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“Fast- food chains and food manufacturers must bear some of the blame for the country’s weight problem (Goode, 426).” All over America, people are surrounded by TV commercials and advertisements for the tastiest, cheapest and unhealthiest food you can find. With so many people being targeted with these ads, the rate of obesity is on the rise. With portion sizes of food expanding, like supersize burgers, large fries with large beverages are being served, there is no surprise the size of people are expanding too. It is also not a surprise that people give in to fast food, because, with low prices and sweet deals, no one can pass up a cheap meal. In today’s modern society, fast food chains and manufacturers use women for advertising in order to increase their sales and profits. From the 1980s to this day, food chains have used women to sexualize food in a certain way. Many times the fast food chains use these women with model-like looks and bodies, to portray their typical customers, attracting different audiences. Another factor that affects these consumers is the availability of the food. All over America, cities are filled with a range of fast food restaurants, making it available anytime and anywhere. Not only are people affected by the availability of the food but also the number of food choices. With a number of food choices, people appear to eat more. Using women to sexualize food is not only demeaning to women but it is also encouraging many to eat more fast food and also creating unrealistic ideas in the consumer’s mind.
At any rate, the portion sizes of food like burgers and drinks are leading people to eat more. In an article called “The Gorge- Yourself Environment” Erica Goode states, “The fast food industry has used portion sizes and value marketing as very effective tools to try to increase their sales and profits.” Fast food is not only increasing in sizes but also in calories. According to, “Fast food Nation (Around the world)” by Bernadette Keefe Md, the author compares fast food today and how it was 20 years ago. “A burger, 20 years ago only had 333 calories which compare to today that has 590 calories, an increase of 257 calories.” Today’s small size, medium and large sizes were medium, large and extra-large twenty years ago. In a Carl’s Jr advertisement that features Paris Hilton, a TV personality in a black swimsuit eating a large cheeseburger from Carl’s Jr. Carl’s Jr. used this ad to imply to how everyone “looks” while eating their burger. Also, on the ad, it states “ She’ll tell you size doesn’t matter. She’s is lying” (Carl’s Jr.)This ad really grabs the audiences as it shows a half- naked women seductively taking a bite of their product. The food in this ad is demonstrated as a sex object, which tries to grab the attention of both audiences (males and females) males because they see this hot girl in a bikini trying Carl’s Jr’s burger and females because they see this famous celebrity eating this burger which creates unrealistic ideas in their mind. Fast food chains are offering people more food with cheap prices, which is leading to obesity in America.
With portion sizes getting bigger every year, it’s also the prices that are attracting the consumers to eat more. Fast food may not cost a lot, but with so many customers they make good sales and profits. Fast food chains often use their cheapest menu items to attract more customers. For example, the “Dollar Menu” at McDonald’s and “Why Pay More Menu”at Taco Bell, offer cheap price so people can buy more in quantity. With cheap deals like these, which only cost a dollar or so, customers usually end up getting more. Also, at some fast food restaurants customers have the option to exchange menu items. For example, a drink for a milkshake, or chicken nuggets for chicken tenders, and this always cost the customers more. In “How fast-food chains use the value menu to get you to spend more” by Candice Choi, the author states ”For restaurants, the profit margins for value menu items are often razor-thin. But they make money by selling the items in huge volumes.” To sell more, fast food chains try to attract big crowds like families and the group of friends by advertisements featuring women. In many of these fast food advertisements, women are always wearing cheap clothes, like bikinis, which symbolizes the cheap prices the fast food chains have to offer. In an article called “Gorge- Yourself Environment” by Erica Goode, she states “The relative cost of different products has even more potent effect on food choices than nutritional labeling.” Many times people overlook the nutrition facts of food for cheap prices, which is leading to obesity in America.
Also, fast food chains and food manufacturers use women to advertise and sell their products. They use women to sexualize food and attract an audience. “ Bigger, cheaper and more varied meals, heavily advertised and widely available, may induce people to eat more than they need to.” ( Goode, 428) The way fast food chains advertise food is a huge factor on how much people intake daily. Some advertisements use the text “Use both Hands”, “Soft buns” or “Fresh buns,” which refers to women’s body parts. In a Carl’s Jr. ad, they feature a woman with her mouth wide open to advertise a lengthy sandwich right in front of her, with words “It just taste better, ” and “It’ll blow your mind away” on the ad, referencing it to oral sex. According to “5 Ways Fast Food Ads Promote Unrealistic Body Expectations for Women” Julie Rub states “It’s been scientifically proven that junk food creates chemical responses in our brains, which cause us to become addicted to the food. We crave the Big Mac, which is coupled with thin, attractive women on screens (aka using sex appeal to sell a burger). This blatant contradiction is promoting skinny women at the expense of reason and medical knowledge about what fast food can really do to your body.” Portraying women like this on a day to day basis, make it seem like it actually may be appropriate, and normal. However, sexually objectifying women is definitely not appropriate or normal. With fast food advertising being everywhere, it has a great influence on all genders and ages. Many women get the idea that they should act, look in a certain way and many men develop an idealism of how women should look like. In a Carl’s Jr Ad, they used Miss Turkey , a beauty pageant to attract women to try the turkey burger, making it seem like a healthy option for the customers.
With fast food restaurants being available 24 hrs or variety of restaurants on one block alone, has a great influence on how much people eat. In a “Neighborhood Fast Food Availability and Fast Food Consumption” by Ole N, Barnes TL, Blake CE, and Bell BA, it states “It has been theorized that people living in areas with a wealth of unhealthy fast-food options may show higher levels of fast-food consumption, a factor that often coincides with being overweight or obese.”Near Riverside City College, there are over 10 fast food restaurants within five- miles of each other, which is clearly targeting all the students. Many people prefer fast food over home-cooked meals because it’s faster, and now that fast-food restaurants have drive-thrus, it is, even more, easier for people to get it on the run. In an article called “ Gorge- Yourself Environment” by Erica Goode, the author states “ Dr. Wansink and his colleagues varied the placement of chocolate candy in work settings over three weeks. When the candy was in plain sights on worker’s desks, they have an average of nine pieces each. Storing the sweets in a desk drawer reduced consumption to six pieces.” So, the more available or close the food is the more we want it even if we don’t need it.
Fast Food chains and food manufacturers use women to target all ages of audiences in order to sell, the number of food choices. Many fast food chains provide extended amounts of food choices, such as in Carl’s Jr that has a menu called “Green Burrito” which provides Mexican food for those who prefer it. Some fast food restaurants such as Mcdonald’s and Jack in the Box, also provide all day breakfast and veggie items on their menu. Many times, when advertising this variety of choices, fast food chains use women in order to attract the audience. In an advertisement by Carl’s Junior that features the reality- TV star, Kim Kardashian, it showed the TV star promoting their Chicken Salad. This was to attract a different type of audience, because, in many other Carl’s Jr ads, they have used girls with model-like figures. By using Kim Kardashian they showed that not all girls have to be skinny and perfect to try their food. In an article called “ Gorge- Yourself Environment” by Erica Goode, the author states “ More Food, More Choices, More Eating.” Fast food chains have provided so many choices for consumers that they tend to eat more. According to the article, people prefer more food, for cheaper prices. For example, people prefer a four-course meal, like a burger, with fries and beverage over just one item. At restaurants like Jack in the box, and Mcdonald’s, people can exchange fries for chicken nuggets and soda for a shake, leading people to eat more. In “ Commodity Feminism” by Goldman, Heath, and Smith state that using femininity in “these advertisements have developed a certain idealism in the consumer’s mind.” Fast Food chains and manufacturers use women to target all ages of the audience in order to sell the number of choices.
To conclude, fast food chains and food manufacturers are to blame for the country’s overweight problem. People are fooled by fast food chains. With options to get bigger portion sizes to cheap prices, and deals. From sexual advertisements featuring sexy models to the giant availability of the food, not to forget the number of food choices these fast food restaurants offer. People of America are so into fast food that they overlook the nutritional facts of the food. People prefer cheap over healthy. In order to fix obesity in America, companies have to provide cheap healthy food and cut out on fast food restaurants.
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