly and absurdly sensual dialogue. But is this an active subversion or rejection of the male demands on their time and energy? Caught up in the moment, the two do not actively decide or even really discuss their movement to disregard the male needs. Emotion, a female burden, causes them to get lost in the moment. They aren’t obligated to explain their actions to the male audience, but neither do they (to each-other or to the sports fans) announce their rejection.
Additionally, the lesbianism in the comedy skit itself is cast as gentle and romantic, without over eroticism or sexual imagery. Wisps of cloud and haze set the atmosphere, but it is a far cry from some of the “moderately” raunchy advertisements with women targeting a male audience. Lesbian has not, historically, been viewed as a societal threat. It is often seen as a measure resorted to with a lack of male attention, or as a substitute for unavailable masculine energy. There is very little implication that the lesbian interest of a girlfriend is a threat to her heterosexual relationship. Lesbianism in mass media often exists as a prelude to direct male involvement in a fantasy threesome, or as a visual for the male audience to enjoy. The lack of male access, visually in the scene as well as their lack of understanding, through their own insistence on watching the game and being catered to, could be seen as a subversion of this male-oriented lesbianism. However, lesbianism, historically existing quietly within female spaces and not threatening, or even notable to men is an old trope. So too is the inadvertent cuckolding of the clueless male, often the dupe in sports adjacent advertisements, such as a series of Dockers super bowl commercials urging their male audience to rise up and “Wear the Pants.”

Response- Meat Joy

Carole Schneeman’s performance piece “Meat Joy” contains a great many images reflecting male and female power and relationships.  From its opening, in which strong young men carry the flailing female figures around the stage, the women are acted upon.  The provider of the raw poultry and fish is a woman dressed in a stereotypical black and white maid outfit. This opening sequence shows the active role of masculinity in commanding/arranging women, and the maid character reflects the frequent and assumed role of the woman as the preparer and server of the meal.

The male and female performers act freely with the whole carcasses of fish and chicken,  writhing erotically, but we also see a female performer cradling the meat to her breast and rocking it like a baby.

Once again, as the piece continues, we seen the men as actors on the female performers, dousing and daubing them with the variety of paints, including a red hue that is reminiscent of blood.  This reinforces the earlier image of the men as actors and women as passive/reactive to the male actions.

In this piece, the meat is received and acted on by the performers, caressed and embraced similarly to how the performers caress and embrace eachother.  The meat is something shared between them and then ultimately discarded.

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