Project examines exploitation in advertising

What is the correlation between a woman and an uncooked turkey? There shouldn’t be one, according to Missy Lambert, a doctoral student who gave a presentation on sexual and animal oppression, titled “Sexy Chickens,” during a Tuesday afternoon Perspectives club meeting. Oppression in society should not be looked at in piecemeal fashion but as a whole system, Lambert said. “It’s a system where some people benefit from types of oppressions,” Lambert said. “We need to look at the system itself and fight its roots.” Lambert used “Sexy Chickens” to explain her view. Advertisers often use the female body or allude to it when trying to sell meat, and this pushes a societal agenda that women are weak and less than human, Lambert said. Showing a collection of advertisements with chickens, cows and other animals in seductive feminine poses to the classroom of about 40 people, Lambert led discussions about how the food industry uses female-body stereotypes to sell meat. She referred to Skinny Cow, which advertises low-calorie products. She said Skinny Cow’s logo depicts a cow with a feminine body type reclining with a measuring tape wrapped around its waist. “The image of the cow is being feminized and sexualized,” Lambert said. A man in the audience said, “It seems like the cow singles out a fat reference, too.” This type of advertising objectifies women, Lambert said. “Advertisers are trying to sell us a patriarchal world view in which all of us need their product in order to meet an ideal,” she said. Showing advertisements with animals eating pieces of one another at the same table, Lambert said the animals are also being objectified. Animals are portrayed as either seducing the viewer of the advertisement, or they are stupid and deserve what they get, she said. “I think advertisers are selling a worldview in which animals are willing participants in their own slaughter,” she said. Throughout the discussion, which ranged from ways the food industry uses to oppress women and animals, members of the Perspectives club and visitors analyzed the issue. Lambert, who has presented “Sexy Chickens” to various groups in the Salt Lake City area throughout the past year and a half, said this is the biggest group she’s presented to so far. “So far everyone has been nice,” she said of audience reactions to the presentation. “I keep waiting for someone to be like, ‘You’re the worst.’” After reading “The Sexual Politics of Meat,” by Carol J. Adams, Lambert said she became interested in the subject and began collecting images in which meat is advertised in a sexual manner. She said the presentation evolved out of her research and is still growing as people send her more images after attending her presentation. Lambert said she hopes “Sexy Chickens” will get people to start asking questions about their animal products and where they shop.

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