Hunger as Ideology

Topics: Gender role, Gender, Transgender Pages: 9 (1541 words) Published: November 14, 2012
In “Hunger as Ideology” Susan Bordo observes closely women and their constant

obsession with weight control and the gender ideologies present in the food advertisment.

Girls learn at a young age that being slim is beautiful and they start thinking about tricks on

how to achieve that beauty. Media knows that women like “control “and commercials use this

word a lot, appealing to an audience who feels this lack of control, teaching them that one

easy way to get what you want is using your sex appeal.

With a lot of relevant examples Bordo is focusing on locating gender disparities in

advertising and the effects that these commercials have on women body, behavior and


In the first paragraph Susan Bordo introduces us to a commercial where two little girls

have a quite disturbing conversation about what is beauty ”Your mom is so slim, so beautiful!

Does she eat?” Even from a young age girls learn that the way they look is directly connected

to the amount of food they eat.”Silly, just not so much”. The FiberThin commercial is trying to

create envy between women ”Aren’t you jealous?” and then also offers a solution to this

problem ”Not if I know her secrets.” Today even after we learned that these kind of

commercials influences girls to have eating disorders we can still find the following ads like: The first picture is advertising a weight lose program, kids get a clear message

that in order to feel good you have to be skinny. The second picture is an ad for a famous

brand name and even if it does not say anything about being skinny it is hard to miss how tiny

the model is. As grown ups we know that this is not real and it still influences us, imagine

what an influence has on children who look up to movie stars and models. This is how eating

disorders start and it looks like not much has changed since Bordo first criticised


Women have been fighting for their rights for a long time, they want to be free and in

control of their decisions, their life and of course their body. Contemporary advertisements

take advantage of this desire and include the idea of control in their ads. Bordo points it out

that the Virginia Slim Menthol ad is targeting african american women, who have advanced

a lot in the past years from slavery to freedom,”You’ve come a long way baby”. This ad is

inviting women to celebrate their freedom and to exercise their rights by smoking Virginia

Slim Menthol. Even if this is an ad for cigarettes there is still a connection to food and body

image. “Decisions are easy. When I get to a fork in the road, I eat.” The idea is that you can

have the control of your body, you can eat whenever you want, as long as you are smoking you will stay SLIM. Control is used to sell anything from eyeliners(“Perfect eyeliner. Puts you

in control, And isn’t that nice for a change”)to ca-box deodorant (“Control. I strive for it. My cat

achieved it”) Today the fashion has changed but only in clothes, ideas are the same. Women are still looking for control and models are skinnier than ever.

Bordo is very interested in the ways that society looks into the ads we see every day

and what assumptions are made about gender identity, or “…the differences attributed to

men and women in the stories we tell ourselves and the ways we picture out attitudes toward

food, eating, cooking, body size, and shape” The media has a lot of influences on

women, how they feel about their body, what is their role of in society, how should women

behave and finally how can we achieve perfection.

This youtube video informs us that we are becoming a digital world and we are

spending a lot of time in front of television where we can typically see over 9000

commercials a day. Advertisements are made not only to sell products but...
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