In chocolate advertisements, women are often portrayed as animals who are easily sexually aroused by chocolate. One of the typical stories in the advertisement would show a woman having the first bite and, in a flash, they shut their eyes in sexual pleasure. Another type of situation in a chocolate ad is when women would fight over one piece of chocolate like it is a sex-object. Most ads for chocolate from the United States (20th century to the present day) are often sexist and degrading like the first piece of evidence in this post.
This is a commercial which aired in the United States on various TV channels in 2008 for men’s cologne called “AXE: Dark Temptation.”
The ad description explains the outcome after using the product in the video description: “he becomes as irresistible as chocolate…” So there is a young man (perhaps a teenager?) applying the product to become more appealing. All of the sudden he becomes a chocolate man. He breaks off his body parts to share with girls or they just take a bite out of him (even two of them lick him in a movie theater in sheer excitement!). By the end of the video, several women rush out of the gym and against the glass window hoping to get this chocolate man. Women driving by tear his arm off like savages. The ad itself is shocking, highly offensive and sexist. It conveys negative concepts such as cannibalism and dependence on sexual activity. The ad labels women as aggressive and desperate supermodels looking for a ‘mate’ (Robertson, 2010). Assuming that women love chocolate and use it for sexual activity, it is as if the company used that concept to their advantage (Robertson, 2010). The next advertisement which is an original one I have constructed challenges the offensive label.
The woman in the ad is shown having a real relationship with a human being underneath a cacao pod (the woman pays no attention to the cacao pod). However, on the other side, the chocolate man sits there, confused and upset with unconsumed Godiva truffle organs in his body. He thinks ‘what could be better than me?’ The story ends with text explaining what is better than consuming a chocolate man for sexual pleasure, a relationship with a man which does not always involve sex. The original ad shown above is for chocolate but the woman’s personality is not stereotyped. This advert deserves its praise due to the fact that it demonstrates women are not easily tricked into buying chocolate for sexual pleasure. The ad demonstrates how women are not sexually aroused by this simple ‘enjoyable treat.’ Ads like this one should become popular in the industry, so the goal for gender equality is present. Sadly, not many like that exist in the United States.
Of course sexism in ads not only occurs in the United States, but in other countries as well.
This commercial comes from the Schmitten Chocolate company in India. It was uploaded only a year ago on the company’s official YouTube channel recently (in 2014). In commercials like this one, they show beautiful women but their personality is minimized to being obsessive over a simple, delicious treat. The models also can be negatively labeled as having remarkable beauty, little intelligence and being a part of the upper-class elite (Leissle, 2012). Consumers must take action and defend against the stereotypes women are given in advertisements. It is impertinent and appalling to see women’s personalities lowered to being sexually desperate for chocolate.
To conclude, the modern consumer needs to be aware of the false, stereotypical representations of women in chocolate advertisements and push back against these typecasts. This has become an enormous problem in today’s society and it demonstrates the gender inequality between the opposite sexes.
Robertson, Emma. Chocolate, Women and Empire: A Social and Cultural History. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2010. Print.
Kristy Leissle (2012): Cosmopolitan Cocoa Farmers: Refashioning Africa in Divine Chocolate advertisements, Journal of African Cultural Studies, 24:2, 121-139
Sources for Original Advertisement