Sunday, February 7, 2010

Men on Atkins

Double standards exist everywhere in society. Both men and women face acceptable boundaries created by societal "norms". Even though both men and women have insecurities about body image, it is more acceptable for women to obsess about dieting. The article written by Amy Bently about men and the Atkins diet touches on a lot of these issues and how the Atkins diet has been created to target men. Bently seems to have a negative view of the Atkins diets, as it only stands to allow men to hide their insecurities behind their carnivorous, fatty meals.

With all these new diets the main idea is to appeal to the consumer by highlighting the aspects of it that make life easier and healthier. However, it seems that some diets only serve to target specific groups so their profit is higher. The Atkins diet, for example, opens up the dieting spectrum to both men and women which is fairly unusual for diets. When we see commercials on the television for Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers most of the people bragging about their weight loss are women. This is due to the fact that these diets tend to include low-fat, small portioned meals which we mostly associate with women. The Atkins diet expanded the dieting world by promoting low-carb, low sugar, high fat meals. Men now feel like they can open up about dieting because they can order a 16 oz steak topped with blue cheese and still be obeying the rules of their diet. The Atkins creators did not want to cut out people in lower classes by cutting out cheap foods like chips, pretzels, and crackers so they promoted other cheap snacks. When the Atkins phase hit America, snacks like pork rinds and beef jerky became more popular. This allowed cheap snacks to be available for those who had to stick to a more strict budget. The idea of appealing to multiple classes is a common goal for most advertisers. The article by Roseberry touches on advertising that focuses to class distinction. Companies like Dunkin Donuts try to include all classes by making commercials that focus on cheap, quality coffee. Starbucks, however, has made their name by being a very exclusive company with their pretentious drink names and high prices.

It is possible that the Atkins diet was just a new approach to losing weight and the masculine appeal was just an extra plus. However, it is difficult to argue that social stereotypes do not exist and that Atkins is a way of looking past these stereotypes and making men feel more comfortable with dieting. As long as society continues to make men feel uncomfortable about expressing their insecurities advertisers will have to be more and more creative about allowing men to enjoy their product without sacrificing their masculinity.



Source:
Bently, Amy. Men on Atkins: Dieting, Meat, and Masculinity. Open Court Publishing.

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