Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Monday, April 8, 2013

How We Feel About Food

In the past few weeks, I have begun to notice just how manipulated and unhealthy our society’s relationship with food is. Instead of focusing on fulfilling individual nutritional requirements and lifestyle needs, food providers take advantage of the guilt and anxiety they have instilled in consumers to sell their products. Having personally gone through phases of preoccupation with dieting, calorie counting, and/or obsessively exercising, I know just how mentally consuming and distressing the effects of having this kind of unhealthy relationship with food and exercise can be. To help prevent others from having to go through what I’ve gone through, I want to use this post to point out the bizarre and twisted ways in which people exposed to advertising are made to feel guilty about what they eat. 

Furthermore, while I would like to be able to say that the images and advertising campaigns displayed below are not supported by well-conducted or accurately cited scientific research, I cannot do so, for I am not a scientist, registered dietician, nutritionist, or health professional. That being said, the collection of images below is intended to make you realize how frequently and subtly these messages are presented to you in your everyday life. While viewing, think about how these messages that encourage blame, shame, and guilt might have a significant effect on you.

Exhibit A:
This store brand repeatedly equates salt, fat, and calorie consumption with wrongdoing.

Exhibit B:
The discussion of “Skinny,” reduced fat, reduced calorie coffee drinks featured on this coffee provider’s official blog suggest that skinny is special and exciting. At the same time, it also equates ordering a regular drink with trying to gain weight (which, as you may know, advertising and the media tend to view negatively.)

Exhibit C:

Skinny Cow brand frozen desserts first make you feel like you’re a “cow” for consuming frozen dessert products, but then save you with their wonderfully “healthy” options. They reassure you that by buying their products, you will look like a sexy, thin, human version of the cow displayed on their packages.

I hope that reading this entry has increased your awareness of just how many negative messages we are subtly bombarded with on a daily basis as well as how dramatic an effect these messages may have on the way you feel about your body or what you eat. While we may not be able to immediately change the way companies label and advertise their products, realize that you, as an informed consumer, have the choice to either pay attention to or ignore the messages that they send. You have the ability to decide whether or not you will let these messages affect you.

*Disclaimer: Most company names and logos that originally appeared in the above images were removed, for my intention here is not to criticize any specific organizations. Rather, it is to create informed, empowered readers.

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