by mae stephenson
Excuse the sarcastic title this week, folks; the item in this week's image deserves a title no more mature than the item itself.
I saw this for the first time in my life last weekend. It's a UK-based chocolate bar from our pals at Nestle (just google 'Nestle Boycott' for more reasons women shouldn't adore them). Yes, that is an extra-feminine woman symbol with the circle-slash "no" in place of an 'O' and reads "it's not for girls!" on the side. And yes, it's really just chocolate (I checked the ingredients just in case it was one of those specially formulated vitamin bars posing as candy). This bar can be found at your local SE 33rd and Belmont Zupan's where I snapped this picture. Not with the girly chocolate at the front of the store; in a more discrete location-- across from the baking supplies.
First impression? The advertisers are falling back on oppressive stereotypes about women and chocolate and macho-masculinity to assert that men need to "reclaim" chocolate-- as if women have oppressed men and taken it away from them, making it "girls only." More on this later.
I attempted to find more information on the bar, hoping to figure out what its creators had to say for themselves. All I found on the Nestle page was nutritional facts, and this short statement:
Yorkie was launched in 1976 to take on brands such as Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and provide a chunkier alternative to the slimmed down Dairy Milk bars.
Huh. To combat Cadbury? Interesting.
I had more luck reading the several critiques I found of the bar, whose links to Nestle's statements on their candy are *surprise* broken. Catherine Redfern at the F Word blog noted that "They have actually used the word 'reclaiming', as if women have “taken” chocolate away from men," (http://www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2002/05/not_for_girls_the_yorkie_and_echo_adverts). Just as I suspected! She follows up this statement by noting that it's advertisers in the first place who have feminized the consumption of chocolate. Pair that with our culture's oppressive notions of masculinity and you've got a problem-- if you advertise chocolate and realize you've just disenfranchised almost half your market.
Vee the Monsoon found the following quote: "...the marketing of a product like chocolate, largely consumed by kids, with such a blatantly oppressive slogan is about as funny as a burning orphanage!" from Sexism: A Dialectical Analysis, another broken link (http://veethemonsoon.wordpress.com/2004/07/02/nestle-uks-yorkie-is-not-for-girls/). Vee also found -can you believe it- even more offensive advertising, which you should read on a full stomach at the blog link.
Another described a commercial with a sales clerk quizzing a woman with a fake mustache on stereotypically macho topics before selling her a Yorkie, which I was able to find on YouTube:
Really, Nestle? Dig yourself a liiitttle deeper.
Recommended Reading on Yorkie: