My first encounter with the idea that meat was associated with manliness and that women were compared to meat in the media was last year in the Pearson House (that’s the English building at Webster University). A professor that I didn’t know very well of philosophy and sociology, I think, was making copies of an article that discussed this topic, and the topic caught my eye. I had a bit of a discussion with her and it suddenly made me hyper aware of the way the media portrays meat – especially under the context of gender roles. It breaks down into two categories in my mind when I think about it: consuming meat is an act of manliness; and women are slabs of meat to be consumed.
Oh yeah. We’re getting into Feminist Land. Buckle up – it’s gonna be a fun ride!
“I want a steak the size of my biceps! Hoo-wah!”
See that picture up there? That’ a compilation of hamburger ads – most of them from Burger King, and at least one of them from Arby’s. Find me a woman who finds these ads appealing. FIND HER FOR ME! I mean, I’m a little turned on, but do I want to buy their delicious dickburgers? No, not really, but my jaw kinda hurts by association – thanks for that, Burger King. This is really just a sexualization of meat, and I think that’s weird. Are we going to start having sex with the meat? Am I supposed to give my man a sexy sloppy joe bath before we go at each other? I don’t know the answers to these questions for sure, but I do know that I shouldn’t be pleasuring my tastebuds with delicious meat, unless it looks like a blowjob.
Also, take a look at some of the Campbell’s beef soup ads or Manwich ads:
… “Putting meat between buns for over 20 years!” … … … That was really subtle, Manwich. No, really, I mean it. In all seriousness, though, these adverts promise men sex and they promise women the ability to please their men. Oh, sure, in small print there’s a promise on one of the Campbell’s ads that I’ll like the soup, too, but that’s really just a side thought. “Oh, I guess women like eating meat sometimes too, maybe, or whatever… But what they REALLY want is to please their men! Yeah!”
Ahem. Here are some more pretty pictures to look at:
Didn’t you know? Men don’t eat vegetables. They eat RARE SLABS OF MEAT! Rabbits eat green things! RAWWWWWR! Oh dear, sorry – I lost control there (too much red meat). Do you see my point, though?
“My boobies taste like steaks! Tee-hee!”
I want you to take a minute and think of all the images of women and meat in the media. The one above is a statement about not treating women like meat, but there’s plenty that is quite serious. Check out the fast food ads the next time you’re watching television (do it old school – without your fancy fast forwards). A lot of the imagery you’ll see will include women being sexualized with meat. Hell, you don’t even have to sit through commercials – just look up!
Here’s another thought… Check out these PETA advertisements:
Now, you may say, “Oh, Paige, those are just lovely statements about how no one should be treated like meat – animals AND women included.”
Well… The phrase I typed into Google Images to retrieve the above images was “women meat PETA” … I then typed in “men meat PETA” — nothing. At least, nothing as sexual and degrading as this. Nothing comparing men to slabs of meat. In fact, most of the things I came across – when I came across anything – was of successful-looking men saying that they didn’t have to eat meat. (To balance out all those meat-is-manly ads, no doubt.)
That is the end of my rant. I have a lot of homework tonight and I’ve been rather distracted throughout this whole article. I may even expand on this subject later on, but for now, this is what you get. Comment if your interest is piqued!
Paige Andrews-Johnson writes a blog post every Tuesday about English, college, and life in general. She also produces Hump Day Haikus every now and then on Wednesdays: keep a lookout for them!