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Local Food for Local Dudes

Have you noticed how fresh food marketing often seems to target women? Ads featuring

happy moms and daughters shopping together for fruits and vegetables or whipping up a salad dominate our screens. This focus on women sends a subtle but powerful message that

shopping and cooking with fresh food is a woman’s responsibility.

But shouldn’t men be part of this picture too? After all, men also care about providing

their families with healthy, fresh food options. Food advertising often plays into societal gender norms, promoting outdated stereotypes that limit individual choices and preferences. One area where this is particularly evident is in the marketing of certain foods towards men.

"Macho" marketing strategies are pervasive—consider products such as "Manwich" and "Hungry Man" “King size”  along with slogans pushing men to eat oversized portions or tackle unhealthy eating challenges. These ads perpetuate a narrow view of masculinity that equates "real men" with excessive, unhealthy eating habits. It's as though a person’s gender alone should dictate their dietary preferences.

According to Katherine Parkin, an associate professor of history at Monmouth University,

and author of the book Food Is Love: Food Advertising and Gender Roles in Modern America, the sexual segregation of food marketing took shape in the 1950s, under the pioneering psychologist Ernest Dichter, who applied the theories he’d learned under Sigmund Freud to shape the new field of motivational research.

“Dichter believed that by convincing Americans of a food’s sex and its resultant

gendered identity, as well as its sensuality, advertisers could suggest their foods to meet

consumers’ need to fulfill their gender roles,” Parkin wrote in a research paper. “Food Is Love" argues that these advertising strategies have contributed to the establishment and reinforcement of traditional gender roles, even as women's participation in the labor force has significantly increased.

The marketing industry has been slow to start incorporating a broader and more modern representation of family dynamics in their advertising, showing dads shopping for fresh vegetables and husbands cooking healthy meals for their wives and kids. Or better yet,

incorporating gender neutral marking ads can make fresh food shopping and cooking more

inclusive and help promote equality. Because all residents, regardless of their gender, are an

important part of our food supply system and deserve access to fresh foods.

Goodfortune is a community friendly food store, available for everyone to conveniently buy fresh, quality foods.

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