Candy is dandy, but only in small, ladylike increments
As seen at Mother Jones, Mars is releasing a chocolate bar marketed directly towards women. If I told you that the Fling bar is packaged in a bright pink wrapper, you probably wouldn’t be all that surprised. If I told you that it sparkles, you might not believe me, but it does, as it’s dusted with mica, a mineral that’s occasionally used as a mild abrasive in toothpaste. Females are all the same, you see, whether we’re nine or thirty-nine, color the most innocuous items pink and cover them in glittery shit and we’re drawn to them like the proverbial moth to flame–check out this plague on the eyes sold by Target as an example. Hell, we even like it when vampires sparkle. Fling’s website looks like the cover of every chick lit novel ever written, with a silhouette of a woman wearing a miniskirt and heels against a hot pink background, and that sparkles too. The introduction on the main page reads as follows:
Ladies, life is short. Don’t let it be boring too. Sometimes you need to be to be a little naughty–to taste the sweetness. We’ve broken the rules by creating FLING Chocolate, an un-regrettably indulgent premium chocolate. It is a delicate truffle sitting on a subtle crisp layer enrobed in shimmering chocolate that looks as glamorous as the women it speaks to. It tastes indulgent but keeps its figure at under 85 calories per finger. So go ahead and be as fabulous as you want to be. Sneak out to a movie. Go curly. Lick the wrapper. Shake things up! Nobody’s looking.
Yeah, ladies, come on! Go see a movie! Eat a piece of chocolate. Go craaaaaaazy! While you ponder what’s so wild and out there about going to the movies, I haven’t even gotten to the most irritating part of Fling’s marketing campaign–the fact that one of its slogans is “Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Need to Know.” In fact, much of Fling’s gimmick, as evidenced in made-up words like “un-regrettably” and mentioning right on the main page the fact that it’s low in calories is that finally women have a chocolate bar that we don’t have to eat in secret shame, because it’s only 85 calories per piece (presumably each package has two pieces, passed off as individual servings) and “glamorous.” There’s no suggestion that there’s something very wrong and depressing about the fact that many women feel that eating is something that should be done privately and without enjoyment, only that there’s now a product available with which that might not be necessary. And, seriously, “Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Need to Know”? If you’re basing food purchases, even something as minor as a single fucking candy bar, on whether or not your partner will approve of them, a “chocolate finger” isn’t the answer. Couples counseling, maybe, or perhaps just skip the middle man and start perusing apartments for rent ads on Craigslist.
Just as Old Spice has cleverly embraced its cheesy, low-budget reputation in a series of hilarious commercials featuring Bruce Campbell and a guy dressed up like a centaur, I suppose Fling shows a certain sort of savvy in its marketing, essentially capitalizing on the fact that most women really are weird and neurotic when it comes to what we put in our mouths and that’s not likely to change any time soon. It’s sort of like the age-old trap we set for our partners, asking them if we look fat in these jeans. We already think we do, and no matter what our partners say we aren’t going to change our minds. Fling knows that we’re paranoid and insecure, and does nothing to dissuade us of the notion that we have something to worry about, because they know it won’t work. If they were to have a series of ads saying “Squirt an entire bottle of Hershey’s Special Dark syrup down your gullet if you want, who fucking cares what anyone thinks?” we’re still going to be convinced that every bite of food we take is going to be carefully monitored and looked upon disparagingly, not just by our husbands and boyfriends, but by our friends, our family members, our co-workers and even complete strangers. Really, it’s true, bitches be crazy when it comes to eating. I know that of which I speak.
Clearly there’s nothing rebellious about eating a single piece of candy that’s less than 85 calories (and who counts a candy bar as two separate servings anyway?). It’s a bit infuriating that Fling would attempt to patronize its target market by suggesting it’s an edgy indulgence, but it’s no different than magazines like Glamour that post cutesy “It’s Okay To…” lists, with those lists including “to show up to a party without a date” and “to cry at the movies.” Yet, it really does seem as though women need permission, more or less, to be seen looking anything less than perfect, and that when they go ahead and allow themselves to do so, it’s somehow empowering. I gotta tell you, if I cry at the movies it’s not because I’m taking a stand for women to be allowed to show emotions in public, it’s because I’m a big fucking sap who even wept at the end of Titanic. The mere act of eating a piece of chocolate shouldn’t be a bold, brassy move for us gals. Fling would be better off sticking with the “we know you’ll consider not eating anything but a salad without dressing for the rest of the day after eating this, just remember we’re only 85 calories” angle. At least it’s honest.