It’s a well known fact that yogurt is the official food of women. It’s sweet, it’s low-fat, and it helps us keep our ladybiz in order. Which is why it hurt so badly when the yogurt-ologists at Yoplait–normally known for their sensitive, non gender-essentializing marketing–betrayed us with what some are calling an ED-triggering ad.
In said ad, a woman stands anxiously in front of her office refrigerator. “Oooh cheesecake,” she says wistfully. “Maybe I’ll just have a small slice. I was good today, I deserve it.” Despite the fact that only little kids and dogs should have to “be good” in order to obtain treats (adults have the power to simply purchase them), I’d be willing to accept this if she had then helped herself to a reasonably sized piece of cheesecake. But instead, she continues to ruminate: “Or I could have a medium slice and some celery sticks, and they would cancel each other out, right? Or, ok…I could have one large slice and jog in place as I eat it.” And so on, and so forth.
Another woman then walks up and goes “mmm, raspberry cheesecake. I’ve been thinking about this all day.” But she doesn’t take a piece of the cheesecake, as logic would dictate. She takes a YOPLAIT YOGURT (because yogurt is totally as decadent as cheesecake, get it?) and the other woman “compliments” her by telling her she has lost weight. (For reasons why this is a dumb way to compliment someone, go here.)
This all made the National Eating Disorders Association quite unhappy, because it normalizes a kind of disordered behavior that has made many ED sufferers very, very miserable. It even goes so far as to make it look kind of “cute.” “[For those with eating disorders], opening a refrigerator is like walking off a bridge,” NEDA president Lynn Grefe told the Huffington Post. “And to see this behavior in a commercial tells people with eating disorders, see, it’s even on TV. It’s ok and normal for my head to go through all these mental exercises.”
Yoplait has since pulled the ad, saying they had no idea it contained such overt ED parallels. And why should they? As Jezebel notes, we are constantly bombarded with the idea that there are “good foods” and “bad foods,” and enjoying a “bad food” is inherently “sinful.” I think it reflects well on Yoplait that they pulled it, and maybe they’ll think harder about more responsible ways to advertise in the future. Then again, I’m sure some people will think they just caved into absurd P.C. pressure from the Fat Acceptance/Unapologetic Cake Eaters lobby. What do you think?