Tuesday, July 29, 2008

100 Calories of Ire

I wish I could find the commercial on YouTube, so I could link it for you, but I'm sure you've seen it. Two women preparing for a party are filling bowls full of individual snack servings. One woman uses popcorn; the other, chips. The voiceover asks how much of the other guy's snack you really get for 100 calories. Not enough - but here, eat all this popcorn! Popcorn Lady's party is a smashing success; Chip Lady's party has women struggling on the floor for crumbs of chips.

I'm irritated by all the obvious crap: when women get together, we don't eat; we want snacks, but only 100 calories' worth; we wouldn't dare serve our friends something - GASP! - fattening.

But what gets me more than all of the sizeist sexist bullshit is the sheer rudeness of the commercial's premise. Think about it. Not only should the hostess decide what her guests eat through the appallingly passive-aggressive tactic of serving only one food, but she should also decide how many calories her guests ingest.

It's so amazing to me. Sure, a humourous ad can be expected to tweak good manners and common sense, but this is so far beyond a "tweak". This is a full-on, pearl-clutching etiquette horror. Have we really left common courtesy so far behind that it is now acceptable not only to comment on others' bodies, but to take an active role in shaping said bodies? To decide how other people should satisfy their hunger? To decree how sated someone should become?

And OF COURSE it's all women. Women deciding for other women how hungry they are. Women deciding that other women don't need to eat more than a hundred calories at any one sitting. Women deciding for other women which foods can be deemed acceptable.

Come to think of it, this may be the most brilliant 30-second distillation of female diet culture I've ever seen.

Too bad not a second of it can be seen as the least bit ironic or satirical. This isn't a wake-up call or a red flag: this is just life.

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Gimme some eggs for my bacon!