Gold isn’t food. It’s not even food for the soul; in fact, I’d even argue that gold damages the soul. The existence of the capitalist economic system necessitates that the human spirit be downplayed and diminished on a large scale.
So why does this Bloomingdale’s ad from Nylon Magazine give the impression that jewelry is suitable sustenance for women in metaphorical sense?
Well, because it’s a fashion ad. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this class, it’s that the fashion and advertising industries are particularly brutal to women. Pair them up, and you’ve got one lethal, nearly unstoppable, misogynistic duo.
This ad implies a link between wealth and and a woman’s self-worth. The jewelry (which appears to be made of gold) represents wealth, while the model represents beauty. This implies that if you want to be beautiful, you have to be wealthy. This messages appeals to women who already have the means to purchase jewelry from Bloomingdale’s as well as those who aspire to that ideal.
It also suggests a link between a woman’s self-worth and her outer appearances. The ad portrays a skinny model consuming a plate of gold jewelry, which downplays the importance of nutrition and suggests that actual food isn’t important. Being attractive is really all that matters.
This is problematic because eating disorders are basically rooted in this line of thinking. If you want to be attractive according to dominant standards, you have to be skinny. And in order to be skinny, sometimes you have to eat gold chains instead of hamburgers.
Really, though, the dominant ideas perpetuated in mainstream media and advertising regarding women’s “proper” relationships with food validate and encourage eating disorders and habits of self-harm.
What do you think? How does this Bloomingdale’s ad reinforce dominant norms and ideas surrounding wealth, outer appearances, and the relationship that a woman should have with the food that she eats? What messages does this send to women living in poverty?