Consider Health Inspections

Usually when we go out to restaurants for an afternoon meal, we don’t tend to think too much about what goes on behind the doors to the kitchen, and in many cases, we probably don’t necessarily want to. However, in order to promote at least some peace of mind, we might glance at the inspection score that may or may not be posted on the window outside of the location to get an idea of how closely the restaurant complies with safety standards. However, these short, cumulative scores are often not an accurate representation of the conditions within the kitchen, and can be severely misleading.

I often find myself passing the time by watching the reality TV show “Kitchen Nightmares,” in which celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey visits failing restaurants to figure out what the root of their problems are and works with the owners to fix these issues and improve the location overall. But when the cameramen show us the dead rats behind the stoves, the cross-contaminated containers, and the spoiled meat in the broken freezer that the owner still claims is “good,” I begin to wonder how these restaurants are still allowed to remain in business, and more curiously, why the inspection score is surprisingly decent.

It seems that the main reason that routine health inspections are not efficient in promoting a restaurant atmosphere that meets state health and safety standards is that there is a general lack of enforcement; by this, I mean that there are no measures to ensure that repeat violations do not happen. If inspectors were able to impose fines and long-term restaurant closings and if they were thoroughly backed by environmental health management, this would not be as big of a problem and it would encourage restaurant owners and managers to keep their facilities running in optimal conditions. As it turns out, repeat violations account for more than half of all violations, which alone should be enough evidence to conclude that routine inspections, which only happen once or twice a year at most establishments, do not work and something needs to be changed about the way in which they are carried out.

One rather disturbing aspect of health inspections is the fact that, many times, not every violation is documented. When performing these inspections, many specialists are on the lookout for major health code violations, and only address the minor violations if the major ones are nonexistent. Although it’s typically the (very) major violations that make themselves shown in most of the restaurants featured in “Kitchen Nightmares,” it definitely strikes me as sketchy that inspections do not hold equal weight for all restaurants; this practice could lead to a low-risk location being inspected much more thoroughly than a high-risk one, when logically the opposite should be happening. Contrarily, while some specialists claim that they only document critical violations and let the noncritical ones slide, there are a handful that admit that they don’t always document the critical ones either. Even more shocking is the fact that specialists aren’t required to report it when they are driven to the point of having to temporarily shut down a restaurant; Ramsey’s TV show highlights only a small portion of the restaurants that receive a critical violation warning each day, yet we rarely hear about the 230 restaurants that are shut down each year. Why? Because “if the restaurant is closed, the food is not being served,” says Gary Hagy, Director of the Health Department’s Division of Food and Environmental Services as a justification for specialists not being required to report shutdowns. However, this flawed reasoning does not account for the fact that customers’ health may have been jeopardized prior to the shutdown, because the food was still being served to them at the time that the conditions still posed a health violation. And while many shutdowns are due to things that are out of the restaurant owner’s or manager’s control such as water main breaks, power outages, or fires, the possibility that a customer may have previously been exposed to salmonella or E. coli in a restaurant and will never be notified about the fact that the restaurant was shut down as a result is certainly problematic.

Finally, many believe (justifiably) that inspection scores are not always an accurate representation of the restaurant’s health and safety standards, partly because inspections are performed so infrequently and major changes may have occurred since the previous inspection, and partly because the score given to the facility is so simple and cumulative, often relying on a simple point system or letter grading system. Many inspectors themselves actually believe that the final score is entirely pointless because of this, and because of the fact that all violations, whether critical or noncritical, are weighted the same. One specialist who participated in a study on inspection trends stated that “a place could have cooling, reheating… violations and still have the same points marked off as if they had a dirty floor and a cracked base coating,” implying that even the specialists themselves don’t believe that their work is to be taken seriously due to these weak and faulty grading standards.

We’ve all eaten commercially at some point or another, and a few of us may have even gotten food poisoning from one, whether it be from a food truck on the side of the road or a five-star restaurant in the city. Personally, I’d prefer to not think about the possible cross-contamination that might be happening in the back kitchen of the McDonald’s, because in certain cases, ignorance is definitely bliss. However, this does not mean that I don’t believe that the health and safety inspection information shouldn’t be readily available. Furthermore, if inspections were performed more often and more thoroughly, and the scoring system was altered, I might be able to walk into a restaurant with greater peace of mind.

Ingredient Analysis of NOS Energy Drink

NOS Energy Drink Ingredients:

carbonated water

high fructose corn syrup

citric acid

sodium citrate

  • pH regulator

sodium hexametaphosphate (preservative)

  • Emulsifier
  • Increases risk for pancreatic cancer
  • Active ingredient in toothpaste
  • Production of glass and ceramic products
  • Skin irritant

caffeine

taurine

  • Amino acid produced naturally in large intestine, and also synthesized
  • Reduces caffeine anxiety
  • Drug-like effects in large amounts

natural flavors

acacia

  • Gum from acacia tree
  • Medicine: reduces cholesterol and increase weight loss
  • Film-forming agent in face masks
  • Dietary fiber

potassium sorbate (preservative)

  • Prevents growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi
  • Wine stabilizer
  • Skin and eye irritant

glycerol ester of rosin

  • Ingredient stabilizer
  • No evidence of health risks

inositol

  • Sweetener
  • Vitamin-like substance
  • Promotes balance of several chemicals in the body
  • Used to treat mental and physical disorders
  • Generally safe; can worsen bipolar disorder

sucralose

  • Sweetener

yellow 5

  • Pigment
  • Can cause allergic reactions and hyperactivity

calcium disodium edta (preservative)

  • Used to treat lead poisoning, radiation poisoning, and high calcium levels
  • Excessive amounts cause kidney damage, low calcium levels, and death

pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6)

yellow 6

  • Pigment
  • Possible carcinogen
  • Can cause allergic reactions and hyperactivity

guarana

  • Flavoring ingredient
  • Stimulant (contains caffeine)
  • Possibly improves mental performance
  • Aids with weight loss

yanocobalamin (vitamin B12)

 

 

Considering that energy drinks (especially highly-formulated ones like NOS) have such a bad reputation in terms of ingredients and health, I have to say that I was not very surprised to learn what was in this particular drink. As it turns out, the three active ingredients in NOS which give it its desired effects are caffeine, guanine, and taurine. The former two act as stimulants, while the latter balances their effects. Aside from these, though, there is a significant amount of more hazardous substances that are present, such as possible carcinogens and irritants. Although I’m appalled at the presence of these chemicals, I can’t say that I’m surprised considering how many other manufactured foods contain similar ingredients. The most undesirable, in my opinion, was sodium hexametaphosphate, which, based on its uses outside of food and drink, seems like it shouldn’t be in a drink at all. Its health risks, including pancreatic cancer and possibly severe irritation, seem like they outweigh the chemical’s functionality as a preservative.

“The Feedlot”

Michael Pollan’s “The Feedlot” raises some interesting points about the recycling nature of factory farms; in other words, how waste products are not viewed as waste, but are instead used for the purpose of being consumed again and again. Corn is easy and cheap to produce, and although it has next to no nutritional value and isn’t even meant to be digested by these animals, this makes it a commonly used feed for the cows on these farms. Rather, the waste products of the corn is what’s fed to them, and is also reused to produce even more crops, lending itself to a cycle. On top of all the other generally disgusting conditions in factory farms (overcrowding, etc.), this method of recycling nutrients is incredibly gag-worthy, a picture that is vividly painted by Pollan’s imagery throughout the piece, such as when he compares it to a “teeming and filthy and stinking” city (72).

Apparent Differences in Gendered Advertising Techniques

Emily Legge

Professor Bonnie Boaz

UNIV 211

12 April 2017

Apparent Differences in Gendered Advertising Techniques

It’s no secret that advertising is specifically geared towards a target audience, and that advertisers often use not-so-subtle patterns in order to appeal to these audiences. A prime example would be the use of gender stereotypes in fast food commercials, which often either appeal to male customers by portraying their food as “manly” or “meaty,” or to female customers by emphasizing the lack of preparation needed for the meal. Two examples of fast food commercials which play off of stereotypes in order to appeal to a specific audience are a highly-sexualized Carl’s Jr. ad and an innocent, family-oriented Kentucky Fried Chicken ad.

The first ad is set at a barbecue contest, and begins with a beautiful brunette woman wearing a bikini top and booty shorts walking up to a grill and beginning to cook pork, slathering the meat in barbecue sauce and licking her fingers in a slow and very sexual manner. Enter a blonde woman in a similar outfit, who stops at the same grill and places beef patties on it, challenging the first woman. As they fight for position, they push and shove each other with their hips, while the camera techniques frequently focus on the meat and the sweat on their torsos. Suddenly, a mound of pulled pork falls on one of the beef patties, and the two women look at each other, realizing that they accidentally created a masterpiece. Placing their creation on hamburger buns, they link arms and each begin eating in a way which strongly suggests a resemblance to lesbian pornography. Finally, the commercial focuses on two male bystanders who are staring at the women in awe, and one pulls out his phone and takes a photo (“BBQ’s Best Pair”).

One might argue that the commercial defies typical female stereotypes because of their rugged, country portrayal in the video and the way in which they grill the meat, which is a task traditionally reserved for men; in reality, however, the reason this is done is to appeal completely to the male audience. An old but still relevant study from Kent State University that examines the nature of interpersonal attraction would suggest that this advertising method would be ineffective, but the reason why this is false will be explained shortly. The study found that “a highly dominant person should be attractive to and attracted to a very submissive person,” a theory which can easily be applied to gender roles (Seyfried & Hendrick 15). The word “person” is strategically used in this claim, because it is possible for a relationship to consist of a dominant female and a submissive male, but in terms of your stereotypical patterns, it most directly applies to a dominant male and a submissive female. Despite this universally recognized law of attraction, however, the tactics used by the commercial in question are still effective; this is because the women in the video are meant to be viewed as sexual symbols, rather than potential partners. The purpose of the video is to disgustingly advertise Hardee’s new burger as a “man’s” meal, and if it were to portray women in the clean-cut and feminine role utilized by the KFC ad which will be analyzed shortly, it would simply detract from the “manliness” of the burger itself.

This type of fast food advertising goes both ways, too, with men being portrayed as kind and family-oriented in order to appeal to the female target audience. This can be observed in one of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s video advertisements in which a mother speaks directly to the viewer about how relieved she is at the fact that she doesn’t have to cook the family dinner, because she went to the fast food chain and picked up a meal instead. The way she says “Tonight, I am not mom, I am Paula” also implies that, by rejecting the common stereotype of women being expected to cook dinner, she is regaining her individuality. It should also be noted that, unlike the Carl’s Jr. commercial, she is conservatively-dressed and strikes the viewer as more of a human than as a sexual object. Meanwhile, the father sits happily at the dinner table, interacting playfully with the children, and for the most part appears to be in his own little world as he thoroughly enjoys the chicken. He makes no special effort to appear “manly” or “tough,” because, since this particular commercial is targeted towards housewives who are often imagined doing domestic chores such as meal preparation, the dad gives off a more domestic vibe in order to appeal to this. When asked by one of the children what the meal makes him (since mom is “not mom”), he simply replies with “dad,” implying that, unlike the mother, his role stays the same no matter how or where the meal is prepared (“KFC”). Overall, the commercial is more logical and realistic than the previously analyzed commercial, because it features characters and an atmosphere that is completely believable, rather than an incredibly staged scene which looks more like a man’s sexual fantasy or the opening to a pornographic video. This could likely imply something about what is effective towards certain audiences: men will be more compelled by something that will turn them on or make their mouth water, while women will be more compelled by what is easy and convenient for them.

It’s interesting how the patterns present in both of these commercials coincide so closely with the findings from a particular study titled “Gender Representation in Television Commercials: Updating and Update” in which gender-related trends in advertising are observed (Bartsch). This study focuses not specifically on fast food advertising, but on advertising in general. According to the findings of this study, women were more likely to be commercial representatives of domestic products and men were more likely to be commercial representatives of non-domestic products (Bartsch et al 736). It’s an interesting pattern that many don’t even notice, but almost always rings true; products that are associated with cooking, cleaning, or other household chores tend to feature a female actor or voiceover, whereas everything else tends to feature a male one. In this particular study, all fast food was classified as a domestic product, but these two examples of fast food commercials show that there are significant differences between the methods of advertising used and the target audience: as stated before, male advertising is more fantastical (as well as sexual), and female advertising is more realistic.

Similarly, more gender-related trends in these two commercials can be observed while considering the type of foods that are advertised (beef and chicken, respectively). In a 2002 study on food preferences, the results suggested that males have more of a preference for red meat while women have more of a preference for white meat (Kubberød et al 289). This trend, which isn’t difficult to see even without the data from this study, may offer a reason for why the burger commercial is so heavily geared towards a male audience and why the KFC commercial appeals to a more feminine, domestic member of the household. Perhaps this is due to gender stereotypes that have been so deeply ingrained into our culture that we hardly pay any notice to them anymore; as Emma White describes in her article, “Starved By Society,” “When we perform our genders we do so by strictly adhering to our society’s idealizations of what it means to fully embody femininity (and masculinity) at any given time” (White 319).However, whether these trends for meat preference is simply due to taste or genetic factors, or due to stereotypes that red meat is “manly” and white meat is lean and healthy, is up for debate.

Ultimately, though, even though both commercials play off of female stereotypes, Carl’s Jr. does so in a much more disgusting and degrading way; there features no indication that the women in the grill-off video have any original personality whatsoever, or even creativity or intelligence. I mean, they didn’t even think up their delicious creation themselves; it was created accidentally. This says a lot about the kind of message that the restaurant chain is trying to convey. The disgusting advertising techniques are apparent when examining the advertising trends for each of the two restaurants as well. For example, KFC features a variety of commercials that appeal to different audiences: men, women, parents, children, singles. On the other hand, Carl’s Jr. commercials are disturbingly similar to one another: a scantily-dressed, perfect-bodied female serving no purpose in the video other than to make the male viewers drool. Perhaps Carl’s Jr. should take a few notes on how to expand their audiences.

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bartsch, Robert A., Burnett, Teresa, Diller, Tommye R., and Rankin-Williams, Elizabeth. “Gender Representations in Television Commercials: Updating an Update.” Sex Roles, vol. 43, no. 9, 2000, pp. 735-735.

“BBQ’s Best Pair – Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s Commercial – Sara Underwood, Emily Ratajkowski.” YouTube, uploaded by funnycoolhotvideo, 19 Feb 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1krJqn3smbI

“KFC – Free Cake featuring Eden Elyse.” YouTube, uploaded by Bullies Stink, 30 Apr 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDHwPHGd-UI

Kubberød, Elin, Ueland, Øydis, Rødbotten, Marit, Westad, Frank, and Risvik, Einar. “Gender Specific Attitudes and Preferences Towards Meat.” Food Quality and Preference, vol. 13, no. 5, 2002, pp. 285-294.

Seyfried, B. A., and Hendrick, Clyde. “When Do Opposites Attract?” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 25, no. 1, 1973, pp. 15-20.

White, Emma. “Starved by Society: An Examination of Judith Butler’s Gender Performance and Society’s Slender Ideal.” Feminist Theology, vol. 23, no. 3, 2015, pp. 316-329.

Critical Analysis Draft #3

            It’s no secret that advertising is specifically geared towards a target audience, and that advertisers often use not-so-subtle patterns in order to appeal to these audiences. A prime example would be the use of gender stereotypes in fast food commercials, which often either appeal to male customers by portraying their food as “manly” or “meaty,” or to female customers by emphasizing the lack of preparation needed for the meal. Two examples of fast food commercials which play off of stereotypes in order to appeal to a specific audience are a highly-sexualized Carl’s Jr. ad and an innocent, family-oriented Kentucky Fried Chicken ad.

            The first ad is set at a barbecue contest, and begins with a beautiful brunette woman wearing a bikini top and booty shorts walking up to a grill and beginning to cook pork, slathering the meat in barbecue sauce and licking her fingers in a slow and very sexual manner. Enter a blonde woman in a similar outfit, who stops at the same grill and places beef patties on it, challenging the first woman. As they fight for position, they push and shove each other with their hips, while the camera techniques frequently focus on the meat and the sweat on their torsos. Suddenly, a mound of pulled pork falls on one of the beef patties, and the two women look at each other, realizing that they accidentally created a masterpiece. Placing their creation on hamburger buns, they link arms and each begin eating in a way which strongly suggests a resemblance to lesbian pornography. Finally, the commercial focuses on two male bystanders who are staring at the women in awe, and one pulls out his phone and takes a photo.

            One might argue that the commercial defies typical female stereotypes because of their rugged, country portrayal in the video and the way in which they grill the meat, which is a task traditionally reserved for men; in reality, however, the reason this is done is to appeal completely to the male audience. An old but still relevant study from Kent State University that examines the nature of interpersonal attraction would suggest that this advertising method would be ineffective, but the reason why this is false will be explained shortly. The study found that “a highly dominant person should be attractive to and attracted to a very submissive person,” a theory which can easily be applied to gender roles (Seyfried & Hendrick, 1973). The word “person” is strategically used in this claim, because it is possible for a relationship to consist of a dominant female and a submissive male, but in terms of your stereotypical patterns, it most directly applies to a dominant male and a submissive female. Despite this universally recognized law of attraction, however, the tactics used by the commercial in question are still effective; this is because the women in the video are meant to be viewed as sexual symbols, rather than potential partners. The purpose of the video is to disgustingly advertise Hardee’s new burger as a “man’s” meal, and if it were to portray women in the clean-cut and feminine role utilized by the KFC ad which will be analyzed shortly, it would simply detract from the “manliness” of the burger itself.

            This type of fast food advertising goes both ways, too, with men being portrayed as kind and family-oriented in order to appeal to the female target audience. This can be observed in one of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s video advertisements in which a mother speaks directly to the viewer about how relieved she is at the fact that she doesn’t have to cook the family dinner, because she went to the fast food chain and picked up a meal instead. The way she says “Tonight, I am not mom, I am Paula” also implies that, by rejecting the common stereotype of women being expected to cook dinner, she is regaining her individuality. It should also be noted that, unlike the Carl’s Jr. commercial, she is conservatively-dressed and strikes the viewer as more of a human than as a sexual object. Meanwhile, the father sits happily at the dinner table, interacting playfully with the children, and for the most part appears to be in his own little world as he thoroughly enjoys the chicken. He makes no special effort to appear “manly” or “tough,” because, since this particular commercial is targeted towards housewives who are often imagined doing domestic chores such as meal preparation, the dad gives off a more domestic vibe in order to appeal to this. When asked by one of the children what the meal makes him (since mom is “not mom”), he simply replies with “dad,” implying that, unlike the mother, his role stays the same no matter how or where the meal is prepared. Overall, the commercial is more logical and realistic than the previously analyzed commercial, because it features characters and an atmosphere that is completely believable, rather than an incredibly staged scene which looks more like a man’s sexual fantasy or the opening to a pornographic video. This could likely imply something about what is effective towards certain audiences: men will be more compelled by something that will turn them on or make their mouth water, while women will be more compelled by what is easy and convenient for them.

            It’s interesting how the patterns present in both of these commercials coincide so closely with the findings from a particular study titled “Gender Representation in Television Commercials: Updating and Update” in which gender-related trends in advertising are observed. This study focuses not specifically on fast food advertising, but on advertising in general. According to the findings of this study, women were more likely to be commercial representatives of domestic products and men were more likely to be commercial representatives of non-domestic products (Bartsch et al, 2000). It’s an interesting pattern that many don’t even notice, but almost always rings true; products that are associated with cooking, cleaning, or other household chores tend to feature a female actor or voiceover, whereas everything else tends to feature a male one. In this particular study, all fast food was classified as a domestic product, but these two examples of fast food commercials show that there are significant differences between the methods of advertising used and the target audience: as stated before, male advertising is more fantastical (as well as sexual), and female advertising is more realistic.

            Similarly, more gender-related trends in these two commercials can be observed while considering the type of foods that are advertised (beef and chicken, respectively). In a 2002 study on food preferences, the results suggested that males have more of a preference for red meat while women have more of a preference for white meat (Kubberød et al, 2002). This trend, which isn’t difficult to see even without the data from this study, may offer a reason for why the burger commercial is so heavily geared towards a male audience and why the KFC commercial appeals to a more feminine, domestic member of the household. Perhaps this is due to gender stereotypes that have been so deeply ingrained into our culture that we hardly pay any notice to them anymore; as Emma White describes in her article, “Starved By Society,” “When we perform our genders we do so by strictly adhering to our society’s idealizations of what it means to fully embody femininity (and masculinity) at any given time” (White 319).However, whether these trends for meat preference is simply due to taste or genetic factors, or due to stereotypes that red meat is “manly” and white meat is lean and healthy, is up for debate.

            Ultimately, though, even though both commercials play off of female stereotypes, Carl’s Jr. does so in a much more disgusting and degrading way; there features no indication that the women in the grill-off video have any original personality whatsoever, or even creativity or intelligence. I mean, they didn’t even think up their delicious creation themselves; it was created accidentally. This says a lot about the kind of message that the restaurant chain is trying to convey. The disgusting advertising techniques are apparent when examining the advertising trends for each of the two restaurants as well. For example, KFC features a variety of commercials that appeal to different audiences: men, women, parents, children, singles. On the other hand, Carl’s Jr. commercials are disturbingly similar to one another: a scantily-dressed, perfect-bodied female serving no purpose in the video other than to make the male viewers drool. Perhaps Carl’s Jr. should take a few notes on how to expand their audiences.

 

 

Sources:

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/25/1/15.pdf

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/383/art%253A10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1023%2FA%3A1007112826569&token2=exp=1490828914~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F383%2Fart%25253A10.1023%25252FA%25253A1007112826569.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569*~hmac=18f279ba1995826e76b6819776648db2bda89fdead05668d26d7866f7815db7d

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0950329302000411/1-s2.0-S0950329302000411-main.pdf?_tid=d30807c2-18f9-11e7-a332-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1491284872_ef511262d378079dc6ca3837a99e4d3c

“Starved By Society”

 

 

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1krJqn3smbI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDHwPHGd-UI

Critical Essay Draft #2

            It’s no secret that advertising is specifically geared towards a target audience, and that advertisers often use not-so-subtle patterns in order to appeal to these audiences. A prime example would be the use of gender stereotypes in fast food commercials, which often either appeal to male customers by portraying their food as “manly” or “meaty,” or to female customers by emphasizing the lack of preparation needed for the meal. An example of a fast food television advertisement which incorporates stereotypes of both genders is the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. commercial which features two highly sexual women, one grilling burgers and the other grilling pulled pork, competing with each other in an almost erotic way, as two male bystanders watch.

            One might argue that the commercial defies typical female stereotypes because of their rugged, country portrayal in the video and the way in which they grill the meat, which is a task traditionally reserved for men; in reality, however, the reason this is done is to appeal completely to the male audience. An old but still relevant study that examines the nature of interpersonal attraction would suggest that this advertising method would be ineffective, but the reason why this is false will be explained shortly. The study from Kent State University found that “a highly dominant person should be attractive to and attracted to a very submissive person,” a theory which can easily be applied to gender roles (Seyfried & Hendrick, 1973). Despite this universally recognized law of attraction, however, the tactics used by the commercial in question are still effective; this is because the women in the video are meant to be viewed as sexual symbols, rather than potential partners. The purpose of the video is to advertise Hardee’s new burger as a “man’s” meal, and portraying women in the clean-cut and feminine role that is often sought after, although still making them seem attractive, would simply detract from the “manliness” of the burger itself.

            This type of fast food advertising goes both ways, too, with men being portrayed as kind and family-oriented in order to appeal to the female target audience. This can be observed in one of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s video advertisements in which a mother is relieved at the fact that she doesn’t have to cook the family dinner, because she went to the fast food chain and picked up a meal instead. Meanwhile, the father sits happily at the dinner table, interacting playfully with the children, and for the most part appears to be in his own little world as he thoroughly enjoys the chicken. He makes no special effort to appear “manly” or “tough,” because, since this particular commercial is targeted towards housewives who are often imagined doing domestic chores such as meal preparation, the dad gives off a more domestic vibe in order to appeal to this.

            It’s interesting how the patterns present in both of these commercials coincide so closely with the findings from a particular study titled “Gender Representation in Television Commercials: Updating and Update” in which gender-related trends in advertising are observed. This study focuses not specifically on fast food advertising, but on advertising in general. According to the findings of this study, women were more likely to be commercial representatives of domestic products and men were more likely to be commercial representatives of non-domestic products (Bartsch et al, 2000). In this particular study, all fast food was classified as a domestic product, but these two examples of fast food commercials show that there are significant differences between the methods of advertising used and the target audience.

            Similarly, more gender-related trends in these two commercials can be observed while considering the type of foods that are advertised (beef and chicken, respectively). In a 2002 study on food preferences, the results suggested that males have more of a preference for red meat while women have more of a preference for white meat (Kubberød et al, 2002). This trend, which isn’t difficult to see even without the data from this study, may offer a reason for why the burger commercial is so heavily geared towards a male audience and why the KFC commercial appeals to a more feminine, domestic member of the household. Perhaps this is due to gender stereotypes that have been so deeply ingrained into our culture that we hardly pay any notice to them anymore; as Emma White describes in her article, “Starved By Society,” “When we perform our genders we do so by strictly adhering to our society’s idealizations of what it means to fully embody femininity (and masculinity) at any given time” (White 319).However, whether these trends for meat preference is simply due to taste or genetic factors, or due to stereotypes that red meat is “manly” and white meat is lean and healthy, is up for debate.

 

 

Sources:

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/25/1/15.pdf

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/383/art%253A10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1023%2FA%3A1007112826569&token2=exp=1490828914~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F383%2Fart%25253A10.1023%25252FA%25253A1007112826569.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569*~hmac=18f279ba1995826e76b6819776648db2bda89fdead05668d26d7866f7815db7d

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0950329302000411/1-s2.0-S0950329302000411-main.pdf?_tid=d30807c2-18f9-11e7-a332-00000aacb35e&acdnat=1491284872_ef511262d378079dc6ca3837a99e4d3c

“Starved By Society”

 

 

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1krJqn3smbI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDHwPHGd-UI

Critical Essay Draft #1

            It’s no secret that advertising is specifically geared towards a target audience, and that advertisers often use not-so-subtle patterns in order to appeal to these audiences. A prime example would be the use of gender stereotypes in fast food commercials, which often either appeal to male customers by portraying their food as “manly” or “meaty,” or to female customers by emphasizing the lack of preparation needed for the meal. An example of a fast food television advertisement which incorporates stereotypes of both genders is the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. commercial which features two highly sexual women, one grilling burgers and the other grilling pulled pork, competing with each other in an almost erotic way, as two male bystanders watch.

            One might argue that the commercial defies typical female stereotypes because of their rugged, country portrayal in the video and the way in which they grill the meat, which is a task traditionally reserved for men; in reality, however, the reason this is done is to appeal completely to the male audience. An old but still relevant study that examines the nature of interpersonal attraction would suggest that this advertising method would be ineffective, but the reason why this is false will be explained shortly. The study from Kent State University found that “a highly dominant person should be attractive to and attracted to a very submissive person,” a theory which can easily be applied to gender roles (Seyfried & Hendrick, 1973). Despite this universally recognized law of attraction, however, the tactics used by the commercial in question are still effective; this is because the women in the video are meant to be viewed as sexual symbols, rather than potential partners. The purpose of the video is to advertise Hardee’s new burger as a “man’s” meal, and portraying women in the clean-cut and feminine role that is often sought after, although still making them seem attractive, would simply detract from the “manliness” of the burger itself.

            This type of fast food advertising goes both ways, too, with men being portrayed as kind and family-oriented in order to appeal to the female target audience. This can be observed in one of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s video advertisements in which a mother is relieved at the fact that she doesn’t have to cook the family dinner, because she went to the fast food chain and picked up a meal instead. Meanwhile, the father sits happily at the dinner table, interacting playfully with the children, and for the most part appears to be in his own little world as he thoroughly enjoys the chicken. He makes no special effort to appear “manly” or “tough,” because, since this particular commercial is targeted towards housewives who are often imagined doing domestic chores such as meal preparation, the dad gives off a more domestic vibe in order to appeal to this.

            It’s interesting how the patterns present in both of these commercials coincide so closely with the findings from a particular study titled “Gender Representation in Television Commercials: Updating and Update” in which gender-related trends in advertising are observed. This study focuses not specifically on fast food advertising, but on advertising in general. According to the findings of this study, women were more likely to be commercial representatives of domestic products and men were more likely to be commercial representatives of non-domestic products (Bartsch et al, 2000). In this particular study, all fast food was classified as a domestic product, but these two examples of fast food commercials shows that there are significant differences between the methods of advertising used and the target audience.

 

Sources:

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/25/1/15.pdf

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/383/art%253A10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1023%2FA%3A1007112826569&token2=exp=1490828914~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F383%2Fart%25253A10.1023%25252FA%25253A1007112826569.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569*~hmac=18f279ba1995826e76b6819776648db2bda89fdead05668d26d7866f7815db7d

 

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1krJqn3smbI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDHwPHGd-UI

In-Class Analysis Exercise

The dominant narrative surrounding the pieces that I am analyzing, which are fast food commercials meant to appeal to a gendered target audience, re-inscribes and reinforces dominant gendered narrative ideology. Certain aspects of these commercials might instead suggest that they challenge this dominant gendered narrative, although by examining the advertiser’s reasons for doing this, it becomes clear that this is not the case.

One of my texts, the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. commercial featuring two country girls in a barbecue cook-off with strong sexual undertones, reinforces the concept of a dominant gender because their purpose in the video is to be displayed as sexual symbols, rather than individuals simply participating in a good-natured cooking contest. This is intentionally done to appeal to the male viewers, who would therefore be considered the “dominant” gender in this situation. One might argue instead that the commercial actually challenges this dominant gendered narrative, however, because of the unconventional aesthetics of the females in the video: they are tough, stubborn, and the sweat on their bodies is emphasized multiple times. These things imply a more dominant portrayal of women, rather than their stereotypical submissive portrayal. Despite this, though, the women in the advertisement are still present simply for the indulgence of men, which is even more explicitly clarified by the ending, which features two men, also attending the cook-off, watching the women lustfully and taking photos with their phones.

Research for Critical Essay

“When Do Opposites Attract?”

This study doesn’t involve food, but can be easily tied into my topic. This study uses the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability scale to determine the traits that a person is most attracted to, which revealed that most people are attracted to people who exhibit gender-specific traits that are opposite of theirs or that complement theirs, i.e., a man is more attracted to a woman who exhibits more stereotypically feminine traits, and vice versa, or that a person with a dominant personality is more attracted to a person with a submissive personality.

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/25/1/15.pdf

 

“Gender Representation in Television Commercials”

This study examines the way in which gender is utilized in general advertising, and includes studies focused on voiceover gender as well as the gender represented for domestic vs. non-domestic products.

http://download.springer.com/static/pdf/383/art%253A10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569.pdf?originUrl=http%3A%2F%2Flink.springer.com%2Farticle%2F10.1023%2FA%3A1007112826569&token2=exp=1490828914~acl=%2Fstatic%2Fpdf%2F383%2Fart%25253A10.1023%25252FA%25253A1007112826569.pdf%3ForiginUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flink.springer.com%252Farticle%252F10.1023%252FA%253A1007112826569*~hmac=18f279ba1995826e76b6819776648db2bda89fdead05668d26d7866f7815db7d

 

“Gender Specific Preferences and Attitudes Toward Meat”

http://ac.els-cdn.com/S0950329302000411/1-s2.0-S0950329302000411-main.pdf?_tid=26549286-14d3-11e7-b2dc-00000aacb360&acdnat=1490828457_faf1047ab6305bcedd44177fb9fc1cae

 

“Starved by Society” and quotes

My topic focuses on the portrayal of gender in food advertising, or more particularly, in the Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. commercial linked here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIsfwztXIb0

This commercial is interesting when compared to other examples of gendered food advertising that we’ve studied in class, because the two women that the video focuses on are strongly associated with meat, rather than with salads or raw vegetables. However, despite this, gender roles are very clearly prominent; both of the women are thin and represent the stereotypical ideal of “beauty.” The meat that they are grilling is intended to appeal to male viewers, rather than female ones, just as the female actors are meant to appeal to them in a similar way. This shows how the idea of “femininity” or “masculinity” can be shaped to be whatever somebody intends them to be, which is what Emma White describes in her article, “Starved by Society,” explaining that gender is simply imitation.

Quotes:

“When we perform our genders we do so by strictly adhering to our society’s idealizations of what it means to fully embody femininity (and masculinity) at any given time” (White 319).

“For Butler, drag illuminates the fictitious nature of gender performativity and it is from this revealing that the subversive repetition of acts can take its form. A repetition can be subversive if it exposes what is taken to be natural or authentic to a particular sex, when it compels us to question what is real. In so doing, these norms cannot only be resisted but also re-worked” (White 320).

“Alongside these pressures we are bombarded with images in the media of computer enhanced size 0 models who are airbrushed to perfection, as it seems to have become an unspoken rule that you must adhere to these standards of beauty if you are to be classified as beautiful, successful and desired” (White 320).