Cupcakes Are Exploiting Young Women
MATT Seaton wants to talk about a serious issue in the Guardian: cupcakes.
You know what cupcakes really are? – butter-iced snares of self-loathing that sell precisely because they exploit young women’s insecurity about their looks and identity, and offer a completely false and self-defeating solace of temporary gratification, almost certainly followed by remorse and disgust.
They’re just cakes, you say. Ah, but they’re not just cakes: like any cultural artefact, they have implicit values baked in. And the values I see in cupcakes are of a demeaning, self-trivialising sort of hyper-femininity. This is where I start to sound like the worst kind of moralising Puritan killjoy, but it’s just really hard for me to believe that serious, self-respecting adult women would be at all susceptible to this gooey, sickly-sweet embodiment of female wish-fulfilment.
Some comments are just as fantastic.
This is what I find mildly disturbing about the whole cupcake mania. They look like kiddie treats but have somehow become associated with grown women. There does seem to be a cultural message in there that women are expected to be “pretty, sweet and delicious” (as well as being nurturing, cup-cake-making domestic goddesses). It feels as though these things are being used as a way to infantilize us. Creepy …
For me, it’s the juxtaposition of this whole fluffy pink girly cupcake/cakepop baking thing against the current concerns about recession, foodbanks, food poverty, and obesity that I find so hard to swallow.
Other half-baked exploited young women:
SNP Deputy Leader Nicola Sturgeon makes cupcakes in Glasgow for Mothers Day, as she highlights the SNP’s support for families whilst on the Scottish election campaign trail.
Performer Paloma Faith.
On her 89th birthday, veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas blows out the candle on a plate of cupcakes held by President Barack Obama who celebrates his 48th birthday today also, at the White House Press Briefing Room, in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009.
Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr serves cupcakes during his 68th birthday celebration outside the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, Monday, July 7, 2008.
Jackie Robinson’s wife and children gather close to help him blow out the candle on a cupcake as they celebrate the Brooklyn Dodgers infielder’s 35th birthday at home in St. Aldans, N.Y. on Jan. 31, 1954. From left are, Sharon, 4; Jackie, with David, 20 months, on his knee; his wife, Rachel; and Jackie Jr., 7.
In this June 18, 1985, file photo, Ernest Borgnine holds a giant cupcake dressed as a clown in Los Angeles, for the revival of the Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee.