Beyond Cravings: Gender and Class Desires in Chocolate Marketing
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Of the many comfort foods available, chocolate is identified as being the most craved, tellingly expressed by the coinage of such terms as chocolate addiction or chocoholic. It has become a fetishized commodity in the United States that people associate with reward, comfort, luxury and sensuality. Chocolate consumption is an appropriately ambiguous phrase for it may refer to either the purchasing or the eating of chocolate. The unresolved tension of this ambiguity draws forth the latent connotation of consumption where both meanings are combined consumption is the act by which a consumer merges with a commodity. It is this deeper significance and its close relationship to the Marxist phenomenon of fetishism that I will explore. This paper seeks to answer the question, How is chocolate an example of a fetishized commodity in 21st century U.S. society? My study will touch upon the overall structural and supportive role of fetishism within the capitalist system, but primarily aims to clarify the exact mechanism by which the consumer class is successfully manipulated by it. I argue that chocolate marketing exemplifies the way a commodity's fetish status may be created and intensified through the promise of an object's capacity to transform the consumer's deepest aspects of his or her self.