The fast food industry gears its products towards one sex over the other. The burger has long been an item geared towards one sex over the other. Burger commercials depict men with baseball mitt sized hands holding onto hulking behemoths of meat, cheese, and other fare. Burger King has released a new marketing campaign that has been nicknamed “manvertisement”, because of the over the top depiction of men interacting with their food (Consumer Report 9). One such commercial depicts a man who is intimidated by the Double Cheeseburger because it is too big for his tiny hands. There are no clever innuendos contained in the commercial, Burger King just comes out and says that a Whopper is just too much food for someone with smaller hands, possibly a woman.

Researchers at McGill University recently ran an experiment to see what the effects of a visual of red meat does to a man (Canadian Press 1). The results showed that seeing red meat had a calming effect with most men (Canadian Press 1). This calming effect may be an effective tool when advertising meat to men, because it gives them a sense of comfort and serenity.
Men are portrayed as carnivorous beasts who crave nothing more than meat. This portrayal while often humorous discriminates against men who do not eat meat. Burger King parodied the song “I Am Woman” for an ad campaign in support of one of their new meat laden burgers (Consumer Reports 9). Fast food companies show vegetarians and tofu eaters as wimpy and pathetic. In these commercials they are scrutinized by the men buying the product of the company. Fast food advertising portrays hardworking men, usually construction workers and other members of the service industry, becoming elated at the sight of a thousand calorie burger after a hard day’s work. In one commercial for Hungry Man dinners a man claims that he is a “bottomless pit” and that only Hungry Man can satisfy him (Consumer Reports 9). Hungry Man does not even try to hide the fact that they only advertise to males, it’s in the name of the product. The commercials often challenge the viewer to eat their product or their masculinity is in question. Why is this type of advertising such a problem? Seventy one percent of American men are obese and these commercials threaten emasculation if men chose to eat healthy (Consumer Reports 9). Although these commercials are often humorous and to be taken lightly, they still contain a certain amount of power to them. A man might see them and laugh, but in the back of his mind actually feel that he needs to eat one of these unhealthy items in order to validate his manhood.

Works Cited

"ADS SAY REAL MEN DON'T EAT TOFU." Consumer Reports 72.6 (2007): 9. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 2 Dec. 2010.

Canadian Press. "Seeing red meat calms men down: study" 10 November 2010. Accessed on 15 November 2010.

BK's Tiny Hands Commercial[Video]. 16 January 2008. Retrieved from on 30 November 2010.