“Fruit Has Never Felt So Tempting”

Palmolive Susan Bordo’s concept of “hunger as ideology” in advertising does not only apply to food product advertisements.  We also see her ideas at work in all kinds of advertisements which feature women.  Here, in this Palmolive ad, for example, we see the ways in which the product acts as a stand-in for food (in this case, fruit).  Common tropes of temptation and indulgence are used here to reinforce women’s fears and anxieties concerning food and hunger.  In this case, the hunger is symbolic.  The ad also suggests that in other contexts, succumbing to the temptation of food/hunger (at least for women), is something to be avoided.  In this case, though, the product is advertised as a safe and “natural” way to indulge (“fruit has never felt so tempting”).  Even though this ad concerns the nourishing of the skin, it can also be read as a symbolic nourishing of the body, only with foods which would be seen as “acceptable” forms of nourishment, like fruit.  In this way, Bordo might say that an ad like this not only reinforces the very narrow image of “ideal” female beauty, but also perpetuates gender inequality.

Students:  Post an ad which you believe either supports or refutes one or more of Bordo’s main claims concerning “hunger as ideology.”  Include a brief analysis of the ad (as I have done above).

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