Female Flesh Under Consumer Capitalism: Meet the Meat?
(Source: Busan Focus, 16 May 2011, p. 13)
Hey, I get it, I really do: ads that make men want the girl, can make women want to be that girl.
Hence the memorable things Lee Hyori did with a hose for Vidal Sassoon back in 2007 for instance. Or indeed this ad, which, despite the English copy, actually says that “the lunch for amazing women has started”, and then proceeds to do no more to sell to said amazing women than simply plonking Kim Sa-rang (김사랑) with a smouldering gaze on it, flanked by Lee Tae-im (이태임) with textbook hair-preening and hand on hip.
Surely there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that, although being aimed at women, it’s still squarely aimed at a male gaze?
But if that’s what so bugged me about it, then critically analyzing ads would only ever be an exercise in frustration. And I’m not even against gendered marketing per se either: despite the vast majority of it having no biological basis, and also serving to create and/or reinforcing existing gender stereotypes, admittedly it does sometimes have a genuine financial logic.
Rather, it’s the sheer laziness of this ad that gets me: was this really the best T.G.I. Friday’s could have come up with to get women to eat more steak?
Also, it’s amazing how unnatural the ad suddenly appears if you mentally replace the copy with “amazing men” instead (let alone considering how the ensuing male models would pose). When I did so myself, it really hit me just how much gendered marketing is actually aimed only at women, and how many normative advertising categorizations of female consumers (e.g. Alpha Girls, Omega Girls, Gold Misses etc.) completely lack any male equivalents.
Which is an unfortunate association I now have with T.G.I. Friday’s I guess. But then they’re the ones that came up with such a lame ad!