I found this advertisement for Silk Pure Almond Milk in a recent issue of Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan is a magazine geared towards young women, an age group that is particularly concerned with body image. This was the only advertisement about food in the whole magazine, and it was wedged among makeup, clothing, and skincare ads. Clearly, the overall message in Cosmopolitan is about the need to obtain a perfect physical appearance. This advertisement, though about food, clearly fits this message. What first catches readers’ eyes is the heading, “how to cut your milk calories in half.” This does not focus on the taste or nutritional value of the product, but, rather, its ability to “improve” women’s figures. The text on the bottom goes on to say that “eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard,” and it explains the health benefits of the product. Yet, this implies that there is a direct correlation between thinness and health, which is blatantly false. This is a perfect example of what Marilyn Wann discusses in her foreword to The Fat Studies Reader, when she says that “health can be used to police body conformity and can be code for weight-related judgments that are socially, not scientifically, driven” (Wann, xiii). Silk knows that they will sell more products if they have a shallow, appearance-related message, but they mask this behind the topic of health in order to seem more legitimate. Thus, Silk’s Pure Almond Milk does not promote health in America; rather, it perpetuates an unhealthy obsession with physical appearance, which leads to insecurity and body image issues among many young women.
Rothblum, Esther, and Sondra Solovay. The Fat Studies Reader. New York: New York University Press, 2009.