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Katy Perry for Pop Chips: Is food even about flavor anymore?

It seems Pop Chips has gotten a fresh face for its new ad line. Within the past month, Katy Perry has begun to promote the all-natural potato snacks, popping up on billboards around the country. Unfortunately, as much as I’d love to endorse anything Katy Perry-related, these recent ads promote unhealthy rhetoric that perpetuates diet-obsessed behaviors in our culture. Sorry, Katy, but no can do.

In the first ad, Katy holds two bags of Pop Chips in front of her breasts, smiling giddily under the text “nothing fake about ‘em.” The media’s habit of juxtaposing virtually any products with blatantly sexual statements never fails to baffle me. Do Pop Chips really have to rely on Katy Perry’s breasts to sell their products? I see the clever corollary between “all-natural” ingredients and “all-natural” breasts, but frankly, the organic or non-organic nature of Katy Perry’s body parts shouldn’t be publicly disputed on a billboard.

The other two advertisements pertain to diet culture more specifically. One shows Katy in workout gear as she blows the camera a kiss. The text says “love. without the handles.” Ugh, give me a break. The last ad features Katy holding a bag of Pop Chips under the text “spare me the guilt chip.” I think I’m confused. Where’s the text mentioning how delicious Pop Chips are? Are we buying snack food or diet pills here?

Advertisements about food aren’t about food anymore. Instead of focusing on how savory and delightful snacks ought to be, ads promote the guilt, shame, and constant vigilance that accompany food consumption in 21st century America.

With advertisements like this being so pervasive, it’s hard for anyone to simply enjoy food for what it is — food! There will always be a billboard or commercial implying that our “indulgences” ought to be ridden with guilt. If you want to buy Pop Chips, buy Pop Chips — but do it because they’re a tasty choice or a healthy choice — not because they won’t result in guilt or love handles.

Hailey Magee is a Women’s and Gender Studies and Politics double major at Brandeis University. Her foremost interests include media literacy and empowerment of young girls. Hailey hopes to one day pursue a career in the political arena and become an advocate for gender equality.

16 thoughts on “Katy Perry for Pop Chips: Is food even about flavor anymore?

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  1. Those are pretty good chips, too, but knowing about this campaign makes me want to buy them a lot less. 🙁

  2. oh Jesus, are you b eing serious of trying to find a problem where none exists? How about looking at it this way: This ad promotes a healthy body image, ie, you should not have fake boobs, natural is good, both in food and in body. Look, famous person proud of not having implants, an example to follow. See – you can look at it positively too, not just – omg, boobs, i hate, how sexist.

    Also, the ad implies that eating their stuff wont make you fat. (Well, only true, if its in moderation, yaddy yadda, but thats a different storyy). Whats wrong with that message?

    Im not a great fan of advertisements but seriously, you cannot find a better candidate to pick up on than this? nothing wrong with this ad.

  3. I’m absolutely not interested in anything endorsed by Katy Perry, or any artist who uses “bipolar” or “gay” as an insult in their lyrics. Why is a person in women’s and gender studies ok with people using the word “gay” as an insult? Are you also ok with the use of “bipolar” as an insult? Sorry, but I’m not interested in anything related to Katy Perry and her heterosexism and ableism.

  4. I completely agree with this article. We are surrounded with ads that promote ideas like “Guilty Pleasure” “Sinfully sweet” or “Indulge your sweet tooth”. Since when did eating become a shameful activity? You want chocolate cake? HAVE SOME. It’s the shame, guilt, and secretive nature we are taught to treat food with that creates a much more likely chance of over eating that cake. I’m sick of feeling like I have to justify the fact that I EAT. Ads like this promote the eating disordered attitude that is so prevalent in our society. Whether or not you have an eating disorder, this belief is disordered and needs to be changed. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that eating desserts or “junk food” should be a secret or its “bad”.

  5. I think you completely missed the point there, Sherie. Not having implants is not “an example to follow.” There is nothing wrong with having them versus not having them. It’s a personal choice that should not be shamed either way. By you saying not having implants is an example to follow, you are not promoting a healthy body image because you are implying that having breast implants is something to be ashamed of. The problem with these ads are that they promote the stigma that women’s every food decision should revolve around their weight. We should not be told to feel guilty for eating fattening foods, nor should companies rely on a woman’s body parts to sell their product. It’s weak advertising to say “Hmmm, how should we get people to buy these chips? I know, BOOBS.”

  6. But women who choose to have fake boobs are excluded from these ad campaigns. Where does female freedom of choice enter in? These ads are plastered in subversive “you should feel guilty about something here” whether its your need to be eating a healthier potato chip, or that you decided to get fake breasts. These ads are fake ass and are perpetuating negative ideas. No matter how “good intentioned” they started out. People are still being excluded, and it still leaves in my mind, that I should be over-thinking about what food-stuffs I put in my body. Ass backwards if you ask me. Cutsey “different” girls like Deschanel and Perry put their face on crap like this far too often, and Im sick of them.

    “I’m also really tired of hearing some feminists say that any CHOICE made by a woman is invalid or wrong because it doesn’t line up with THEIR idea of liberated womanhood. Do you want equality and freedom of choice or do you want everyone in the sex industries and other traditionally female occupations to roll over and do what you say? If you want the latter, you are just as bad as the patriarchy that you rail so hard against.
    My body, my choice. -Stoya”

  7. As a man looking at these ads, I’m not generally reading in to them that much because I understand that SEX SELLS and that none of it is real. I can understand that young women might find it difficult to comprehend that Katy might only be doing it for the money and exploiting her fame. I think more people are being more aware of the ways of advertising and thesefore being able to almost laugh at ads like this one and that’s what we should be passing on to teenagers etc. And plus, she may have real breasts but those photos don’t exactly depict real life? Perfect lighting, make up artistry, post production editing/ retouching- there’s nothing real about them! -Reuben

  8. If I was working on a campaign for chips that tasted like cardboard, I’d try to highlight other ‘benefits’ too.

    But you’re right about the body shaming going on. If Pop Chips wanted to get at the calorie counting crowd, there are other ways without acting like food is the enemy, or like our bodies need to be punished for their fatness with horrible tasting chips.

  9. Katty Perry has received numerous awards and nominations. She has also been nominated for nine Grammy Awards and was named by Billboard as 2012’s Woman of the Year.She has sold 11 million albums and 75 million digital tracks worldwide.*:,^

    http://healthmedicinebook.comBe well

  10. I see literally nothing wrong with these ads. They are promoting a healthier alternative to traditional potato chips.

    There is a very big difference between urging America to eat healthier and fat-shaming. Nowhere in these ads to I see any body-shaming references.

  11. No body shaming? “Love without the handles” I have love handles. I am perfectly healthy and confident. People with certain body types have love handles naturally. Like they can’t get rid of them unless they are severely undernourished since they are just how they are built. Plus even if you don’t have them because of your body type it doesn’t mean you’re at an unhealthy place. Only a doctor can determine health based on weight in all cases. But the way people talk about love handles all the time makes it feel so wrong to have them on your body.

    So yeah these ads are pretty awful.

    Also “spare me the guilt chip”? I know so many people with eating disorders or body image problems because of exposure to so many ads like this. People who are thinner than me who eat far less try to explain their eating anything that is deemed even slightly unhealthy like they need to justify it.

  12. You’re a man …there for your opinion on issues of woman’s bodies and how commercials make us feel is irrelevant. No boobs, no vagina, no implication that you feel you’re in the wrong gender, no opinion.

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