It is Women’s History Month and, despite what the morons on Capitol Hill are saying, sexism is far from over. The problem isn’t just rampant in the workplace, healthcare policies, or politics. Sexism goes right into the foods we eat – and the meat industry is right at the heart of it all.
I don’t want to get too much into the whole idea of how speciesism lays the basis for discrimination against women, how the idea that “meat is macho” is reinforcing gender roles, or even how the meat industry is harming women’s health with their added hormones. Carol J. Adams’ did a really good job of that in her book The Sexual Politics of Meat. Her book (which is a fantastic read and took her 15 years to complete) gives lots of examples of meat ads. The marketing tactics in these ads show just the meat industry regards women as meat for consumption.
The The Sexual Politics of Meat was originally published in 1990 but was republished in 2000 and 2010 with new examples. I highly recommend reading the book if you haven’t done so already (you can buy it here).
In honor of Women’s History Month, here are some depressingly real examples of sexism and discrimination in meat advertising (some from the book, some not).
This Hummer ad shows a guy buying tofu. He feels so emasculated that he has to rush out to buy a Hummer to “Restore the Balance”. It isn’t from the meat industry, but it is a perfect example of how marketers reinforce the idea that meat is macho.
2) Burger King Ads
Burger King really takes the prize when it comes to sexist ads. Check out some of these disgusting pieces of advertising…
Listen carefully to the words in this ad. It is bad enough that they rip off the feminist anthem “I Am Woman”, but they do so to say that vegetables are for chicks and men need meat.
3) BBQ Contest Ad
This ad for a BBQ contest has no problem showing a woman as a pig. They might as well be saying to go put a woman on a stake and roast her.
4) French Le Cornichon Ad
Sexism in meat marketing isn’t just an issue in the United States. This disgusting ad is from France.
5) Rachachuros Seasonings Ads
These ads for Rachachuros Seasoning aren’t just disgusting, they are downright degrading…
6) Korean BBQ Ad
The marketing agency for this Korean BBQ ad probably thought they were being clever.
7) Nandos Ads
This comes from the Nando’s website, a South African restaurant chain. This is just one of their many advertisements which show women as stupid, incompetent, and/or meat for male consumption.
The Nandos TV ads are just as bad…
8) McDonald’s Ads
This sexist ad comes to us from McDonald’s China. Um, aside from being grossly degrading in its anthromorphism of a cow, since when did cows have breasts?
9) Arbys Ads
Arbys has no problem showing women’s breasts as cheap meat for consumption.
10) Martini Steak Sauce Ad
I don’t know about you, but this does NOT make me want to eat their steak sauce!
11) Steak House Ads
Come to a steak house, where you can consume women as easily as the meat!
This steak ad from Germany translates into “Tofu is Gay Meat”. Just another example of the meat industry reinforcing gender roles and the idea that “meat is macho”.
Suggested reading material: The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist Vegetarian Critical Theory by Carol J. Adams