The gendering of healthy diets
a multimodal discourse study of food packages marketed at men and women
Keywords:multimodality, critical discourse analysis, food packaging, healthy diet, gender
Gendered identities are communicated in places as frequent and ordinary as food packaging, becoming mundane features of everyday life as they sit on supermarket shelves, in cupboards and on office desks. Multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) allows us to investigate how such identities are buried in packaging in relation to health and fitness. Despite observed broader changes in gendered representations of the body in advertising, in particular relating to the arrival of ‘power femininity’, the products analysed in this article are found to carry fairly traditional and prototypical gender representations, and products marketed at both men and women highlight the need for more precise body management. For women, however, this precision is related to managing the demands of everyday life, packaged as a moral imperative to be healthy, responsible and successful.
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