Hello fellow bloggers and welcome! I am excited to journey through this quest of questions and hope you will join me in dissecting and discovering the intricate facets of American culture. Does media influence our identities? Has advertising played a major role in determining the status of women in our culture?
I don’t know, let’s find out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Heart Things in Mini

This post must start with a WHOA.


I wanted to talk about one Burger King commercial I saw a couple nights ago but while searching for it online I came across many other BK ads that blew my mind.
Really Burger King? Is that how you do?

It’s all about the MEAT! Sure a fast food joint is going to advertise their product, that’s cool- but, why is the MEAT! all about the men? So many of these ads were all about beef=manpower. What first surprised me was that I began recognizing some of the commercials. I’d seen them and might’ve thought, that’s degrading, but it was a fleeting reflection. I never stopped to really see what I was watching. Why would I? They’re funny.
I see it now.

Although it’s tempting to want to rip apart each one of these commercials, I will stick with the one since it’s established on the same concept as the others and is the most recent.

Burger King is debuting their new food item…what better way to get the men to want the MEAT! than to throw some hot girls in the mix. This commercial is also especially clever since, as the it clearly shows, girls love itty-bitty burgers (they are soooooo cuuuttteeeeee).
As their other ads have shown, the men who eat at BK want big beef, therefore, in order to contradict themselves they have to appeal to men in another way. Hey fellas, the ladies love the cuteness so eat this and they will be crawling all over you.

I understand the tactic. Understand that girls going silly over little things is something that is customary, a common quality many females possess. Although the commercial is obviously exaggerating, what seems to underlie the message is this very notion that women will in fact get silly over small things. I am a woman. I like small things. However, I don’t shriek- even when faced with ridiculous cuteness. I don’t want to squeeze tiny meals or pant at something adorable like the women in the commercial.

Why is this concept unquestionably accepted? As always, I can’t give a definite answer, I’m only one person. Yet, I think some aspects are relatively clear.

It’s like this, girls in American culture are supposed to be “girlie”- we shriek, fawn, and combine our own feminine cuteness with sex (like the girls shown in the commercial). Women, like the mini burger, are things to be used for consumption. Just as the downsized item of food, our reason is also downsized when we are presented with something attractive, like the food meant to be taken by a man. We see the thing (whatever is small apparently) and are made senseless by it, thus creating an avenue to our sexuality that a man can use.

What I see when I look at this commercial is the ever present notion of women’s weakness in the presence of man, because remember, beef=manpower. A woman is susceptible to losing her rationality over a product that is geared for men, since the product makes the man more manly and of then of course he becomes simply irresistible. The men hold the meat while the women .

There is a scandal about another BK ad campaign. It’s “virgin” themed- they are taking their burgers to small foreign villages and taste testing with BK virgins. People have a problem with the idea that this fast food monster is going to improvised villages and corrupting the people when they should be donating the ad money to the actual hungry.
I agree with the protesters, there are several ethical values that are being manipulated in the name of advertising. But where is the anger about the mini burger crazed girls?

Yes, it’s meant to be a lighthearted ad and there is no going to impoverished towns to raise controversy. The girls are fully dressed and there is no overt sexuality. Nevertheless, the ad plays on what we as Americans consider normal and okay. What we are really doing in this commercial is allowing this perception of women to live on. And that, no matter how comical, is not normal or okay.

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