Feminism through the lens of chocolate

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Feminism through the lens of chocolate

Two females stuffing their faces with chocolate in their natural habitat.

Two females stuffing their faces with chocolate in their natural habitat.

Veronika Dvorakova

Two females stuffing their faces with chocolate in their natural habitat.

Veronika Dvorakova

Veronika Dvorakova

Two females stuffing their faces with chocolate in their natural habitat.

Veronika Dvorakova, Art Director/Columnist

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My father walked in on me having a passionate affair with a plate of brownies again.

A very similar scenario took place about a month earlier, except I was stuffing my face with a Ghirardelli chocolate bar. All that remained of it by nightfall was a crumpled wrapper. 

I am not particularly ashamed of my tendency to lust after chocolate, especially when my menstrual cycle (yes, I went there) is in full swing. There are statistics that assure me that I am not the only female who relies on chocolate to elevate my mood.

“Half of the women [in the U.S.] who crave chocolate say they do so right around menstruation,” said Dr. Julia Hormes, an assistant professor of clinical psychology at the University of Albany told the Huffington Post.

This leads me to investigate the connection between women who are not feeling well and chocolate.

I have a distinct childhood memory of a scene from the movie John Tucker Must Die, during which four high school girls were feasting on an array of chocolate snacks, and one of them proclaimed: “Chocolate makes everything better.” That is likely the first moments during which my nine-year-old self began associating the consumption of chocolate with improving my mood.

Chick flicks from the early 2000’s are not the only forms of media where chocolate is advertised as a substance that alleviates women’s suffering.

Most commercials for chocolate are loaded with images of smiling women being seduced by it. Women are shown gently fondling the wrappers, eyeballing the dessert as if saying ‘come-hither’ to it, and slipping into a state of euphoria when they take a bite out of the chocolate.

Since when is the consumption of a block made from roasted and ground cocoa seeds a sensual experience? In my very unprofessional teenage girl opinion, it is the result of certain aspects of sexism.  I feel as though I am rebelling against societal pressures to resemble a twig when I passionately eat a day’s worth of calories in one sitting.

Ironically, while I feel like I’m sticking it to the man, I am actually falling into a new one of his trap. And he’s making money off of it again.

In an blog post on The Society Pages, Jamal Fahim said, “Advertisers have mystified chocolate, portraying it as an intoxicant possessing the power to comfort, reward and satisfy women’s… desires. In doing so, these ads instruct the viewer to frame and interpret their own chocolate cravings in ways that overcome any resistance to consuming it.”

Women are especially susceptible to this these advertisements. According to the American Diabetes Association, 40 percent of women crave chocolate. In contrast, only 15 percent of males have reported cravings for chocolate.

From where I’m standing, it looks like it is the result of the different expectations for genders. Men are expected to eat manly things such as giant chunks of steak while women should subsist on bird seed, salads, and the occasional piece of chocolate.

If I take a step outside of the realm of food, I can draw parallels between my food choices and certain types of discrimination that I face as a woman.

Slut shaming makes affairs with dessert seem less complicated than interacting with the opposite sex, and putting up with ridiculous expectations regarding the shape of my body makes the notion of eating something that contains large amounts of fat and calories wild.

I am going to stop slapping a metaphorical bandaid (chocolate) over these more profound issues.

But first…

Crêpes

The perfect thing to cover with chocolate. My sister’s favorite question to ask me when we eat crêpes is: “Do you want some crêpe with that Nutella?”

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1 cup of flour

A little bit more butter for the cooking process

(and the toppings that would bring you the most joy)

Directions:

Whisk together all of the wet ingredients (that means everything except for the flour.) Then add the flour bit by bit while mixing, and pray that you won’t create clumps. Stick a small piece of butter in a nonstick pan and spread it around while it melts. Then dump some crepe batter on the pan, and swirl it around so that you cover the entire bottom of the man with a thin layer of it. Cook the crepe until the bottom is light brown, and then flip it. Repeat. Cover the crepes in chocolate along with other delicious things. Smile.

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