Despite the continued fight for greater gender equality, certain sexist food marketing campaigns continue to reinforce male dominance and gender stereotypes.

There is an undeniable stereotype that men can, and should, always eat more than women, and that certain types of food are associated with either gender.

There is little more alpha-male than red meat, but if a woman eats a burger, she's greedy.

Women are encouraged to snack of sticks of celery, but if a man eats a salad, he's effeminate.

When I was younger, my hearty appetite and love of food meant I was often labelled as someone who 'ate like a boy'. This association became a source of shame and guilt as I grew older and started to compare my eating habits to those of other young women. I felt an expectation to eat in a more 'light' and 'dainty' manner. This created a complex about the way I ate that definitely contributed to the difficult relationship with food I developed in my late teens.

So, why do we associate eating certain eating habits with either gender? We need to look no further than the messages given out by numerous ad campaigns to see where some of these gendered expectations come from.


I may as well kick this off with a classic. They may have dropped the 'It's not for girls' slogan and replaced the 'O' with a regular 'O', but Nestlé sold this sexist sweet treat for 10 years before accepting there is very little about this bar of plain milk chocolate that is uniquely enjoyable for men.


I am straight up against the association of guilt with any food. This campaign from the healthy snack range Popchips promotes the idea that women needn't feel guilty about eating these crisps, as they would do with any other 'fattening' snack.


The Cornish meat pie company, Ginsters, shamelessly targets its products at men with their 'Feed The Man' Tagline. Of course, only men are tough enough to handle those big chunks of meat encased in a slab of pastry. Ladies - stick to something more 'delicate'.

Burger King

This tasteless ad was genuinely released by Burger King in Singapore in 2009.

I have no words.

Yoghurt, in general

Yoghurt ads cause problems for me on so many levels. The ads are always incredibly sexualised, from the emphasis on 'creamy' and 'balls' in this example, to the almost orgasmic sounds of pleasure that the women in yoghurt ads seem to get from no more than a spoonful of fermented dairy.

They also reinforce the stereotype that women should eat lightly, and enjoy products that are low fat and low calorie whilst fighting that ever-so-female urge to indulge. God forbid a woman enjoys a normal chocolate dessert on a regular basis! Müller aren't the only culprit here, Danone, Yoplait and Chobani are at it too.

Powerful Yoghurt

Oh...but when it comes to men, yoghurt is marketed as a source of protein to fuel all those manly muscles and #FindYourInnerAbs? Powerful Yoghurt, which is also fat free and low calorie just like 'female' yoghurts, is supposedly 'designed for men's health needs'. The non-fat greek yoghurt is sold in dark pots with chiseled abs on the side and an imposing bull logo, in case you had forgotten how strong and manly this yoghurt is.

The moral of the story here is: don't ever let social expectations of your gender dictate how and what you eat.