Nothing fake about ’em

I came across this advertisement in Cosmopolitan, and I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that sexual references are used to sell just about anything in this magazine and elsewhere.  This ad deliberately juxtaposes two bags of chips in front of Katy Perry’s breasts, with a slogan that notes there’s “nothing fake about ‘em.”  The supposed message is that popchips, and Perry’s breasts, are both 100% natural; but I’m fairly certain this is the first link made between popchips and breasts. This advertisement could fit into Jean Kilbourne’s “Killing Us Softly 4,” as it objectifies, sexualizes and dehumanizes women by referencing only a portion of a body and turning body parts into objects.

Additionally, I find it ironic that this ad focuses on “nothing fake,” yet Katy Perry is doused in make up with her cartoonish fake eyelashes and her retouched, airbrushed image.  This furthers the contradicting message that girls should actively seek to fit a beauty ideal “naturally.” This advertisement also states “they only taste like they’re bad for you,” implying if you are enjoying eating something, it must not be “healthy” or “good” for you.  This perspective on food, explored in Hesse-Biber’s“Selling the Body Beautiful” and Bordo’s “Reading the Slender Body,” reinforces distorted notions as to how to fulfill beauty ideals, while referencing obsessions with diets and stigmas surrounding weight.  It is staggering how many messages about sex, beauty, and gender stereotypes can be stuffed into a food ad.  Interestingly, the actual images of the chips, which are supposedly the focus of this promotion, only occupy a small portion of the advertisement.   The targeted audience is female, but they are selling them more than chips.  Messages about dieting, body norms, sex, and self-image are also being sold.

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