How much do you want Campbell's Select Harvest Light soup for lunch? I know that is exactly what you're craving today - particularly if you're a women that just found out that the frozen meals you've been taking to work for lunch have between 310 and 340 calories each! No wonder you aren't reaching your weight loss goals, with gluttony like that! For a breakdown of how ridiculous this is, from a caloric perspective, allow me to quote Deux Ex Machinato, from the takedown she wrote of this commercial last week.
OK, somebody tell me if I'm missing the boat here, but... since when is 340 calories a completely unacceptable amount to eat for a meal? Ignore the underlying message that all women should be on a restricted-calorie diet. That's just too big for me to tackle right now. This is a matter of degree and simple math. Note that Campbell's isn't in any way playing these ads in the light of "eat our soup for lunch so you can have that cheesecake later." I'd be a lot more OK with that, even though it still buys into the problematic social imperative for all women to restrict their food intake. But no, the message implicit in that ad is that 340 calories is simply too much to eat, ever.
Let's do a little math, here, so I can explain in more depth why I'm up in arms. Most weight-loss experts recommend that a woman eat between 1500 and 1800 calories in a day. (A man would generally need somewhat more.) If you were to eat five of those 340-calorie frozen meals in a day, you'd be at 1700 calories, which is a perfectly reasonable amount for a typical woman to eat. Not that most people are eating frozen meals every time they open their mouths, or are even eating five meals a day, which is the trendy thing to do nowadays.
I've been known to get a little worked up over body image issues, particularly when they pertain to fashion. There is a widely acknowledged theme in the fashion world that more beautiful is directly proportional to both thinner and taller. It's pervasive and probably at least partially accounts for the fact that in a recent study 42% of elementary school girls thought they needed to go on a diet.
As adult women, however, we're at least supposed to be aware of the fact that we do not all need (or want) to look like runway models.
What is far more damaging is the underhandedness of an advertisement that shows regular women being shocked and appalled by the calorie content of food that is generally already considered to be diet food. If you are a restrictive eater (a category that encompasses a whole variety of disordered eating, including anorexia), you probably already knew how many calories were in your frozen lunch. And you probably thought it was an ok amount. Campbells wants you to know you were wrong - 3-- calories is too damn many. A woman who really cares about her weight would stick to the double digits - good thing Campbells is here to help!
Thanks, Campbells. Thank you for teaching all of us, the ones who are comfortable with our eating habits and the ones who aren't, that our standards were clearly way too low. Maybe we should stop eating at all - can't get many fewer calories than that.
P.S. I know the sarcastic tone of this post doesn't necessarily make it sound like a rational response to this RIDICULOUS ad campaign. That's because this particular commercial makes me irrational. If I could go over to Campbells and body-shame the person who came up with this, I ... well, I wouldn't, because that sucks. But I would think about it. Actually, I'm thinking about it now, and it's making me feel better. Try it.